Theological Studies
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There are two types of people in this world, those who own up to their sins, and those who pretend they don't sin. The fact is every man sins (Rom. 3:23), and every man is just as guilty before the Lord as the next (James 2:10). Unfortunately because we are sinners our sinful nature defaults to running away from anything that exposes that part of us. This is true of both Christians and non Christians because both still have our flesh; our fallen nature is still attached to us.


This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. - John 3:19-20


This is our default nature and all of us have done evil (Rom. 3:10-12, 23). So it should be no surprise that we, by nature, run from the light that would expose our evil. However, and this is a pivotal point, as Jesus continued, read the next verse:


But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” - John 3:21


"He who practices the truth comes to the Light..." Since we know every man has sinned, then for such a man to come to the light, would indeed have his sin exposed. So why would we do such a thing? " that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God." In other words, he comes to the light so that his deeds can be directed by God (Prov. 3:6), empowered by God (Phil. 2:13), and accomplished by God in us (1 Cor. 15:10, Eph. 2:10, Heb. 13:21).


How do we come to the Light? We practice the truth as the verse above states. What does this mean for us who have sin? Confession.


Confession exposes us. Confession is digging up something in our life hidden in darkness and brings it to light for all to see. Not just anything that's hidden but the worst part of us that's hidden. Something in us that is wrong, evil, sinful, wretched, disgusting, awful, without excuse and deserving no mercy. It's no wonder our nature writhes as the Light approaches (Isa. 6:5, Exo. 33:20-23).


We usually try and console ourselves (and others) with some good points about us, something redeeming, "I may be bad but...". I've even caught myself sinning as I confessed where I was lying to cushion the blow. But confession before God doesn't yield that option. You can't hide from Him who searches the hearts and minds of men knowing their every thought and intention (Jer. 17:9-10). If we are to practice the truth before God we must acknowledge what He already knows about us. That we have nothing good to offer. Apart from God we are spiritually bankrupt. Reading this, you may not want to acknowledge that. A confession of not being able to offer God anything is not an easy one. But I hope this next verse will encourage you.


“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. - Matthew 5:3


The word poor is isn't like we normally picture poor where people don't have much. The word poor here actually means bankrupt, having nothing at all. Rock bottom. Before I go on, don't miss the 2nd part of that verse "...for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."


Confession might bring up the ugliest part of us, but before God it's simply acknowledging what He already knows. In order to have something fixed you must first acknowledge it needs fixing. God is inviting those willing to acknowledge they are spiritually poor to come to the light so He, the only one who can provide the fix, can give you a fix worthy of heaven!


Please understand a heavenly solution is not possible unless done so by our heavenly father. We can bandaid the problem, and at best mask it with things that look good worldly but if you truly want to see a part of your life become Godly than you can't do so without God. Anything without God is godlessness. (Yet we try all the time without God don't we?)


This is where our faith building exercise starts. Read the next verse where God offers a solution in response to our wickedness. As you read this verse examine what part of this verse is our responsibility and what part God has made His responsibility.


If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. - 1 John 1:9


 Our part? Confess our sins. That's it, our part stops there. It's no surprise Jesus said His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matt. 11:30), He does all the work. God is faithful. Want to be rid of a sin in your life? Confess. We don't do that do we though. When we sin sure we ask God for forgiveness, but we resolve "to do better next time". And the cycle starts all over again. Why? Because you do not have it within yourself to fix your problem with sin. Notice in the above verse 1 John 1:9 that not only is God faithful and righteous to forgive us, but He also cleanses us from all unrighteousness. God forgives and cleanses. This is in a bible verse so I confidently say that is a trustworthy statement. So why don't we trust in God for the cleansing, why do we try so hard in the flesh? It comes down to a lack of faith. (Hence this being a faith building exercise). We have the heart's desire to be cleansed but we don't take it to God to do exactly that which He promised.


Notice that verse doesn't have any other stipulations. Confess our sins. That's it. Our part is to acknowledge our wretchedness, acknowledge our sinfulness. In my own life, my wife's life, and others around us we've been confronted with sins we hate in our lives and I did not use the word hate loosely. Ones that we repeat over and over, ever hating but repeatedly doing. Oddly we are quite stubborn and it takes us (more me than my wife) quite awhile before we admit we are useless to help ourselves. This is the amazing part though. Each time we are brought to that point, that's where God has stepped in. I acknowledge my bankruptcy and God takes the contract. I'm not sure why it's so hard for me to see that you can't be Godly without God. He really puts the God in Godliness (ok I'm done). I repeat it though because I habitually revert to my own efforts which are USELESS.


 I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. - John 15:5


You cannot bear fruit without abiding in God. You cannot abide in God without coming to the Light. Apart from Christ we can do nothing.


My challenge to you for this faith exercise is this. Practice coming to the Light thereby trusting God's promise and watch God make good on it. In my own life some of the greatest changes (if not all) have started with acknowledging my inability to help myself and my absolute need for God to do what God does. While it hurts to confess, and my flesh fights against it, I've seen God make good on His promise and I see character changes in myself that I always wanted and on my own accord always failed to achieve. It's exciting. Very exciting! All those results that were always out of my reach are not out of His reach! It actually works in me a desire to be faster to acknowledge my bankruptcy before God so the real change that only He can provide can be underway.


Confession is easy. Let me elaborate and say the action is easy. The flesh still fights for sure. But confession is easy. You don't lack material that's for sure, everyone has sin to confess.


 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. - 1 John 1:8


We never lack an audience.


Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you,
And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
How blessed are all those who long for Him. - Isaiah 30:18


The action confession is easy it's the feared result that keeps us from doing it. Let's face it, confession is humiliating. This however, is not a bad thing either.


Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, - 1 Peter 5:6


Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you. - James 4:10


Trust in God and watch God do what God does. Yeah it's humiliating, but to be exalted by God is to be lifted to heights you could have never achieved yourself, not to mention you're receiving a Godly fix to an otherwise unsolvable problem. it's worth it. We can be odd creatures, we try to hide from Him in a feeble attempt to protect our less than mediocre self exaltation (Luke 9:46-48) when God, who see's right through you is hoping you will come to Him so He can truly exalt you with an exaltation that's real and far better than anything you were protecting.


Remember, it wasn't until after Peter failed Christ (Luke 22:54-62) did Christ then restore and commission him (John 21:15-17). Peter the go-getter needed to see he couldn't do it on his own strength first. Notice in the story of Peter's denial how specific Jesus is in Luke 22:34 so Peter had no way of redirecting blame or explaining it away. Jesus predicted the rooster would not crow unless Peter specifically denied knowing Jesus three times. And then to seal the deal Jesus looked Peter in the eye from the cross right after Peter's trespass (Luke 22:61). Peter, in full acknowledgement of his failure went out and wept bitterly (Luke 22:62). Like we've discussed, coming face to face with our wretchedness sucks. But the benefits far out weigh the pain, the exaltation from God far outweighs our pathetic self exaltation (see also Rom. 8:18). This is now the Peter who Jesus all along had planned to build is rock on (Matt. 16:18). The same Peter that stood up and held accountable all those who crucified Jesus, the same crowd whom previously he was to scared to even admit knowing Jesus (Acts. 2:22-23).



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