This paragraph contains a well-known and often quoted verse – “If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” We know it – we just forget to actually do it!
The older I get, the more important this seems to me. Nothing is more essential to life with God, with one another and for our growth and well-being as a person.
God is light (life, purity, revealing) There is no partnership between light and darkness – if light is there, the darkness is driven out. How then can people who are sinful – who have dark places in their hearts and lives – that is, people like us, be in partnership with the God who is light?
People who are in partnership with God do not walk in darkness, habitually avoiding seeing what is in them that is at odds with God, with life. They walk in the light – as a pattern of life, they allow the light of God’s presence and his word to reveal what is there. They acknowledge what is there – recognizing and admitting what is sin and death to them. And – this is important - they acknowledge that Jesus has taken all of that on himself on the cross.
I am learning to ask, in every situation: Lord show me more about this – what is it that I am feeling? What is behind that response? What do I love more than I love you? Where am I looking for life?
Our response to a glimpse of our own part of the brokenness of the world (sin) can be:
“I am not listening … where’s that remote?
“It isn’t really wrong … its not my fault … if he/she/it/they would just…
"I am such an idiot … why don’t I ever change?"
"I will be better than that from now on..."
NO! – here is what John reminds us to do – confess it, acknowledge it! “Lord here I am, this is what I really feel/think/do/am.” Then carry it to the cross – “He himself has borne our sins on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness." Give thanks for his grace and mercy. It is enough.
This is the pattern we follow all our lives. You won’t ever get past it, or won’t need to do it anymore. The result of walking this way over time is, I think, greater humility, a greater appreciation for the mercies of God, and a greater compassion for the others around you.
There is a warning here as well – John makes it clear that those who walk in darkness – in a way of life that is out of character with God – are proving that they have no partnership, no fellowship, with him.
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