Have you ever read the prayer that says "Dear Lord, so far I've done all right. I haven't gossiped, haven't lost my temper, haven't been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish, or overindulgent. I'm really glad about that, but in a few minutes, God, I'm going to get out of bed. And from then on, I'm going to need a lot more help.”? It’s cute but it’s not funny. It’s a description of what life is like when we live out of our old identity and, believe me, there’s no fun in that.
It also indicates that the Holy Spirit helps us to live out of our sinner’s identity but why would He? It no longer exists! He only sees our new self and that is who He helps - the newly created saint.
This much read prayer assumes that our days will be filled with sin, as if a daily inevitability of sinning is normal for Christians but, is this assumption correct?
Let’s look at what the apostle says in our readings today. In 1 John 1:9 he talks about confessing (acknowledging) our sins so that we can receive the promised forgiveness and cleansing available through the Blood of Jesus. Verse 10 states that if we say we have not sinned and, therefore, have no need of the Blood of Jesus, we make God a liar because we all need the Blood of Jesus. These verses point to an expectation that we’ll sin on our Christian walk because in His love, God has made a way to forgive and to cleanse us from it but, is it normal?
In 1 John 2:1 the apostle says: “I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One." Notice that he uses the word “if” and not “when”. John’s clear hope is that his readers won’t sin but he acknowledges that it is still possible. In his thinking, sinning is not a daily inevitability and, therefore, not normal behaviour for believers. As I said before, we are saints who occasionally sin, not sinners who occasionally saint. A real live example often helps us to grasp a principle more fully than just reading about it so tomorrow I’ll share testimony of how putting this knowledge into practice helped me recently.