It is important to understand that all of us are fallen human beings. However, we too often use that as an excuse when we fail. “We’re all sinners!” “Don’t throw stones!” These are often heard as if stating them reduces the consequences of our sin before holy God.
We expect the unsaved of the world to fail. It’s what they do. Unsaved people live as enemies of God; the very thing we were prior to becoming Christians. It should be no real surprise when we see the increase of sexual harassment accusations between unsaved people in business, politics, or entertainment industry.
However, we don’t expect those who are saved to fail in a spectacular way and we certainly do not expect pastors and Christian leaders to fail us morally.Theirs is a uniquely high calling, a calling that should not be entered into with lightness or carelessness. With greater responsibility comes the potential of a greater height from which to fall.
The truth is that there is failure every day in the lives of millions of us Christians. Most of that failure is through what we call sins of omission. These sins are the ones that we are not generally aware of from God’s perspective. In truth, if we are in fellowship with God (walk in the light), the blood of Christ cleanses us from all of these “sins of omission.”
This is clearly pointed out to us in 1 John 1:7, which says, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” They key of course is to be in true fellowship with God. The “light” points out our sin. Being a Christian is one thing, but being in fellowship with God as a Christian is another thing altogether and it is what every Christian should aspire to daily.
Verses 8-10 of 1 John (below), point out that we do sin and I believe he is mainly referring to those sins that we are not aware of but are true sins nonetheless. This offers a rebuke to the idea of sinless perfection, to which no Christian will ever attain to in this life because of the presence of our sin nature, which will not be eradicated until after our deaths.
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (ESV)
The truth is that we do sin. John’s reasoning is very logical. We are sinners, therefore we sin even after we are saved. As we live our Christian life, the Holy Spirit will remind us of the times we sin and when that happens, we should turn to the Lord in confession. This is essentially agreeing with God that we have sinned, instead of ignoring it. By taking that approach, our hearts will start to harden and our consciences will eventually become fully seared, unable to warn us.
But notice also that as we confess our sins, forgiveness is applied to us and we are cleansed from all unrighteousness. This is an ongoing process for the Christian who remains in fellowship with God. We will always and unfortunately, be guilty of sins of omission; sins that we are not aware of until and/or if the Holy Spirit brings them to our mind. The implication here is that He won’t necessarily bring all our sins of omission to our minds either. In that case, we might be spending all our days simply confessing sin. However, when He does inform us, we should confess. The person who insists that they do not sin is, in John’s description, is tantamount to making God a liar. If that is the case, then clearly, “his word is not in us” meaning we are not in fellowship with Him.
Do you know specifically every sin you’ve committed this week? The Holy Spirit may remind us if He chooses. But these are for sins of omission, the “incidental” sins, if you will. These are not the “big” sins, the deliberate, well thought out, pre-planned sins, the type of sins we all get “warnings” about when red flags go off in our minds and we know we’re moving into dangerous territory.
In Genesis 39, we read of the situation with Joseph and Potiphar’s wife. She came onto him and wanted him to lie with her. She wanted to have an adulterous affair with this young, good-looking man whom her husband had placed his trust in. Joseph did what he could to avoid her advances, even running out of the house when she grabbed him, leaving behind his outer cloak. Of course, she then used the cloak as “evidence” that Joseph had tried to rape her. This landed him in prison where he remained for several years even though he had done nothing wrong.
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