“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8)
When you receive Jesus as Saviour, all your sins are eternally forgiven. Unfortunately, you still have a nature inside you that wants to do things that please you, even if they displease God. John talked about this battle we have inside us when he said, “If we [including himself] say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8)
Now some may ask, “If my sin won’t send me to hell, why not just enjoy it?” Fair question. The Bible has several answers. First, understand that when you receive Jesus as Saviour, you are now a child of God: “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:26)
Now God is holy. As His children, then, we should strive to like Him: “…Be ye holy; for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:16) We won’t be perfect in this life. We’ll slip up from time to time. Yet we can strive to be holy: “Follow peace with all men, and holiness,” (Hebrews 12:14) If, or rather when we sin, we are to confess it to God: “If we [again, John included himself] confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
Yet if we hang onto sin and don’t confess it, we are disobeying God’s command in 1 John 1:9. At that point, we don’t lose salvation, but we lose fellowship with God. If you’re a parent, you know how unhappy it is when a child is disobedient. Things aren’t right between you and him. In the same way, when we sin and won’t confess it, things aren’t right between us and God.
Sin in a Christian’s life also grieves the Holy Spirit: “And grieve not the Holy Spirit,” (Ephesians 4:32) When you receive Jesus as Saviour, the Holy Spirit comes to live inside you: “…in whom also, after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,” (Ephesians 1:13)
The Holy Spirit convicts Christians of sin so we’ll confess it: “For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me:…I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.” (Psalm 32:4-5) Yet if we don’t confess sin as God the Holy Spirit directs us to, we grieve Him.
When we won’t listen to the Holy Spirit’s leading, something else bad can happen: our hearts become hardened against God: “…lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” (Hebrews 3:13) It’s not that we hate God, but we don’t want to obey Him. If a Christian tries to justify or excuse a certain sin, he can be inclined to defend that sin when it is preached against.
Unconfessed sin in a Christian’s life will not send him to hell, but it can do awful damage to his life and the lives of others. More on this subject later. Meanwhile, if you would like to see how to receive Jesus as Saviour and have eternal forgiveness of sins and a home in heaven, please go to www.clevelandbaptist.org, click “Helpful Links,” then “How Do I Go to Heaven?”
Brian Miller 8/30/2021
Cleveland Baptist Church 4431 Tiedeman Road, Brooklyn, Ohio 44144 216-671-2822