Forgive Me My Sin

Text: 1 John 2:1-2
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. (NRSV)

I have always wrestled with the Bible’s assertion that when we accept Jesus as our Lord, we are free to do the right thing.  What I mean by that, is that we can literally choose not to sin.  We are no longer in bondage to sin and death.  This is truly what the Bible means when it says we are set free (see Romans 6 and 2 Corinthians 5).

Paul even writes in 1 Corinthians 10 that we have no excuse for our sin because we will never be tempted with anything that is not a common temptation for everyone AND that God will always give us the way out of any temptation with which we could possibly be tempted.  And, yet, I still sin!

This text from 1 John really helps me with my wrestling over this issue.  John is undoubtedly saying that the purpose of his writing is so that [I] may not sin.  However, he quickly follows that up with, “But if [I] do sin, [I] have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous…”

John is clearly not giving me an excuse for my sin, but he is declaring my remedy if I do sin.  This is not intended to be some kind of a game where I recognize a loophole that allows me to sin and then seek forgiveness.  I don’t know anywhere in scripture where it says that as long as you say the magic words, “God forgive me” that God has some sort of mandate that makes God powerless to withhold forgiveness.  It is clear in scripture that forgiveness is given to those who come to God broken by their sin, confess the sin they have committed, and ask for forgiveness (see Psalm 34, 51, and 147).

However, when we do fall to temptation and approach God with a broken heart and sorrow for our failings, God is quick to forgive us for our sins and for the sins of the world through Jesus’ atoning sacrifice.
Pray with me:

God of mercy, grace, and forgiveness show me the way to escape the temptations that come my way.  Give me strength through your Holy Spirit that I may not fall into the darkness of sin.  Thank you for the gift of your Son who has paid the penalty of my sin and for your grace and mercy which applies your forgiveness to my life when I come to you broken by my sin.  AMEN

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