What comes to mind when you think of the terms repentance and confession? They seem like something we really focus on at the beginning of our walk with the Lord: We confess we are sinners, and we repent of our sins. But does it stop there? Should we move on and never come back to the very foundation of recognition for our need for the work of Christ in our lives? For me, they are two things that I don’t do often enough.
A few weeks ago, I started a series of blogs to talk about different means of sanctification in our lives, or more simply: the continuous growth in character and holiness of Christ. Confessing our sin and repenting [or turning away from] our sins are a means by which we grow: the more we see our sin, we admit it and turn from it, the more we grow into the likeness of Christ. Looking at 1 John, we see a very real call to continue in this way:
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:5-9
As we walk in the light, or look to the Word for Truth, guidance, reproof and correction, this reveals what’s actually going on in our hearts. We become aware of the sin that is present in our lives. And although it is not easy, God works in us to reveal these things and push us to expose them.
So practically speaking, what does it mean to walk in the light? If you can imagine something that is completely illuminated, anything that doesn’t belong there will stick out, or be exposed. Without exposing these hidden things, we become ashamed, secretive, or hardened. But the light brings softening of our hearts that will lead to repentance. Every time we want to rebel, or we actually do rebel, we stop and take stock: we need to pinpoint the idolatry in our hearts. And then: confess and repent. As we practice this truth, he is faithful to forgive. There is now nothing to hide because Christ cleanses us.
This is living in the light. It is a continual process. We will do this all of our lives!