Monday, August 13, 2007

1 John 1:9

1 John 1:9 (NIV)
"9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."

Most Christians read this verse to be: God is faithful and just to forgive me and He will purify me when I confess my sins to Him.

I used to believe that way. However I realize how weak and helpless I was as a Christian! Each time I have done something wrong, I feel condemned. I need to ask God for forgiveness. Each day I have 1001 sins to confess. Or perhaps even more. Does God keep track of my sins? Or do I have to remember them?

And what happens if I don't confess (maybe I was angry with God that day) or if I had forgotten one sin unintentionally? Will God still forgive me? Or will He say "Nevermind"? But God is not frivolous, isn't He?

Deep inside I know He forgives me. So why do I need to confess? I can never feel worthy enough to receive His love and be in a perfect fellowship with Him because I can never know if I still had that ONE sin unconfessed.

Most Christians understand or were taught that if we confess our sins, God will be faithful and just in accordance with his good character and He will forgive us as He said He will.

Does it mean that when I don't confess, I fall out of fellowship with God? This does not make any sense or make me secure in God at all. Does it mean that Christ's blood is only good and active if we confess our sins? In God's point of view, either Christ has done the perfect work to keep us in fellowship with God, or Christ hasn't.

What about the verse that God will remember our sins no more? Isn't it an insult to remind God of our sins again when He literally said He does not remember them?

If we confess our sins, are we also saying we now have BROKEN fellowship with God? Because acknowledging those sins means we are now in darkness (apart from God). Darkness has no part with God who is Light.

And we are then to seek forgiveness to restore the relationship back and bring us back into the Light? But then, isn't Jesus' blood continously flowing to keep us in the fellowship? I mean, who wants a relationship of this nature? Surely not I.

An example of a husband-and-wife relationship in a marriage covenant. If my wife does wrong, can she be 'downgraded' to my girlfriend? That is not secure to her because I can ditch her anytime. And only when she says sorry that I will bring the relationship back to wife status. Now, who will want to marry me?

Furthermore if we have an everlasting covenant together in marriage, how can we be in unbroken fellowship if I keep 'downgrading' her? The marriage covenant sustains us, reminding me as a husband that my wife is always part of me. And no matter what she does, she is still part of me! And I am faithful in keeping to the covenant of marriage. It does not depend on how good she is (of course I would want her to be a good wife) but in that marriage covenant, I love her as she is.

Likewise, how can we downgrade ourselves each time we sin and we need to confess our sins to God in order to be in fellowship with him again? How can sin be greater than Jesus' blood?

I kept having this niggling feeling that something was either not right with me. Or that my understanding of the Word was not right. I think it's the latter. So I began to read deeply, trying to understand God's love and heart for me. I also read the the preceding and after text of 1 John 1:9 to get the whole picture.

Let's read it slowly (1 John 1:5-10, Amplified).
"5And this is the message [the message of promise] which we have heard from Him and now are reporting to you: God is Light, and there is no darkness in Him at all [no, not in any way].

6[So] if we say we are partakers together and enjoy fellowship with Him when we live and move and are walking about in darkness, we are [both] speaking falsely and do not live and practice the Truth [which the Gospel presents].

7But if we [really] are living and walking in the Light, as He [Himself] is in the Light, we have [true, unbroken] fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses (removes) us from all sin and guilt [keeps us cleansed from sin in all its forms and manifestations].

8If we say we have no sin [refusing to admit that we are sinners], we delude and lead ourselves astray, and the Truth [which the Gospel presents] is not in us [does not dwell in our hearts].

9If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action].

10If we say (claim) we have not sinned, we contradict His Word and make Him out to be false and a liar, and His Word is not in us [the divine message of the Gospel is not in our hearts]."

Bham, the truth just hit me! It blew my mind and shed light into my dark room of confusion and dilemma.

Oh how wrong can we be! How little we understand God's great love for us. We have misinterpreted His Words!

With this new knowledge of truth, I am now assured of God's love for me. Let me share what the verses mean:

How can we walk in fellowship with God when there exist sin in our lives? God is Light and Truth. If I walk with Him in the Light, that means I am 'perfect' as He is. This is God's holy standard - either we are of the Light (sinless) or of Darkness (sinful) as the passage tells me. Those of darkness cannot walk with Him.

To be in the Light and having UNBROKEN fellowship with God, I need to be without sin or sinless. Am I? Let the next few verses tell me whether I am a sinner or I have committed sins in my life.

If I say that we are walking in the Light (as perfect as God is) because we have NO sin, we are wrong! The Word says we are lying when we say we do not have sin. Of course we have!

Right from the beginning, Adam sinned and all mankind fell because of his one act of disobedience. The Gospel tells us we are all like sheep and have gone astray... you know the rest.

If we admit that we do have sin and conclude that we are sinners, we are right! But how can we sinners walk in UNBROKEN (keyword) fellowship with God? How can sinners be partakers with a holy and righteous God, let alone be in fellowship with Him?

By confessing our sins? It's like a see-saw fellowship!

This is the part many Christians misinterpret - God's faithfulness. The verse in Amplified says God is faithful in keeping us cleansed so that we may have UNBROKEN fellowship with Him at all times, everyday, every hour, minute and second!

Now isn't this good news? It is to me! Who keeps us cleansed? Who sustains the unbroken fellowship? Yes it is God!

Do you see this even more powerful part? It is not God being faithful to our confessions of sin(s) but it is God being faithful to what Christ has done! It is God being faithful to the ever-cleansing blood of Christ! Wow...

When we sin, God is faithful to the ever-flowing and ever-cleansing properties of the blood of Jesus to keep us walking in the Light with Him. Each time we sin, the blood cleanses. And it continues to cleanse. Thereby keeping the fellowship - UNBROKEN! Hallelujah! Isn't that wonderful?

It's like this drop of black ink (representing sin) falling into this huge, fast-flowing river (representing Christ's blood). It's is more than enough to wash away all of my sins!

If we say we DO NOT sin, we are the real liars, not God. We indeed have committed sins everyday as the Word says.

The Truth
In this new truth, these very verses say that God is the one keeping the fellowship with us UNBROKEN in Christ. How? By the continous cleansing blood of Christ! When God sees the blood, He is faithful to His promise that the shed blood is more than enough to keep us in fellowship with Him.

Now that brings a whole new truth and security. It creates an awesome awareness of God's love for me. He loves me so much that He desires and wants to have fellowship with me - ALL THE TIME. UNBROKEN!

Initially God cannot do so because of the presence of sin in our lives. But now it is made possible by Jesus' blood. It doesn't matter to Him now that I am a sinner or that I have committed and unconfessed sins because each time He looks at me, He does not see sin.

He sees me perfect as He is. Christ's blood is ever-flowing, ever-cleansing! It is cleansing me continuously.

That's why we can have unbroken fellowship with Him! And walk in the Light with Him!

I can rest assured in His love for me. I can rest in Christ complete work at the cross. God has redeemed us and He is faithful to His promise in keeping us redeemed in Christ continuously and eternally! Now, those are some powerful words!

"The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want;
He makes me lie down..."

Rest, O my soul.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

It hurts when I saw this video

I forced myself to watch it (original link). Initially I thought it was one of those propaganda videos - you know the kind to stir up dissention against the government during National Day.

However towards the end (after 10mins) of the video when the old man by the pavement started singing a song with his guitar, I was totally glued to the screen. I felt helpless and sorry for those folks who once gave their all for the country. This is how the country gave back to them.

See for yourself and make your own conclusions.