We all screw up and sin…in relationships, with our families, at work, on the weekends, on weekdays, all the time, repeatedly. Sin causes us to be “unfaithful”. All throughout the Bible, sin is described as faithlessness toward or a breaking of faith with God. The posture of sin is the same posture unfaithfulness in any relationship…turning our back on. Sin is TURNING OUR BACK on God himself…thus separating ourselves from Him.
Sin doesn’t make us bad…it makes us dead.
Ezra 10 describes one way that the exiles who returned to Israel had been unfaithful…they broke the Old Testament law of marrying people who were not Jews. Of the thousands of Jews, there were only about 100 Jews sinning in this way. BUT, that small amount was affecting the entire community of people. ALL were accountable to it, and ALL become responsible for it.
Ezra, one of their leaders, instructed them with these words: “Now honor the Lord, the God of your ancestors, and do his will. Separate yourselves from the peoples around you and from your foreign wives.” (Ezra 10:11). Ezra called the people to repent, to prove by their actions that they were sorry for their unfaithfulness towards God in this way. “I’m sorry” means a lot…but ONLY when proven by our actions.
Whereas SIN is posture of TURNING OUR BACK on God, REPENTANCE is posture of TURNING BACK TOWARDS God…NOT with words but with ACTION.
The Jews recognized that they had sinned and TURNED THEIR BACKS on God. They said “I’m sorry” and confessed, and they proved they were sorry by repenting and taking a step to TURN BACK TOWARDS God. They took the drastic step of separating from their foreign wives. Afterwards, things begin to change. Their relationship with God was restored and His presence was with them!
Confession without repentance changes nothing. Confession with repentance changes everything.
Many of us say we want to be difference makers. If we’re ever going to be difference makers, we need to know what to do with sin. The truth is, sin can sabotage us in being difference makers. We are going to sin A LOT! The good news is, sin doesn’t have to sabotage you. Difference Makers aren’t sinless, they just know how to handle sin WHEN they do.
Difference Makers handle sin by:
- Recognizing sinRecognizing the bigness of sin, what it is, and what it does. Recognizing that sin is TURNING OUR BACK on God himself…thus separating ourselves from Him, and recognizing that sin prevents us from growing with God, connecting with others, and impacting others. When difference makers recognize sin, they know they must “be killing sin or sin be killing them”.
- Confessing sinConfessing they have TURNED THEIR BACK on God by admitting what they have done, owning it, and being truly sorrowful for it. With confession, we declare that we want to TURN FROM IT. Without confession, your sin will affect you, others, your relationship with God, and ultimately, you being a difference maker in the world.
- Repenting of sinRepentance is the ACTION of TURNING BACK TOWARDS Jesus and His will. Repentance happens ONE step at a time. One step at a time is what it means to follow Jesus’ leadership.
- We enter a relationship with Jesus through confessing that we have turned our back on Him in all parts of our lives, then asking Jesus to be the Forgiver of our sins and Leader of our lives. That initial confession of faith is how we initially repent and “turn back towards” Jesus. From that point forward, we learn to follow his leadership...ONE step at a time.
- We’ll all screw up even after we’ve entered a relationship with Jesus. But once we’ve put our faith in Him, forgiveness is no longer an issue. We’re forgiven! Rather, growing in our relationship with Jesus is the issue, so that we are transformed. When we sin, we must confess it and then repent…taking ONE STEP TOWARD HIM. Sometimes that means small steps, and sometimes that means drastic steps. Regardless, steps of transformation always lead to repentance.
Is there a sin in your life that you have recognized? What is the one step you need to take today?
Have you put your faith in Jesus by recognizing your sin, confessing it by asking Jesus to be the Forgiver of your sins, and turning toward Jesus in repentance by asking Him to be the Leader of your life?
Will you be a Difference Maker in the way you handle sin…recognizing it, confessing it, and repenting of it?