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In last weekís message I gave a definition of sin that went sort of like this: the deliberate disobeying of a known law of God. You know what Godís Word says about something and you go against it, either doing something you know you shouldnít do or not doing something you know you should do, according to Godís Word.
And I said that if a person is living a life that is marked by being full of the Spirit, we can go for long lengths of time without deliberate sin.
Today I want to expand that definition a bit.
Basically I want to include not just the known disobedience, but also the unknown disobediences.
In other words, it is possible to break Godís laws and not know it. And when we become aware of it, we need to deal with it.
In the Old Testament laws God said that if a person unknowingly commits a sin, he is still guilty. And when he found out, he needed to offer the sacrifice or the make the right restitution.
There are times when I have sinned against someone and I didnít know it at the time. But I was still guilty. And when it came to my attention, I had an obligation to do all I could to make it right.
So my definition of sin for today can be boiled down to this: whatever goes against the Word of God, whether we know it or not at the time. Got it?
The point of this passage here is that we have access to Godís continued forgiving work in our lives as we continue to grow in our relationship with Christ.
Letís look a bit more closely at a couple concepts in this verse: confession and forgiveness.
Confession simply means that youíre agreeing with God that what youíve done is sin.
He already knows youíve done it. So itís not like youíre coming to God saying, ďOkay God, hereís what I did,Ē and Godís like, ďNo way! I had no idea! Say it isnít so!Ē
He knows. But He wants to hear from you that YOU know itís sin.
And He wants you to confess it to Him. I grew up Catholic, and I was told that if I confessed to the priest, then the priest would forgive me on Godís behalf.
But God says we need to confess it to Him directly.
See, I can tell you about Godís forgiveness, but I canít forgive you for God. He does that Himself.
And He does! Isnít that great?
Now God forgiving doesnít mean that you donít need to ask forgiveness of someone else if youíve hurt or sinned against them. You still need to do that.
Thatís another message for another time. But as far as Godís concerned, itís gone.
Forgiveness means that your sin is stricken from the record. It carries the idea of canceling a debt or dismissing the charges against you.
Itís a legal idea that whatever you had against you Ė whether you owed money or had done something to land you in court or jail Ė is now gone.
And folks, weíll never fully understand the power of that idea until we meet Jesus face to face and learn just what forgiveness is and what it cost Him.
The truth of Godís forgiveness is throughout all of Scripture, but let me just read you two passages from the Old Testament:
Psalm 103:8-13 Ė
The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; 10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve or
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