Summary: How a Christian chooses to deal with sin will determine whether or not they remain in fellowship with God.
As we study the Bible, we find that God's people sometimes committed sin.
David, for example, is described as "a man after God's own heart," yet he committed sin, and brought heartache to his life.
Moses, the great leader of God's people, wasn't allowed, because of sin, to go into the promised land.
Simon Peter, who saw 3,000 people saved at Pentecost, once denied knowing Jesus.
All this goes to show that even in the Bible, God's people aren't perfect, just forgiven. The sins committed by these I just mentioned did not disturb the status of their relationship with God, but they did affect the status of their fellowship with God.
"The Bible teaches that all sin, past, present, and future, is forgiven through faith in the atoning death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Eternal destiny is sealed and set at the moment of justifying faith. Our depth of intimacy, fellowship and joy is certainly affected
adversely when we fail to confess and repent of daily sin. But our eternal destiny has already and forever been determined. We must recognize the distinction between the eternal forgiveness of the guilt of sin that is ours the moment we embrace Jesus in faith, and that temporal forgiveness of sin we receive on a daily basis that enables us to experience the happiness of intimacy with the Father."
- Sam Storms
Whatever other consequences may occur in connection with sin, the first and foremost is always a breaking of fellowship with God.
If one does not know what to do when they, as a Christian, commit sin, then they will remain outside of fellowship with God and the
consequences of their sin will multiply. While the immediate consequence of sin is broken fellowship with God, if sin is not dealt with properly, a "snow ball" effect will occur, where undealt with sin will lead to more and more sin, resulting in fellowship with God
remaining broken and even more adverse consequences being added to one's life.
How do we deal with sin in our life? 3 choices are mentioned here, only one of which is the right choice.
1. We can condone our sin - 1:8
If our sin is "small" in our eyes in comparison with something done by another person, we tend to say, "Oh, it's nothing." But when undealt with, a lot of little "nothings," can add up to one big "something!"
Exxon had to pay a $1 billion settlement resulting from the nation's worst oil spill. when the Exxon Valdez dumped 11 million gallons of oil in Prince William sound, Alaska, the world watched in horror. What few of us realize, however, is how small that mess was compared to the environmental disaster we recreate each year in the U.S. American "do-it-your-selfers" annually dump 193 million gallons of motor oil in storm drains and trash receptacles.
The fact is, that sin, however big or small we may perceive it to be, is still something which damages our fellowship with God, and if left
unchecked, will eventually destroy our lives!
For eight years Sally had been the Romero family pet. When they got her, she was only one foot long. But Sally grew until eventually she reached 11 & l/2 feet and weighed 80 pounds. Then one day, Sally, a Burmese python, turned on 15 year old Derek, strangling the teenager until he died of suffocation. The Associated Press quoted the police as saying that the snake was "quite aggressive, hissing and reacting" when they arrived to investigate.
Sin that seems small and harmless will grow. We cannot afford to condone our sin.
2. We can conceal our sin - 1:10
Sometimes, instead of trying to condone their sin, Christians are tempted to try and conceal their sin.
They somehow convince themselves that if they conceal their sin from others, they have succeeded in concealing it from God. But such is not the case!
A young man who took his German shepherd and yellow Labrador Retriever with him to get farm supplies. He parked his pickup a block from the store and told his dogs to stay in the truck until he got back. He was in the store-longer than he expected. As he left, a woman asked him if the two dogs that had been running in and out of the next building were his. He rushed back to his pickup, and there sat his dogs, tails wagging, the picture of perfect innocence - except they were sitting in the wrong pickup!
That's how foolish we are when we try to conceal sin from God!
There's a better choice to make.
3. We can confess our sin - 1:9; 2:1-2
There are two things John tells us here about the forgiveness of sin that is available to us from God.