1 John 1:7-10 KJV “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 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.”
We may not think of confessing our sins as part of walking in the light but it is. I’ve learned over the years not to trust anyone who is never wrong; someone who claims to never sin.
I once had the privilege of studying the Bible with a young man. We’ll call his name Billy. Billy and I studied the Bible for years together. I was a new believer myself. We were very close. Billy started showing signs (or I had just started noticing them) that he was not who he said he was; a Christian. There were bizarre things going on with Billy. But I kept giving him the benefit of the doubt. One day the idea came to me to ask Billy a question. I know now this thought came from the Holy Spirit. While Billy and I were alone the question went like this: “Billy, in all your life, do you ever remember apologizing to anyone? Have you ever told someone, ‘I’m sorry?’ ” Billy looked perplexed for a while. He looked up in the air like he was trying to remember. This went on for about 5 minutes literally! Something inside me said, “Keep quiet, don’t say anything.” Then finally Billy said, “No.”
Can you imagine that? You’re in your late twenties, and not once in your lifetime have you told someone, “I’m sorry,” about anything? Wouldn’t that mean you never thought you were wrong? That was Billy’s problem. Billy was self-righteous. Billy was one of those folks who felt his way was the right way to do everything. He thought he had life figured out at such a young age. Confessing; admitting sins, was not Billy’s thing.
The question I asked him was designed to help Billy see his fault in the hopes of helping him repent. According to the scriptures unless we can confess our sins we are not walking in the light. To believe we have not sinned (and there are many who think this way) proves that God’s word is not really in us. I didn’t know this yet about my friend Billy but that truth would reveal itself later.
I loved Billy like a brother. To make a long story short the Holy Spirit started convicting me strongly about one of my own sins; smoking marijuana, and I decided to quit. I told Billy this. You see Billy and I had come out of the world together (so it seemed). At about the same time we became believers. First I became one then BIlly. We were friends in the world before we became believers. While we were in the world we were heavy weed smokers. After becoming believers we were still heavy weed smokers. You see I tricked myself into believing as long as we did it in moderation God was cool with it. But we never did it in moderation though. So I have to admit guys I smoked pot for years and called myself a Christian. I think I can relate to many Christians who do the same thing today.
I gave myself every excuse in the book to smoke weed. My favorite one was, “God created it. And all of God’s creation is good.” But the spirit one day whispered in my ear, “I also created what you call poison mushrooms, I don’t see you smoking any of those?” The Spirit started convicting me hard regarding this. Scriptures like where God says, ‘that all things are lawful but not all things are beneficial would jump out at me. Romans chapter 13 where it talks about obeying the authorities (government) whipped me. The other passage where it says we must be sober minded troubled me. And the scriptures in proverbs that talk about laziness chastised me because smoking weed started making me lazy and sleep more often. (1 Corinthians 6:12 1 Peter 4:7 5:8 Proverbs 6:6-11 10:4 19:15) Passages like these and many others made it hard for me to keep smoking. Yet I still didn’t stop immediately.
One day very tired of this struggle and scared that if I don’t quit this soon I’m gonna lose my faith and lose my soul I fell down crying like a baby, runny nose and all, sobbing before the Lord. I remember praying to God telling Him, “I’ve tried to quit and I can’t!” (Romans 7:14-25) I begged him to help me crying my eyes out. I now know that moment, that prayer, was a turning point in my life. After that prayer amazingly I got the power to stop! It didn’t all happen in one day though. But the desire for weed just wasn’t there anymore like it was before. I went from smoking everyday to falling short every few years or so. Yep, years would go by without me smoking marijuana. I felt so terrible afterwards and would repent. And years later I fell short again. This has happened a few times years apart. And I can honestly tell you it’s been more than a few years since I’ve last smoked weed, thank God! I hope to never do it again, especially after learning that smoking weed is associated with witchcraft, sorcery, etcetera! WOE! Yes! Don’t believe me? Do your own research. I can honestly say I didn’t know this in the past but I can’t use that excuse now. (Revelation 21:8 22:15) The good news is it’s really true that when we confess our sins and come to God with them he does forgive us, and will cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Back to my friend Billy. As I mentioned earlier when I knew I’d had enough smoking weed I told Billy I was quitting. Billy became angry with me about this. I mentioned to Billy AS MY BROTHER IN CHRIST, “Why would you be mad at me instead of supporting me as a brother?” Billy quickly said, “I never said I was your brother!” WOE! Stop the press! That statement blew me away. I couldn’t believe my ears. Me and this guy had studied the Bible for years together, prayed together, did everything together, talked about God all the time, and now because I decided to stop smoking weed, ‘I’m not your brother anymore, and never was?’
Have you figured it out guys? For once in his life Billy was telling the truth: that he was not my brother in Christ, and never was. Billy was planted by Satan all along to weaken me and cause me to lose my faith. The only thing Billy and I had in common was smoking weed, nothing else. It wasn’t until I got more serious about serving God that Billy’s charade was revealed. Needless to say Billy and I separated. But before our separation the Holy Spirit had also revealed to me that Billy had plans to harm others in our small church including a child. Billy was confronted with this knowledge and had to admit that, “Yes,” he did have plans to hurt the child. At that moment Billy really made me sick! And only the Lord Jesus Himself kept me from harming Billy. You see, the child that Billy had plans to harm was my son.
Billy reminds me of Balaam the male witch that tried to put spells/curses on the Israelites but could not. Yet he succeeded in enticing Israel to sin which caused God Himself to punish them. (2 Peter 2:15 Jude 1:11 Revelation 2:14) Is there a Billy in your life? Hmmmm.
Family of believers be wary of folks who say they are Christians but have never truly repented yet. These people are arrogant and are never wrong. They can not confess their sins. They are lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. God’s word says to stay away from them. (2 Timothy 3:1-5) They are not walking in the light and God’s word is not in them 1 John 1:10 says.
1 John 1:10 NET “If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar and his word is not in us.”
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