We’ve probably all heard this. I used to teach it. But what is this actually saying about how we see our relationship with God? What is usually implied is that we need to make sure we’ve confessed every sin that would separate us.
We get this from the Old Covenant separation because of our sin (Isa.59:2), forgetting that Jesus changed something. God seems to think that nothing can separate us from His love in Christ (Rom.8:38-39).
Not our sins, not our lack of confession…nothing means nothing.
So…how short is nothing?
Beloved, the separation you perceive is between your ears. And we’ve actually created this mixed up Grace-Law sin management theology to separate ourselves from the One we’ve been placed in. It comes from not knowing who we are and where we are in Christ. We’ve accepted religious alien identities that empower what Jesus disempowered on the Cross.
We’ve made something quite simple very complicated.
Are you in Christ or out?
Let me ask you something. If you’re “in Christ,” what does that mean to you? Because then, according to Paul, you died and Christ is your life. You need to attend your own funeral. I wrote about that here.
Furthermore, if God placed you in Christ by His grace when you believed, apart from your behavior, then how do you think your behavior will put you out of Christ? Beloved, God has placed you with Himself in heavenly places! Look at what Paul said (Bold-text added for emphasis)…
“And God raised us up with Christ
and seated us with him
in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Eph.2:6)
“For you died,
and your life is now hidden
with Christ in God.” (Col.3:3)
And do you think God would dwell with our sin for one moment if it wasn’t actually taken away by the blood of Christ? (Eph.1:7; Heb.10:10, 17-18)
Okay, some of you may want to tell me this is why we have to confess ongoing offenses, so we don’t have any unconfessed sin. Really? Let’s look at this for a moment.
Do you have unconfessed sin?
This is a popular evangelical myth that I used to teach–that unconfessed sin doesn’t damn us to hell but it breaks fellowship with God. You’ve probably heard it too, right? Well let’s put this to a simple test, shall we?
Imagine making a list of all the sins you’ve ever committed since becoming a Christian. Maybe just list the first 100,000… 🙂
Now, imagine listing of all the sins you’ve ever confessed to God.
Which list is longer?
Now, if you said your list of total committed sins is longer (which it should be for all of us) then, according to this theory, you’re out of fellowship with God.
You still have unconfessed sin in your life.
Now, before you try to say that you’ve confessed all that you’re aware of, that doesn’t cut it. Why? Because, if we’re going to put ourselves under the Law, which is the only option to grace, then all sins, including sins of omission, must be included–even those sins you weren’t aware you committed. No cheating. You must specify each sin if you’re going to go down this road.
So, how are you doing now?
One more thing about still having to be forgiven by God for future sins. When were all your sins forgiven? That’s right, 2,000 years ago on the Cross. So, how many of your sins were in the future back then? Get it yet?
Is the absurdity of this argument dawning on you yet?
Why don’t we just draw near instead?
The fact is, like the Prodigal’s father, God will not hear your probation speech. He doesn’t want your continual bull and goat offerings, your groveling like a slave and promises to “do better next time” that you can never keep anyway. He wants you to believe Him–that you’re already forgiven–that it is FINISHED. Because, otherwise, you’re trying to remind Him of something He’s forgotten.
Have you read Hebrews? The writer is pretty clear about this in chapter ten (bold-type added for emphasis)…
“By that will we have been sanctified
through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ
once for all… Heb.10:10
“For by one offering
He has perfected forever
those who are being sanctified.” Heb.10:14
“then He adds,
“Their sins and their lawless deeds
I will remember no more.”
Now where there is remission of these,
there is no longer an offering for sin.” Heb.10:17-18
Do you notice a common theme here? Sin has been dealt with–once and for all…forever…and there’s no longer an offering for sin. What does once for all, forever and no longer usually mean to you?
So then why are you still bringing your offering for sin to the altar?
And think about it. If Jesus already forgave your sins–past, present and future–then what kind of God would still hold them against you? Actually, not God! He seems to think He’s not counting our sins against us anymore (2 Cor.5:19). We’re the only one’s confused here.
I talked more about the fact that our sins are already forgiven forever here.
I will end the same way Hebrews chapter ten concludes.
“Therefore, brethren, having boldness
to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus,
20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us,
through the veil, that is, His flesh,
21 and having a High Priest over the house of God,
22 let us draw near with a true heart
in full assurance of faith,
having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience
and our bodies washed with pure water.
23 Let us hold fast the confession
of our hope without wavering,
for He who promised is faithful.” Heb.10:19-23
What the writer of Hebrews is trying to tell us is that we have a BETTER covenant! We no longer have to be sin conscious, like they were under the Old Covenant (Heb.10:2), we can be God conscious! Wouldn’t that be better?
You might ask, what’s the harm in making sure? Well, besides the fact that you’re trampling the grace of God under foot with your continual offerings, you’re also wasting a lot of time with a guilty conscious that you could be spending abiding in the Father’s embrace and growing in grace as a fully affirmed son/daughter.
Am I against confession? Absolutely not. What do we confess under the New Covenant of grace then? I will have to cover that next time. 🙂
For now, let’s draw near to God, having our hearts cleansed from our mea culpas of unbelief, and find life, real freedom from the power of sin, and fullness of joy at His throne of grace.