1 John 1:9, NIV
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
We’ve been doing some work recently on our house. In order to relocate the tank where our heating oil is stored, it became necessary to cut down some trees along the edge of our garden. That was fine until we realised that the trees had been screening an area of white metal sheeting that now looked completely out of place in the garden.
The solution was obvious and simple – or so I thought! I went to our local builder’s merchant and came back with a tin of dark green paint. I happily applied the paint to the white metal and was delighted with the immediate outcome – the colour was just right. But shortly afterwards it began to rain heavily and then I got quite a shock. For the paint that looked so good initially was now peeling off in strips and clearly had not been able to stick to the white metal sheeting. It was obviously completely unsuitable for covering this particular surface.
As I looked at the sorry sight, God began to speak to me about the deceptive heart of man and of how we can so easily try to cover our own sin in different and completely unsuitable ways. For example, we can try justifying our ungodly behaviour – first to ourselves and then to others. Then, people can deny what they’ve done and tell lies to try and divert people’s attention away from the truth. Or, even worse, they can sin even more grievously in order to try and cover up what they’ve done –as King David did when he committed murder to try and prevent his adultery from being exposed (2 Samuel 11). There are many ways in which we can try and cover our sin so that others don’t know what we’ve done.
The green covering I put on the white metal did not work because it was the wrong sort of paint for that particular surface. Our attempts to cover our own sin are a bit like the green paint – totally wrong for the job in hand! There is only one way that sin can truly be dealt with and that’s God’s way – through honest and humble confession. And that means first coming into agreement with what God thinks about our sin and then humbly and honestly owning the reality of what we have done and asking Him for forgiveness.
In our Scripture for today God promises not just to cover our sin, but to cleanse and purify us. This means that, amazingly, there is nothing left to cover! We have then, as Scripture says, been washed clean. When Jesus died and his blood was shed, he was paying the price for our sin. When we are truly in Christ and our sins have been forgiven, there is nothing left to cover up. This is the heart of the Gospel – the glorious good news that sets the captives free.
Prayer: Please forgive me, Lord, for the times when I have tried to cover up my sin in my way. And help me, Lord, to come humbly before You and deal with my sin in Your way – so that I may be cleansed from ALL unrighteousness and be freed from the enemy’s controls on my life. I am so grateful, Jesus, for what You did for me on the cross. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.