Confidence Toward God
by Heshimu Colar
(I John 3:21) "Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God." This verse is not saying that our sins should compel us to throw our hands in the air and despair of grace. However, we are being taught that we cannot have confidence before God in prayer (or anything else) until we've freshly obeyed the Gospel. "And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as he gave us commandment (I John 3:23)."
"My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (I John 2:1)." Let us despise our sin, recognize that the believer's sins are the old man and not the new, war against our sin, and if you sin, then look again to the Risen Christ. "For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us (Heb 9:24)." (I John 2:2) "And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." Look afresh into the merit of His blood. It is foolish to even contemplate that the Lord Jesus did not actually put away sin, transgression, and iniquity when He died. He is the propitiation, or the blood bought reason that God can show mercy without any compromise to His holiness. Currently, where I live, there is a larger than normal population of aggressive yellow jacket hornets. Picnickers are cautioned to set aside a piece of meat to occupy the hornets away from the gathering of the people. Yet, the promise of acceptance to all comers through the righteousness and blood of Jesus Christ is the only Gospel that unburdens a helplessly guilty sinner.
Don't reason that your guilty soul needs to add anything to the merit of Christ's blood. Instead, poor burdened sinner, know that God places no obstacles between you and assurance in Jesus Christ. He, by Himself, without any merit in any man, is the propitiation. His sovereign election and predestination never bars the needy sinner. And, while His holiness rejects all that add anything to Christ's blood, the guilty and vile (any man who sins) is bidden to receive His grace. It is in the mystery and wideness of the Gospel, that everyone needing an Advocate and Propitiation (including you who've sinned against His Light) has a right to full assurance of acceptance with God through faith in Christ's blood. He says, "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out (John 6:37)."
My brethren, painful experience teaches you to sin not. Our hideous and inexcusable sins not only hurt others, but they also cloud us from seeing the righteousness of Jesus Christ, which is unto us. Don't turn from Christ, and don't grieve the Holy Spirit by forgetting that we're called to love. Yet, too many people see their own lack of love and try to make up for what they haven't done by doing something else. But, "… the law entered, that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound." The Law of God afflicts the conscience, not to compel us to do more, but to show us our desperate need of Jesus Christ, so that we might be justified by faith with feeling or doing anything (Gal 3:22-26). Now that faith is come, not only is your conscience delivered from the condemnation, but also, being justified, you walk in the freshness of faith and love.
Our glorious God never motivates His people unto good works by fear and guilt. "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love (I John 4:18)." The Spirit of Truth, bearing witness to the propitiating love of Christ for my unworthy soul, delivers every believer into confidence before our great God. So, we've gone from guilt to assurance through the faith that works by love. "Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight (I John 3:21-22)."
Don't fall into the trap of thinking that you need to separately add works unto your faith. Every sincere look at Jesus Christ produces love (Gal 5:6). Man-centered religion separates faith from good works, but God speaks of the "… work of faith, and labor of love… (I Thess 1:3)." Man says, Look to Christ for justification, and look to the law (ultimately yourself) for sanctification. God teaches us that looking to Christ for righteousness is holiness.
As believers, we are responsible to "… walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God (Col 1:10)."; and nothing gives us more pleasure than the knowledge of His love producing love in us. And, either salvation is all of grace through looking to Christ alone, or we must throw away the bible, because it plainly declares, "… Christ is all." If you've experienced the Gospel, then you know what it means to be so thankful for perfection in Jesus Christ that you freely love. However, you that cannot comprehend the power of faith, you must not speak ill of Christ's glory simply because grace doesn't reign in your heart. I warn you and encourage you to diligently LOOK into His perfection until His righteousness and propitiation is revealed as the only obedience and motive for obedience that God will accept. No, I can't reason the Gospel from these pages into your heart. But, when God speaks to you from out of His law, and condemns you in your own sight as totally helpless and totally unworthy of help, then you'll understand how just looking to Him, and only looking to Him, makes us love.