Many children are familiar with a “time out” This is used as a punishment to remove the person from something they would like to do and, help them see the behavior results in negative consequences such as missing out.
As a follower of Jesus, I want to do what is right and good. I read the Bible and talk with God. I make decisions to do right and work at being self-disciplined. I work at training myself to be whom God wants me to be. But like you, and everyone else around us, I sin. There are times when I allow the sinful nature in me to take over, where I do something that is clearly against God’s best for us.
Spring brings us to the holiday of Easter. This is much more than bunnies and eggs. This is the annual celebration of Jesus’ death and resurrection for all people. Because of our sin, we deserved to die. That was how God created things. And then He arranged for a way out. God sent His own son to die in our place – to take our penalty for us. Good Friday is the reminder that Jesus, the only perfect human, died in our place. Easter is the celebration that when His friends went to the tomb, Jesus wasn’t there. He was alive! This resurrection gave Him the right to offer forgiveness and new life to all who believe in Him.
When we put our faith in Jesus, when we acknowledge our sin and repent of it, confessing it to God, Jesus forgives us. And we enter into a relationship with God! God now sees Jesus’ righteousness in us!
So, yes, we sin from time to time. Now what?
Often, we have this feeling that we need to put ourselves in a time-out. We feel need to wallow in our guilt for awhile before we can be in right relationship with God again. I don’t think I’m the only one who has felt this way. We think that to be sorry for our sin means we have to show it by spending time in our sorrowful guilt-ridden state.
But that is straight from the devil!
God does not want us to live in a state of guilt. Jesus has paid for our sin. God arranged this plan because He did not want us to live in guilt but to live in the joy of freedom. If Jesus already died on the cross, He already paid for that sin. The sin you are wallowing in is already paid for, already forgiven!
When we sin, we can immediately come to Jesus with it. As soon as the Holy Spirit reminds you that what you did was wrong, you can use that conviction to repent. The Holy Spirit is not pointing out your sin in order for you to feel bad, but in order for you to repent. So confess your sin, stop doing it, and get back on your feet.
Some of you might remember that old commercial that had this one iconic line: “Help I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” Well we may have fallen, but the Holy Spirit is already showing us we can get back up. Jesus is already reaching out a hand to lift us to our feet.
1 John 1: 9 tells us, “But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins an to cleanse us from all wickedness”.
This does not tell us we have to take a time-out. It says, confess and receive forgiveness. Receive the cleansing from Jesus, and get back on your feet. Serve Jesus again!
Yes, we sin, but we can confess and receive forgiveness immediately. We are then cleansed and ready to be of use to God again. This is the only way that I, and any other pastor, can stand up every Sunday and preach a sermon. It is because Jesus forgives all my sin of that week and that morning. He cleanses immediately so I can preach with confidence.
Do not allow Satan to put you in a time-out. Receive Christ Jesus’ cleansing forgiveness and get on your feet immediately, serving God again.
Keep looking up,