This thread is geared towards believers in Jesus Christ who hold the Bible as the Word of God. I welcome constructive criticism, but please, lets all
try to remain civil.
The First Epistle of John was a letter written by the Apostle John to the early Church, concerning the way a Christian should conduct him/herself in
their spiritual life. While the letter covers a wide variety of Church doctrines, there is one specific "frame" of the "spectrum" that I would
like to focus on.
1 John 1:8-10----8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful
and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word
is not in us.
(My focus is on verse 9, but I quoted vs 8-10 above for context.)
I believe that each individual Christian recieves the baptism and permanent indwelling of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit upon the moment of faith in
Christ. This means:
1) We are saved by Faith
2) We are baptized into the Body of Christ
3) We are identified with Jesus' Royal Priesthood, making each Christian a believer-priest before God
4) The Holy Spirit dwells within us, but it is our choice whether or not to let Him work through us.
So, if the Holy Spirit is always within us, how do we let Him guide us? I feel that the answer is 1 John 1:9. John basically tells us to confess our
sins. Since we still sin on a regular basis, we should confess those sins privately to God the Father directly, on a regular basis. We are told that
if we do not do this, we are not in fellowship with God. If we are not in fellowship with God, then how can the Holy Spirit fill us from within, to
work through us? (I am making a distinction here between the "indwelling of the Holy Spirit", and the "filling of the Holy Spirit".) This idea
seems obvious to me: either you are filled with your recent sins, or you are filled with the Holy Spirit. The two 'modes' are mutually exclusive.
This means that the regular practice of 1 John 1:9 is vital to our spiritual maturity. Without it, believers in Christ will never pass the infantile
Why am I saying all this?
Ive spent time moving from church to church, seeking a properly functioning congregation to be a part of, and to this day, I remain disappointed. My
late pastor taugt me that 1 John 1:9 was as important as breathing. You would think that if such a simple principle was so fundamental, you would here
it taught atleast once or twice across the majority of local Protestant churchs...yet its not....atleast I havent seen it.
What could this mean?
Well, if the American church has neglected or forgotten this doctrine, then doesnt that mean that the vast majority of Christians remain in a
"comatose" state from the moment of rebirth? Im not trying to pass a blanket judgement on all Christians, and I certainly hope that any reader of 1
John 1:9 realizes that sins must be confessed to God. But we are called out of the world to be trained as Kings and Priests for Jesus future kingdom.
If we are each priests before God, then it should be obvious that a priest must confess his/her own sins regularly. That has alway been a function of
biblical priesthood. Jesus is our everlasting cleansing sacrifice, and when we cite our sins, we are cleansed of their temporary effect in our earthly
lives. If we refuse to confess our sins, then those sins accumilate, and eventually lead us to "sin unto death". No believer should have to face sin
unto death. Its not what God wants for us.
So, how did we get to this point?
Something so simple, yet so neglected. We go to great lengths to try and show our love for God, we often witness to those who reject the good news. We
even erroneously send our "tithe" money to fill our pastors' wallets. Zeal is not a rarity in the American church, yet all of this work potentially
amounts to NOTHING, simply because we failed to maintain our priestly function of confession, and therefore failed to grow-up.
This is why I believe that America will soon suffer the "sin unto death". Its not the athiests weighing us down, but the church itself.