December 15
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” — 1Jn_1:8-9.
TO SIN is to miss the mark! Such is the meaning of the original word.
When the prodigal returned, his first words were; “Father, I have missed the mark.” Are we not always missing the mark, coming short? Sin is negative as well as positive. The Confession of the Church of England and the Shorter Catechism both agree in this: “We have done the things that we ought not; we have left undone the things that we ought to have done.” Sin consists, not only in the positive transgression of the law of God, but in the want of conformity to His Will. It is needful to use this two-pronged fork. If a number of men are on their way to the recruiting-station and the standard is to be exactly six foot. They are all under that height, but the tallest of them glories in the fact that he is a clear two inches above the rest of his fellows. It may be so, but he will be as certainly rejected as the shortest, because even he comes below the standard. You may be better than scores of people in your circle, but you will need Christ’s forgiveness and salvation equally with the worst!
In dealing with sin, therefore, there must be confession. “Do not hide, nor cloak them before the face of your Heavenly Father, but confess them with a patient, meek, and contrite heart.” Do not wait for the hour of evening prayer, nor even for the opportunity of being alone, but in the busy street, in the midst of daily toil, lift up your heart to Christ if you have done wrong, and say: “I have gone astray: seek Thy servant.”
It is not enough to confess to Christ, if you have sinned against another, you must first go and be reconciled to him, and then come and offer your gift at the altar. Confess, and make good! It is not enough to be extraordinarily pleasant, or suggest a solarium; you must definitely ask forgiveness!
When God forgives He forgets (Isa_43:25). As David puts it, and he had reason to know, “He restoreth my soul.” Remember that He delighteth in mercy. He is faithful and just to forgive and cleanse. Through the Sacrifice of Calvary God can be absolutely just, and at the same time the Justifier of them who believe in Jesus.
Heavenly Father, I thank Thee for Thy forgiving, pitying love. I gratefully realise that my sin cannot alter Thy love, though it may dim my enjoyment of it. But I pray Thee to set me free from the love and power of sin, that it may not intercept the light of Thy countenance. AMEN.

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