So what do we do with “leftover” sin? You know, the sins that we have accumulated like last night’s dinner leftovers or the junk we hide in our closets so no one can see them? The sins we don’t want to deal with, don’t want to confess, but yet we keep them “hanging around.”
Sin, like leftover food, has to be disposed of or the process of decay begins to take a toll. We wouldn’t leave food rotting in our refrigerator. Why do we leave sin “rotting” in our souls?
What do we do with it then? Ignore it? Close the door on it one more time and walk away? The counsel of 1 John 1:9 is that we “confess it.” We release it. We give our “junk” to God to clean up and dispose of for us. The blood of Jesus Christ is the only cleansing agent that can scrub away the stains of yesterday’s, today’s and tomorrow’s pile of sin.
Confession does not necessarily require going to a person. Though some church traditions have taught this, the Bible seems very clear that this transaction is between you and God. While there are benefits to confessing our faults to a faithful friend to help us deal with avoiding this in the future, it is only necessary to confess our sins to God.
To ‘confess’ does not mean we tell God something He doesn’t know. He’s well aware of what is “rotting” inside of us. He knows this sin has pushed us away from our intimacy with Him. We simply need to admit the same. First, that what God calls sin is, in fact, sin. That it is for this that Christ died. It is for this that atonement was necessary. It is for this that some will spend eternity in Hell.
Admitting we have sinned is a powerful assault against our flesh and pride. We cannot “clean out” this rot without God’s assistance. Only the blood shed by His Son at the cross can do this. And only our confession of that sin… as specific as possible… to God can open the door for the cleansing to take place.
While our salvation and eternal life is never in jeopardy in this understanding, our fellowship (nearness, intimacy, joy) is at stake. We can live in a relationship with someone while not feeling at all close to them. Such is the state of the Christian who will not confess sins committed. And, as one old writer used to put it,
…keep short accounts.
FOR MEDITATION: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
FOR REFLECTION: “What can wash away my sin, nothing but the blood of Jesus. What can make me whole again, nothing but the blood of Jesus. O precious is the flow, that makes me white as snow. No other fount I know, nothing but the blood of Jesus.”