“The Jews had been taught to justify themselves; but John (the Baptist) teach them to accuse themselves, and not to rest, as they used to do, in the general confession of sin made for all Israel, once a year, upon the Day of Atonement; but to make a particular acknowledgment, every one, of the plague of his own heart. Note, a penitent confession of sin is required in order to peace and pardon; and those only are ready to receive Jesus Christ as their Righteousness, who are brought with sorrow and shame to their own guilt.” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Matthew Chapter 3.)
I have an experience I would like to share with you.
The last time I was home, Cleveland, I went through an experience which helped me understood how seriously God takes sin and how seriously God is in saving me. It began while traveling up Euclid. I kept remembering all of these distinct and particular sins! And when it came to my mind, I asked forgiveness for each incident. It then became clear, to me, this is what God wanted me to do in order to be saved.
Now, I’m sure the obvious question would be: “Are you telling me I have to be forgiven of every sin in order to be saved?” Let’s respond by asking a question, “Will unforgiven sin permit you to enter Heaven?” You know the answer to that one. Obviously, the next question would be, “How could I possibly remember each and every sin of my past?” My answer would be: “Ask God to reveal which sins have not been forgiven—not covered, but unforgiven.” There is a difference. I didn’t ask God to show me this when at home, but He caused it to occur for a reason and now some twenty years later, I know the reason why.
Sadly, many of us rush through our prayers, mostly before going to bed thinking if we say, “God, forgive my sins” it makes everything alright. Does it? Is this what you’ve been taught? Then we have failed to take the lesson from ancient Israel. When you go back and study the “Sanctuary Service”, what did the repentant one do on the head of the lamb which was to be sacrificed? He had to confess every “known” sin in order for those sins to be transferred to the lamb, who represented Christ. Then the lamb, Christ, was sacrificed for those “confessed” sins. What about those sins which were not confessed? Ahhh, one never considers this and sadly it is THIS which will cause many of us to be lost.
The Holy Spirit’s job is to save us. If we would participate with Him in discovering those things which remain to be done, He will bring to our remembrance those things we can finally request forgiveness for. This is a task which should not be overlooked. We know that during the time when God’s Holy Spirit is withdrawn from the Earth, during the Time of Trouble, those on the side of God will agonize over the concern of unconfessed sin. They will not have the “comfort” of the Holy Spirit for reassurance because this is something they must believe and stand upon, exercising faith. Doesn’t it make sense, now, to begin the work of bringing each unconfessed sin before God to have them forgiven?
Ask Him. Ask God to reveal to you what remains to be forgiven. I believe you will begin to see a flood of your actions which has displeased Him. And will you not begin to experience peace which does pass all understanding when you know you and God are working personally to resolve any conflict which remains between you and He? I believe this to be the case.
We’re living in serious times, not so much because of what is happening around us, but what is happening in us. Salvation is truly a gift, but it is not given without conditions which follow our acceptance of this most precious gift.
January 26, 2015