“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.” (1 John 1:8-10 NIV)
Truth and deception are in opposition with one another. If we know truth, we have no need to deceive others or ourselves. The biggest issue with some people in acknowledging truth is their limited perception of what truth is. People who have not had opportunity to experience much of life are limited by their experience to understand greater truths experienced by people who have had opportunity to broader ranges of experiences.
Truth about differences is cultural knowledge is limited to one’s experience with different cultures.
Truth about religious observations is limited to one’s experience with various groups of people and how they worship God.
Truth about sin is limited to one’s experience and knowledge of what God says is sin. If a person has no knowledge of what God says is sin, they can deceive themselves into believing they have never sinned and since they have never sinned (in their minds), they do not confess it or admit and therefore cannot never be forgiven–by God.
I have often readily discussed my “BC” time (before knowledge of Christ) and the fact that I lived in ignorance as to how God wanted me to live. Once I learned--by reading the Bible and seeking God’s wisdom to understand what I read, I had to own up to all the stuff I had done, out of ignorance–and seek His forgiveness. Now, that I know, I’m still not perfect, but I recognize my shortcomings and flaws and allow His correction to guide my tongue and my actions. This is the place where God wants all of His children to be–receptive to correction when we admit we are wrong. But if we never acknowledge being wrong, we close the door to correction and cannot receive the benefit of His love–through forgiveness.
Someone recently told me they did not have a “BC” time, but they have always followed God. There were a number of questions that rose in my mind with that statement. Did they truly know God? Did they understand salvation and repentance? Did they understand the purpose of the work on the cross? And of course, I thought, “So, you’ve been perfect all your life!” Of course that thought was sarcasm since I know there are no perfect people walking the earth. But if they think they have no “Before Christ” time, they have deluded themselves into thinking they are perfect.
Here’s the thing for me. We are not born “saved” and until we recognize our sinful state and repent, we cannot be saved. Neither are we born “a denomination,” but rather born into families who observe specific religious practices. We are not born, Baptist or Catholic, or Lutheran or Pentecostal, or any other religion. We are born into families who expose us to the tenets of specific practices and we choose (at some point in time) to either join those practices or reject them.
Then there are some families who have never acknowledged the need to involve themselves in any religious practice and so people are born into families who have no exposure and sometimes see no need for such exposure. Never having the opportunity to understand God’s Truth is no excuse for living outside of His Will; especially when His Truth is being promoted by every true Believer using every venue they have available to them.
When people claim to not believe God, it is not because they have not been exposed to His Truth, but because they have chosen to reject His Truth and that is usually because of negative experiences with people who were not living God’s Truth.
Now, through this venue and many others like it–we all have access to Truth as God determines Truth. Having a relationship with God means we understand His Truth is truth and we have all sinned and need to confess it in order to be forgiven. If we say we have not sinned, we lie and make God’s Word of no effect and make the work on the Cross, pointless. God is not a man that He should lie and we are not so perfect that we have not sinned. If we think we have not sinned, we are only fooling ourselves because God sees and knows all we have ever done.
Therefore, we must acknowledge the sin, confess it to God, repent and be forgiven by God. We do not have to tell our business to other people, but we must acknowledge our shortcomings and flaws and know God’s love is enough to keep us from falling into the abyss when we confess our sins to Him.