Sunday, June 4, 2023
If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.
When we read the parable Jesus told "to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else..."  we may feel drawn to denounce and ridicule the Pharisee. We can see him as arrogant, judgmental, and self-righteous. Unfortunately, we sometimes fail to see ourselves in the actions of the Pharisee!
Popular, western, watered-down versions of Christianity assume righteousness is something we have by right. We also assume that others don't have this righteousness because they sin in ways we think are worse than our sins. This grading righteousness on our personal curve puts us in a favorable light compared to those we perceive as the "real sinners."
The beloved disciple, John, spoke directly against this practice of self-justification. He wanted us to realize that without God's grace, we are all — as the apostle Paul said — helpless, ungodly, sinners, and enemies of God.  So, John reminds us that WE need to confess the sin in OUR lives. To claim to be superior, not to have sinned, and to be better than others shows we don't own our guilt and don't appreciate God's grace! That's the bad news in our verses.
Now, here is great news. When we acknowledge our sin and the stain it has caused in our lives and the lives of others, God doesn't just forgive us our sins. Our gracious Father also cleanses us of the stain and guilt of our sins. We are clean and new, made holy and righteous, just as pure and holy as when God first saved us!  The apostle Paul says it this way:
This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. 
Our sin breaks God's heart. Thankfully, when we confess our sins, God forgives us and cleanses us of our sins and their guilt.
Righteous Father, I confess what You already know: I am a sinner. I thank You that I am a sinner saved by Your mercy and redeemed from my sin and guilt by the ransom provided by Jesus. I am trying to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit as Your holy presence within me. I know the Spirit is working to conform me to the righteous character, gracious compassion, and faithful kindness of Jesus. So, dear Father, accept my confession of sin and my commitment to live more like Jesus today than yesterday. In the name of the Son, my Savior, I pray. Amen.
Together in Christ is a daily devotional that focuses on what Scripture teaches about godly living in relationships.
'Together in Christ' is written by Phil Ware.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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