Keeping Your Wits About Sin and Forgiveness

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.
- I JOHN 1:9, 10

We understand the world’s constant desire to maintain a trend toward redefining sin, but among believers it is disturbing to watch. Some parents regard homosexuality as sin until they discover they have a child engaged in it. That their special child is practicing it somehow legitimizes it. Baffling! Divorce is sin until a relative or friend gets one; arguments are then made for the “practicalities” of life. Sex outside of marriage has nearly become a foregone conclusion. Then there are the “minor” sins constantly being redefined. “It was just a white lie.” Exactly what is the difference between a white lie and a “black” lie? Believers who redefine sin to fit their situation are most often labeled as hypocritical by people whose lives have not yet been touched by such “realities” of this life. Consequently, those who have yet to encounter a divorce in their families are the most vocal against it, and they will even saddle the innocuous former spouse with the responsibility to stay single until the adulterous and remarried mate returns. The legalist is so vocal about sin and yet so quiet when it comes to the topic of forgiveness. Well, as someone who has sinned, I have discovered I do not have to redefine, avoid, or wallow in my failures. “We all stumble in many ways,” and that is a fact. Jesus sweat blood conquering the fleshly body; do we really think He believes we can conquer it? Only Christ living through us conquers the body of flesh, and none of us abide perfectly. We have all experienced defeat. Prioritizing the deeds of the flesh into categories of being worse or better is merely boasting in the flesh. We are called not to redefine sin, avoid it, or wallow in it, but to confess it. After all, there is no forgiveness for proudly living an alternative lifestyle, but there is for sin. If there were no forgiveness for sin, I could understand the desire to redefine it. However, since there is forgiveness for sin, there is no need to call it anything but what it is. The world redefines sin because the natural man wants not forgiveness but full participation in sin. In that case, those redefining sin do not have Christ and have a worse problem than their sin; they should move to the greater (Christ), laying aside the lesser (sin). It will do no good to convince them of their sin if they do not have forgiveness. The Bible is clear about there being forgiveness in Christ for every sin. If we had all done things differently, we would not have sinned. We did not, we did, and He forgives us. We are commanded to “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).

Listen, if you have had an affair, practiced lying, been involved in homosexuality, had a divorce, or whatever, do not let others make you focus on it, and do not fall into the trap of justification. Just confess it and get on! Forgiveness settles the whole issue in an instant. Anyway, what is worse, the continual focus on a failure or the neglected focus on Him?

The Bible acknowledges the weaknesses of man’s flesh. But all hope is in Him. Many times we hear brothers and sisters talk of the one sin that plagues them and always returns. Actually, there is one sin, only one sin that is manifested in a thousand variations. That one sin is allowing ourselves to give inner resources and attention to something other than Christ.

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