Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Christian Privilege of Confession (part 2)

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)

In this passage we see the character of God. God is both faithful and just. Faithful means trustworthy. A Christian can approach God with a contrite heart confessing his sins and God is faithful to forgive. You don't have to wonder if the Lord forgives, because He does. God is true to himself and His Word. The Bible declares God to be a covenant-keeping God: "Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;" (Deut. 7:9). As Christians we have entered into a covenant sealed by the blood of Jesus Christ our Lord (see Matt. 26:28). It is on the basis of Christ's sacrifice that we gain forgiveness of our sins and cleansing from all unrighteousness.
Now since God is faithful and just to forgive our sins, we need to emulate that. We as Christians are called to forgive others their trespasses against us. Harboring bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness is just about as ungodly as anything you could imagine. In fact Christians are really truly the only ones who could practice genuine forgiveness. The reason perhaps that so many have such a hard time with this is because they have never themselves been forgiven of God. That or they have forgotten (willfully) the grace of God's forgiveness. We know from the Bible that if we don't forgive others their sin, then our Heavenly Father will not forgive ours neither.

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