Friday, November 12, 2010

The Weight of Unconfessed Sin - Brad Furges

Hey friends, Check out this article...fits in well with our Fight Club discussion last Sunday. I know it is a little long, but I encourage you to read the entire thing. It's great.

For weeks after January 18, 2004, 21-year-old Dan Leach was able to cover up and suppress the truth of what he’d done. Most likely he initially felt relieved that his “little problem” was behind him forever. But one can only imagine the inner turmoil and guilt that eventually began to press down upon him after he methodically and meticulously carried out the murder of his 19-year-old girlfriend. He believed she was pregnant with his child and made her death appear to be a suicide according to investigators in the case.

Rather than take responsibility for his actions and prepare to become a dad, he chose to blot out two lives simultaneously so that he could be free of his burden and any embarrassment.

Fortunately, almost two months later, Texas authorities credited Mel Gibson’s movie The Passion of the Christ with helping to solve this crime. After going to see the film, Leach came under heavy conviction and desperately “wanted redemption,” as he reportedly stated to a close friend and pastor. So, overwhelmed by the message of the movie, the young man saw no way out other than to immediately confess what he’d done. He made a decision to turn himself in and face the consequences rather than continue to live another day under the weight of this brutal crime.

How many professing believers today standing in the pulpit, singing on the worship team, or sitting out in the pews lug around a host of unconfessed sins? True, they may not have committed such a heinous act as the murder mentioned above, but are their hearts any different? Week after week they assemble together to exalt God, but they are weighed down, their spiritual backpacks crammed with all sorts of idols and other hidden sins. Pride. Rebellion. Unbelief. Bitterness. Anger. Unforgiveness. Laziness. Lying. Greed. Envy. Gluttony. Gossip. Lust. Adultery. Fornication. Homosexuality. Pornography. Masturbation. Drunkenness. Substance abuse.

Any of these works of the flesh can rob a soul of his inheritance in God’s Kingdom (Gal. 5:19-21). So why aren’t many who profess the name of Christ quick to confess their sins and turn away from them?

Some of these “Christians” have actually become accustomed to carrying around their pet sins, the “little foxes” which have nearly devastated their vineyards (Song of Solomon 2:15).  Sadly, these religious actors have become so smug and content with their walk with the Lord and their lives in this world that their extreme complacency shields them from the gentle, convicting voice of the Holy Spirit warning them to get their sin out. Obviously quite satisfied with their current spiritual progress, they don’t see their need to repent, nor do they even detect the weight of sin which has stagnated their walk with the Lord. They comprise a congregation of backslidden and lukewarm professors.

Another group simply justifies themselves and minimizes their sins, insisting that they are not as bad as their neighbor. When they come under conviction, they are quick to say to themselves, “I don’t get drunk. I don’t do drugs. I’m not out sleeping around. I’m a good person. I love God, and He understands that no one is perfect.” Just like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day, outwardly they are close to being squeaky clean. But the truth of the matter is that they are still very much given over to sinful attitudes in their hearts—the secret place where only God sees. Because of this heavy load, their spiritual growth is retarded, and their hunger and passion for God is practically on Empty. As long as the bar is raised no higher than their present level of mediocrity, they won’t ever achieve the spiritual momentum to soar like eagles (Isa. 40:31). Nor will they ever produce any substantial fruit for God’s Kingdom or experience the peace and abundant life in Jesus that God has for them.

A third group of desperate souls weighed down by sin are those who hide behind a mask of hypocrisy. Like King David after his adulterous affair and murderous plot (Ps. 32:3-4), they are under heavy conviction but are unwilling to bring their sin into the light. Needless to say, they are most miserable! While God’s hand presses down upon them, somehow they manage to erect thick self-protective walls to keep others from knowing who they really are. To further avoid exposure, they strive to keep up a good “Christian image” outwardly—while carrying their hidden sin around with them. They are so loaded down that they aren’t able to run the race to which they were called.

Despite their differences, each of the three groups described above are stuck spiritually under the weight of their unconfessed sin. “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.” (Prov. 28:13)

In each case there is only one way of escape: Repentance. Sinners can bring their heavy burdens to the One who bore their sins on the old rugged cross. Jesus Christ, our blessed Savior, took upon Himself the sin of the whole world. Imagine the tremendous weight He joyfully bore for wretched sinners like us so that sin would no longer have dominion over us (Rom. 6:14)!

True repentance involves more than admitting one’s guilt. It involves brokenness and godly sorrow leading to a willful turning away from sin to obey and please the Lord (2 Cor. 7:10). Because of the finished work of Christ at Calvary, every weight can be lifted off of a repentant sinner once such a genuine confession before God has been made.
“If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” (1 John 1:8-10)

To avoid becoming weighed down by sin, our daily prayer should be, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way” (Psalm 139: 23-24).

Secondly, spending time in the Word of God each day, studying and meditating on Truth, will make us available to the conviction of the Holy Spirit and keep us in the light (Psalm 119:105). It will direct us to lay “aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save [our] souls” and will help us to be doers of the Word, rather than mere hearers who only go into spiritual delusion (James 1:21-22).

Lastly, whenever the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin either through the Word, through a sermon, or directly through a person, we must be quick to repent. That is, we agree with God that the sin He’s exposed in our heart is sin, and then we immediately turn away from it back to our Redeemer.

No Christian need go one day longer bearing the guilt and shame of unconfessed sin. They need only bring their sin out into the light, nail it on the Cross, and get back on the Straight and Narrow. They will soon discover the joyous liberty that Christ purchased on Calvary.

Brad Furges
is the Director of Men’s Counseling at Pure Life Ministries. Brad holds a B.A. from the University of Virginia (UVa) and an M.A. in Biblical Counseling from Master’s Divinity School.

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