To break sin’s hold on us, we must first see it for what it actually is.
“Sin is cosmic rebellion against God,” R. C. Sproul reminds us.
What I meant by that statement was that even the slightest sin that a creature commits against his Creator does violence to the Creator’s holiness, His glory, and His righteousness. Every sin, no matter how seemingly insignificant, is an act of rebellion against the sovereign God who reigns and rules over us and as such is an act of treason against the cosmic King (see Sproul below).
I Peter 5:8 says, “Your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” Satan uses sin as his means to hold people in bondage. Though defeated by Christ at the cross, he still has not been vanquished from the battlefield.
Sin not only harms us, but it also does harm to God. In what sense does it harm God? Obviously, it does not harm his person.
If a person wants to be my friend for life, all he has to do is give me a good book. A church member once gave me two books he had purchased at a $1.00 book table at a bazaar. One title has influenced me more than other more expensive books I’ve bought over the years. It is Fisher’s Catechism, an exposition of the Westminster Shorter Catechism (see Fisher below).
Q. 1:7. How varied is the glory of God?
A. Twofold: (1) his essential glory and (2) his declarative glory.
God’s essential glory is what he is in his being. As Fisher concludes—
Q. 1:8. What is God’s essential glory?
A. It is what he is absolutely in himself.
Q. 1:9. What is his declarative glory?
A. His showing, or making known his glory, to, in, and by his creatures.
I want to make this important distinction between two aspects of God’s glory clear. What God is in himself cannot be affected by us as his creatures. We cannot add to or detract from God’s essential glory.
What we say and do in relation to God on this earth can both increase and diminish his declarative glory. By our worship, testimony, and proclamation, we can increase God’s declarative glory. This is our great aim in the Church!
Sadly, when we sin, we diminish the declarative glory of God. This is especially true if others see us sin. All see the effects of sin on us even if the act was in private. Sin is not just a personal choice. It actually is an affront against God. His law is a declaration of his character. When we deviate from his standard, we diminish the declarative glory of God here in our world.
Confessing Sin to God
In order for us to be forgiven, John sets forth our procedure in I John 1:9
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Harry Ironside said this about proper confession of sin—
In the Old Testament a person was to come to God with an offering and “So it shall be when a person is guilty in one of these, that he shall confess the sin he has committed” [AMP Leviticus 5:5]. This implies definiteness in confession. I’m afraid many of us never really get to God in confession because we are so indefinite. Someone may pray and say, “If You have seen any sin, anything wrong in me, forgive me.” Hold on a minute! Is there any sin; do you know of anything wrong? The proper way to make confession is to come to God acknowledging the [specific] wrong I have done. [See Harry Ironside below]
In other words, we need to see sin for what it is and confess it as God has labeled it. Then, God will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Fisher, James. (1753, 1760). The Assembly’s Shorter Catechism Explained By Way of Question and Answer. Accessed 24 November 2018 from https://presbyterianreformed.org/1993/04/assemblys-shorter-catechism-explained-way-question-answer/
Harry Ironside. Commentary on I John accessed 17 November 2018 from https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/isn/1-john-1.html
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