Confession, Profession, and Obsession

1 John 1:5-6 ESV

“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.”

Our God is a triune God – Father, Son (Jesus Christ) and Holy Spirit – three complete persons in one person. Close to 2000 years ago God the Father sent his Son Jesus Christ to earth to take on human form, to suffer as we suffer and to be tempted in like manner as we are also tempted, yet without sin. He was loved by few and hated by many, especially he was hated by many of the rulers and by people of influence in the temple of God.

Those who hated him persecuted and hounded and harassed him on a consistent basis, and eventually they had him put to death on a cross, although he had done no wrong. But it was the will of God that Jesus should suffer and die, for in his death he became sin for us that he might put our sin to death with him, so that by faith in him we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness.

So, when we come to Jesus by genuine God-given faith in him, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are raised with him to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Our old self is crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For we are slaves of the one whom we obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness, and which ends in eternal life.

Now our God is a holy and righteous God who is without sin. In him is no darkness (sin, evil, wickedness) at all. And Jesus Christ, God the Son, who knew no sin, became sin for us on that cross that we might become the righteousness of God. Jesus died on that cross that we might be crucified with him in death to sin and be raised with him to walk in his righteousness and holiness, in obedience to our Lord, and no longer in sin.

So, if we claim that we are in fellowship (partnership, participation, communion, relationship) with Christ/God, via faith in Jesus Christ – which in truth means that we are contributing to the relationship via cooperation with God and with his work of grace in our lives – but while we walk (in practice, in conduct) in darkness (sin, wickedness), then we are liars who do not practice the truth. We are not in genuine relationship with Christ.

[Php 2:5-11; Jn 1:1-36; Heb 4:15; Isaiah 53; 2 Co 5:15,21; Rom 5:8; Lu 9:22; Lu 17:25; 1 Pet 2:24; Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-32; Rom 8:1-14]

1 John 1:7 ESV

“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.”

Now, a lot of people have this idea that our salvation is a one-time experience that happens in our lives which secures us heaven as our eternal destiny regardless of how we live our lives on this earth. But the Scriptures do not teach or support that. What they teach is that our salvation is progressive sanctification which will not be complete until Jesus returns to take his bride to be with him, providing we meet his conditions.

Yes, there are indeed conditions we must meet if we are to be saved from our sins and to have eternal life with God. We must walk in the light (truth, righteousness, holiness, Jesus Christ) as God is in the light and we must no longer walk in darkness (sin, wickedness, disobedience). Daily we must die to sin and to self and walk in obedience to our Lord, not necessarily in absolute sinless perfection, but as a matter of life practice.

Sin must no longer have mastery over our lives to where we are still enslaved to sin. Sin must no longer be our practice. Righteousness and obedience to our Lord are now to be our practice. For if sin and disobedience and unrighteousness are what we practice, instead, then the Scriptures teach us that we will not inherit eternal life. We will not enter the kingdom of heaven no matter what we professed with our lips.

So, you see, how we live and what we do in this life do determine where we will spend eternity. For faith in Jesus Christ is not an emotional decision or a mere profession of faith. But it is a chosen lifestyle. It is a commitment to Christ to leave our lives of sin behind us and to follow our Lord in obedience to his ways. Then we have fellowship with God and with one another, and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-32; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44; 2 Pet 1:1; 1 Co 15:58; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; 1 Co 10:1-22; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 4:1-13; Heb 10:26-27; Rom 2:6-8; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 5:3-6; Col 3:5-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

1 John 1:8-10 ESV

“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.”

Now this word “confess” is not speaking of a mere verbal acknowledgment of sin. The word means to speak the same as God, to agree with God about our sin, as well as it means to publicly declare that we have sinned. It means to speak to the same conclusion as God about our sin, and his conclusion is that we must be crucified with Christ in death to sin so that we might live to Christ and to his righteousness, in the power of God.

Also, we can’t build a doctrine around just verse 9 here. We must interpret verse 9 in light of the context, as a whole, including the whole of the book of 1 John and the whole of the New Testament. For, this specific context says that if we claim to be in relationship with Jesus Christ (with God) but while sin is what we practice, that we are liars who don’t live by the truth. So a mere verbal confession of sin does not necessarily equal true repentance.

So, what I am saying here is that we do have many people who profess faith in Jesus Christ but who are still walking (in conduct, in practice) in sin and not in righteousness, and not in holiness, and not in obedience to our Lord. And some of them feel that if they make a verbal confession of sin that it automatically results in forgiveness of sin even if they have no intention of forsaking their sins at all, or even if they continue in deliberate sin.

But that is not the way that it works. We can’t walk in sin, in practice, then occasionally give a verbal confession of sin, and then assume all is forgiven and so we can just keep on in sin. Or we can’t just make a profession of faith in Jesus and then continue living in sin assuming all sins have been forgiven and so we can keep sinning as much as we want. No! That is not what the Scriptures teach.

If we want to be cleansed from all unrighteousness and have the hope of eternal salvation and eternal life with God we must now walk (in conduct, in practice) according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh. Sin must not be what we practice but righteousness and obedience to our Lord must be what we practice. For if we walk in sin, we will die in our sins. We will not have eternal life with God regardless of what our lips professed.

[Lu 9:23-26; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 10:26-31; 1 Pet 1:17-21; Jn 15:1-11; Matt 7:21-23; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

The Lily of the Valley

Lyrics by Charles W. Fry, 1881
Music by William H. Hays, 1871, arr. Charles W. Fry, 1881

I’ve found a friend in Jesus, He’s everything to me,
He’s the fairest of ten thousand to my soul;
The Lily of the Valley, in Him alone I see
All I need to cleanse and make me fully whole.
In sorrow He’s my comfort, in trouble He’s my stay;
He tells me every care on Him to roll.

He all my grief has taken, and all my sorrows borne;
In temptation He’s my strong and mighty tow’r;
I’ve all for Him forsaken, and all my idols torn
From my heart and now He keeps me by His pow’r.
Though all the world forsake me, and Satan tempt me sore,
Through Jesus I shall safely reach the goal.

He’ll never, never leave me, nor yet forsake me here,
While I live by faith and do His blessed will;
A wall of fire about me, I’ve nothing now to fear,
From His manna He my hungry soul shall fill.
Then sweeping up to glory to see His blessed face,
Where rivers of delight shall ever roll.

He’s the Lily of the Valley, the Bright and Morning Star,
He’s the fairest of ten thousand to my soul.

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