By Not Known
Many years ago, when I was still a seminarian, a couple was staying with me in the same hostel. Then one day, they claimed that they had reached a stage in life where they no longer sinned. Apart from one or two other younger seminarians, none of us believed them. Firstly, what they had claimed was contrary to scriptures; secondly, their lives did not match to their claims. Ironically, we found that they had to lie constantly in order to cover up their daily shortcomings.
In his letter to the Christian community, the Apostle John wrote: If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1Jn 1:8-9). If we are really honest with ourselves (unlike, the seminarian couple), despite our best intentions and resolutions, we do not live perfect lives. We need Christ’s forgiveness not just once, but over and over again. Indeed, our willingness to admit our own faults also helps us avoid judging others and opens the door to of God’s pardon.
In Jn 20:21-23 too, the first act of the risen Christ when He appeared to the Apostles, was to entrust them with the forgiveness of sins as He breathed on them the Holy Spirit. The Apostles did not did not forgive in their own name but in God’s name. It is not a man who forgives, but God.
Confession is necessary for our reconciliation towards God as well as to one another. We must beware of deceiving ourselves in denying or excusing our sins. Our life is a life of continual repentance − continued faith in thankfulness and love for Christ.
The denial of our sin not only deceives ourselves, it challenges Christ’s veracity. God has given His testimony to the world by providing a sacrifice for sin that will be needed in all ages.
The Apostle James adds that we should confess our sins to one another and pray for each other (Js 5:16). This provides accountability but also stressed that none of us is perfect. We are all “cut from the same cloth” and are prone to, mis-steps and foolishness. Thankfully the body of believers is where we can and should find acceptance and encouragement.