Christians sin. Shocker, right? Okay, maybe not. But if you’re a Christian and you do sin, what are you to do with it?
You have to begin with identifying the sin. You can’t kill it, repent of it, or seek forgiveness for it without identifying it. One suggestion I received a number of years ago was to use the sin lists of the New Testament and try to identify my sin in biblical terms (Col 3.5-10 is one example). That’s helpful because the first step in fixing a problem is identifying the source of the problem.
But even if I’m able to identify that my tire is flat, that doesn’t fix my problem. It just helps me begin the process of fixing the problem. My wife Stacey’s post today was helpful for me as she pointed this out. I think far too often I find the flat tires in my life and then think I’ve actually done something productive. But I need to move from identifying the problem to correcting it.
When it comes to sin, there is no way for me to ‘fix’ the problem; but I must own my sin and confess my sin and again return to the cross, where Jesus has ‘fixed’ my sin problem. If I stop at identifying without moving to confessing, I’m not actually accessing the grace that Christ has purchased for me.
Stacey writes this about her own experience yesterday:
I had recognized pride in my life, but somehow in my identification of it, I forgot its vileness, its disdainfulness. When I looked at my envy, my pride and my covetousness, it was almost palatable. I gave it the right name, but that’s about it. I wasn’t recognizing it for what it actually was.
I’ve always prided myself (how ironic) on being able to identify sin in my life, but so often I forget that I need to confess it. It’s as though I’ve come to equate identification of sin with confession of sin. As I read Tim [Challies]’s biblical description of envy, my patient, longsuffering Father reminded me that I needed to go to Him.
I, so often, forget the value or need for confession. I’ve made my sins acceptable, not recognized them for what they really are, and I know that I’m forgiven for all of them anyway. Confession can therefore seem almost incidental—the mere dotting of an “i”. Obviously this is patently untrue, but I know that I definitely minimize its value and necessity.
As a sinner, I found this helpful. I hope you will too.