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Christian Devotional by Pastor Cecil Thompson

Cecil Thompson

1 John 1:8-10

"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. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives."

Why is it so hard to confess our sins? Where does sin originate? What do we do when we are aware of sin in our life? What determines which of our actions are sinful?

Without fully intending to do so, we often are influenced by traditions of men, even godly men, rather than the infallible Word of God. I want to share two illustrations that demonstrate how easy it is to be carried away by the traditions of men.

We were having a Bible study with several couples in our home. A young man in the group had just personally accepted Christ into his heart. His wife was the daughter of a pastor. She shared with the group her problem of being burdened by the judgments of men rather than God. She said it was so much easier for her husband Rick, because he just did what the Bible said, and that was it. She told of being a teen and her father had moved from one town to a new community where he was to pastor a new church.

The first Sunday evening in the assignment, he made an announcement that he and his family were going to a local cafe for pie and ice cream, and that they would like for others to join them. His announcement hit with a thud. An emergency meeting of the church board was called and he was severely chastised. They could not condone such a thing as going to a cafe on Sunday! Where did they come up with such silliness? It had been some former practice that became church law. Traditions of men.

I heard another fascinating story about the Church of the Holy Radiator. A young priest had assumed his first parish, filling the shoes of an older priest who had served for 30 years. He knocked himself out trying to meet the needs of his congregation, but there was obvious discontent. He spoke to the church custodian and asked what he was doing wrong? The man told the young priest it was the way he served communion. He was flabbergasted. He was doing it just as he had been taught in every detail! He pressed for more information and the custodian said that the problem was that he was not touching the radiator.

The young priest made a frantic call to the older priest he had replaced. The older man asked how things were going and the young priest said that it was not going well and he was almost in the midst of a mutiny. He asked the old priest if he touched the radiator before he passed the cup. "Why yes," he said. "I always did that so I could discharge the static electricity in my hands and not produce a snap when the cup was passed." There it was. Not a part of the ritual, but a part of the tradition that had become "sacred" in the minds of the people being served. We are like that so often.

The problem that many of us face, is sorting out the traditional from what is taught in the Word of God. The Latin term is "Solis Scripturus"---the Word Only. Now this does not mean that we are to neglect patterns of behavior that are wholesome and good, and beneficial, but care must be taken that tradition does not become of equal importance with Scripture.

Now, having that fixed in our minds, what do we do when the conviction of the Holy Spirit shows us that we have violated the Word of God? The answer in our Scripture for today is to confess it. Some may wish to argue and say that God knows all about it anyway, so why confess it. Others may say that their parents had them baptized as a baby, therefore that takes care of everything. BEEEEP!! Wrong!

God's Word says that we all have sinned. Our passage says that if any say they are not sinners they make God a liar. That is strong stuff. It is not just that they are lying to themselves, but they are putting themselves above the written Word of God. They say in effect, that God's Word is wrong. Dangerous business!

It is so much easier to just confess - say we are so very sorry - ask Him to come near and forgive us for the sins we have committed, the sins of not doing what God says we should do, the sins of ATTITUDES, the sins of prejudices, and on and on it goes. It does not matter how large or small the sin, we deal with them in the same manner - confess! You will notice in our Scripture that all we have to do or can do is to confess.

The rest is all God's action. He forgives us all our sins and He purifies us from all our unrighteousness. It is not by doing good in order to deserve it. We can't be that good. Our part begins and ends with digging deep and insuring that the confession is from the inner part of our being, and that all of our sins are confessed. Then we begin walking in newness of life!

Blessings dear hearts. Walk with God today. Trust Him completely and be a blessing.

--- Pastor Cecil


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