Wednesday, November 01, 2006

[twbowes-devotions] Devotion: The Peace of a Clear Conscience

The Peace of a Clear Conscience

A Maskil of David. Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah. I acknowledged my sin to You, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD," and You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah. -- Psalm 32:1-5; English Standard Version

I have messed up so many times that I could give a million examples, but this one sticks out in my mind (along with a few other particular things). A teenager wrote me a letter and basically told me that I was arrogant and self-righteous. I got mad! I read that letter at least ten times. Finally, the truth of what that teenager was saying sunk into my thick head and hard heart. But, instead of admitting it openly to the teenager or to the Lord (most importantly), I tried to avoid it, justify it and deny it. Finally, as I was lying in bed one night unable to sleep, I confessed before the Lord how arrogant I had been. It was like a load of bricks was taken off of my shoulders. I felt so thoroughly forgiven by God that I arose from my bed and wrote that teenager a letter telling them exactly how right they were. I felt so empowered and humbled by the Lord's forgiveness that I knew I wanted my friend's forgiveness too. For the record, if my friend, Tiffany, reads this, I never delivered the letter; I told her in person.

Unconfessed sin is a canker to the spirit of a person. That is the clear and simple point of this devotion. We cannot live peacefully with unconfessed sin.

Am I perfect? Not by a long shot. However, there are three things that I want to do each day to ensure that I have peace in my life. Number one, I want to seek the presence of my Father. Number two, I want to serve Him with everything in me; I don't want to ever look back and feel like "I wish I had _________." Number three, and I have learned this the hard way over and over again, I do not want to have something unconfessed between me and my Lord.

I mean, c'mon, it's not like He doesn't know! What we do when we don't confess our sin before the Lord is we disagree with Him. If confession means "to agree" then it makes sense that lack of confession of sin means to disagree with God. The Greek word for confess (as in 1 John 1:9) means EXACTLY that -- to "agree" (or to "acknowledge"; or to "profess" -- Strong's #G3670). The Hebrew word, as in Psalm 32:5, means to hold out before Him our wrong (Strong's #3034). In both cases confession means to agree with God that we have sinned by honestly putting our cards out on the table.

Another of the inflections of the Hebrew word in Psalm 32:5 is to "cast away" our sin, meaning that, not only do we PROFESS it, but we FORSAKE it as well. Another inflection of that Hebrew word is that we "bemoan" that sin -- meaning we have godly sorrow over it.

Plainly speaking, when we make honest confession to the Lord it is as if we are saying, "God, You are right. I have ___________. I agree with You and I don't want to be like that. Please forgive me!"

It can be an attitude. I can be an action (mostly driven by an attitude of some sort, so we always need to get to the root). It can be a thought. The point for today is not what it is; rather, the point is to deal with it honestly and openly that we might receive forgiveness and peace from the Lord.

There is an old saying: "Confession is good for the soul." It's true. It's good for the soul of an individual. It's good for the soul of a church. It's good for the soul of a family. When we deal honestly with the Lord, He deals mercifully with us.

When we hold back we become eaten-up with what's inside of us. It becomes a weight and a burden. Often, and ALL of us are guilty at times, we suppress, deny, try to justify or try to cover up our sin. David, in writing this Psalm, said that his "bones wasted away" when he kept silent. Isn't that an awful picture? David was basically saying (my paraphrase), "It was killing me to hold back from You, Lord! I was getting old before my time!"

There is nothing better on this earth than peace with the Lord. A clear conscience is there for any and all who will confess and cast away their sin(s). David testified that when he confessed God "forgave". God is good like that! It's a restored relationship; nothing less.

Are you burdened by some unconfessed sin today? Agree with God. Cast it away. Be restored. Know peace. Be renewed.

Grace and peace to you from God the Father and Jesus the Son,
Tim Bowes
Romans 12:1-2

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