Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Confession Of Sin
“If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me; And that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity: Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land.” (Leviticus 26:40-42)
God promised Israel that if they would admit to being wrong, that it was not just a simple mistake but an ongoing pattern from generation to generation, and that it was the result of deliberate choices to ignore God’s plan, and acknowledge that it was God who had caused them to find themselves in such straits, recognizing they deserved such punishment, then God would forgive them and keep the promises he had made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Human beings do not like to admit they are wrong. It goes against our very nature, and many people see it as a sign of weakness. As a result, in our day, people are taught that success requires you never admit to being wrong. Unfortunately, such an approach encourages denial of responsibility for problem, so they don’t get dealt with. Instead, we take the approach of the two kids who were playing with matches in their bed, seeing how much light they made. When the bed caught fire, they tried pouring cups of water on it, but when the fire kept spreading, they pushed the mattress and blankets out the window where it landed on the picnic table, which also caught on fire.
A neighbor saw the smoke coming from the bedroom window and called the fire department. The firemen insisted on being sure there was no fire in the house before they worried about the burning picnic table so it was destroyed. The girl insisted it was not their fault the table burned because the firemen wouldn’t listen to her, completely ignoring the fact that there would have been no fire if they had not played with matches. Far too often we try to shift the blame to someone else.
“The land also shall be left of them, and shall enjoy her sabbaths, while she lieth desolate without them: and they shall accept of the punishment of their iniquity: because, even because they despised my judgments, and because their soul abhorred my statutes.” (Leviticus 26:43)
If a person caused an accident that resulted in another person being killed, saying you are sorry and asking forgiveness does not remove the consequences of the actions. The person would still be dead, even if his family forgives you completely. In the same way, God said that even though he forgave Israel for their sin, the consequences would remain. They were to accept those consequences as the result of their not honoring God by refusing to obey. They would still have to serve their sentence. This goes directly contrary to what many today teach.
“And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them: for I am the LORD their God. But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the heathen, that I might be their God: I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 26:44-45)
While they were serving their sentence, God would not forget his promise to them, but would protect them from harm or break his promise to them. He would keep in mind his covenant and remember how much he had invested in them. Ultimately, he would fulfill those promises.
The Nation of Israel had rebelled so completely that they were taken into captivity under Nebuchadnezzar and had to serve out the entire seventy years God had prophesied, yet he forgave the ones who acknowledged the captivity came from God, and restored them at the end of the time, blessing them richly. Those who refused to acknowledge that it was God who was taking them into captivity were later killed.
“These are the statutes and judgments and laws, which the LORD made between him and the children of Israel in mount Sinai by the hand of Moses.” (Leviticus 26:46)
These are the overriding principles or laws which Israel was to operate by, the Ten Commandments. Various statutes or rules as to how to keep them were given, as well as the penalties or judgments for violating them. They are the terms of the contract or covenant God made with Israel.
The same concept of accepting responsibility for our sin and accepting God’s judgment for it is critical to our salvation and ongoing forgiveness in the New Testament. I John 1:8-10. ”If we say that 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. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”
If we refuse to admit that we have done wrong or acknowledge that the consequences are from God, we are effectively calling God a liar, and clearly, we do not have Christ in our hearts. On the other hand, if we will acknowledge our sin and God’s right to punish us, he will forgive us and cleanse us, placing the Holy spirit into our hearts, as John 14:15 promises. “If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.”