I’ll admit it. There are mistakes in the doll house we built for our granddaughter Joy. As much as we wanted perfection, it was impossible to achieve. In fact, there are more mistakes than we’d like to admit.
But when our first mistake occurred, we didn’t give up. If we had, the doll house would have sat unfinished very early on…I really think we encountered the first issue with the foundation.
We encounter similar issues in our day-to-day lives. We slip up. We create messes. Our lives are full of bloopers, goof ups, and blunders. I don’t think I can say it any other way. We make mistakes.
In our spiritual lives, those mistakes are called sin. According to the online Merriman-Webster dictionary, “sin is an offense against religious or moral law. It is transgression of the law of God.”[i]
The very basic definition of sin is when we miss the mark. As an archer might miss the bulls eye of a target or perhaps miss the target altogether. God has provided commands, laws, or precepts for us to follow. When we disobey, neglect, or omit any one of these commands from our lives, we commit sin.
Sin then, is anything that separates us from God.
Thankfully for us, God has made arrangements for us when we are outside of His will. When we miss the mark. And although God cannot tolerate sin in our lives (Habakkuk 1:13a), God has provided grace.
You see, just as we did not give up when we realized we made our first mistake (or 10th mistake) on the doll house, we cannot give up when we make mistakes in our spiritual lives.
We must admit that we’ve sinned. David understood this and what leads up to confessing sin. He had this to say about it.
“When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’—and you forgave the guilt of my sin.” (Psalm 32:3-5 – NIV)
I’ve been there. Haven’t you? When the heaviness in my heart was so great because of sin. David knew he had to acknowledge his sin. Confess his sin to God. Then, accept God’s forgiveness. And please notice, God also forgives the guilt. Now there’s a gift to accept with open, appreciative hands.
In 1 John 1:9 (NIV), the apostle John makes note of this concept as well. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
Another gracious gift from our heavenly Father. Purification. He will purify us when we confess our sin to Him. Because He is faithful and just.
We must also repent of our sin. The foundational meaning of this word is to do an about face. To turn in the opposite direction. Yes, we must confess the sin, but if we do not repent of it, we will be in bondage to that same sin again and again. There must be change. In attitude and action.
Paul shares this message with the Corinth church in 2 Corinthians 7. Paul’s first letter was difficult for them (2 Corinthians 7:8), but he called them to something. Repentance. “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” (2 Corinthians 7:10 – NIV)
We are called to this same action. Repent of sin that keeps us stumbling over and over.
And just a few more things to keep in mind. The writer of Hebrews shows us that once sin is forgiven by God, He will remember it no more. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Hebrews 8:12 – NIV) “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” (Hebrews 10:17 – NIV)
After forgiveness, I must forget my sin. But we all know that guilt gets in the way of forgetting. Remember David’s words above? God forgives the guilt of the sin. We see this idea in Romans 8:1 (NIV) as well.
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” We can rid our lives of guilt when we confess and repent of sin in our lives. Jesus has taken it away.
And here’s another idea from John the Baptizer. In speaking to some of the Pharisees and Sadducess, John makes this statement. “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” (Matthew 3:9 – NIV)
I can’t help but think that is a statement is one for me to remember. After confession and repentance of sin, if I do not produce spiritual fruit in my life I will once again have missed the mark.
As we built this doll house, we didn’t give up or quit when mistakes were made. It’s the same with our spiritual lives. When we sin, it’s not a time to throw it all away. God will be there waiting to hear from us.
Do you need to speak to God today? Is there sin in your life that is preventing you from being near your heavenly Father? Is sin keeping you from producing fruit? Are you burdened by the weight of guilt?
If so, please run to God’s loving arms and seek His forgiveness. Follow David’s example. Lay it all out before God. Then relish in the weightlessness of forgiveness.
Grace and peace be yours in abundance,