What if you did not have to hide your sins? What if you could expose your sins, admitting them to God and one another? These questions and their answers do not have to be hypothetical.
Christians Can Expose Their Sins
As Christians, we really can expose our sins. We do not have to hide them from God or one another, which allows us to honestly evaluate ourselves. When we are freed to honestly examine ourselves, we can evaluate where we are doing poorly and where we are doing well. In other words, we can determine what sins we need to work on, so we can knock down those strongholds in our lives.
Christians are Saved by Grace
The reason we can honestly evaluate ourselves is due to the nature of our salvation. As Christians, our works do not save us, merit us favor with God, nor keep us in a saving relationship with God. As Christians, we are saved by God’s grace. God’s grace is given to us as a free gift. We do not have earn it, repay it, or work to keep it.
Christians have Jesus as their Advocate
Along with God’s grace, we, as Christians, also have Jesus as our Advocate. 1 John 2:1-2 tells us that those who are truly saved have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous One.
Advocate carries the idea of someone coming alongside of you and pleading your case for you. When Jesus acts as our Advocate, He comes alongside of us, and He reminds the Father of His person (He is the Christ and the Righteous One) and His work (His death on the cross for our sins, taking God’s wrath on Himself, removing our defiling sin, and imputing His righteousness to us) and our profession of Him as our Lord and Savior, when we sin. When we realize this, we are free to evaluate ourselves.
Think about it like this:
Say you are called into your bosses, principal’s, or teacher’s office and asked to evaluate your work. To tell them where you believe you are doing well, and where you believe you are doing poorly.
Before they ask you to evaluate yourself, they say, “No matter what you tell me, your shortcomings will not be held against you. You will not be fired, demoted, or given a bad grade.”
When you hear those words, that you are going to be accepted no matter what you tell them, no matter how poorly you have done in your work, you are at that moment freed to honestly evaluate yourself. You don’t have to feel like you need to hide anything from them. You can lay it all out on the table, honestly evaluating what you have done, so that you will know what areas still need work.
Because we are accepted by God based on Jesus’ work, we don’t have to hide our short comings from God either. Rather we can honestly evaluate ourselves to see where we are doing well and where we are doing poorly, to see what sins and idols we are still allowing to affect our lives, so we can work to remove them.
A Cover Up
However, when we do not realize God’s grace is free and that Jesus stands as our Advocate when we sin, then we will never truly be free to examine ourselves. When we are not free to honestly examine ourselves, we will cover our sins up, thinking maybe God will not notice.
The reasons we cover our sins up are many, but most fall into a misunderstanding of God’s grace, which leads to people thinking we have to earn, repay, or keep our salvation through our works. If our works are subpar, then earning, repaying, or keeping our salvation is not going so well. Which means, instead of honestly looking at ourselves, we make things out to be better than they really are.
You see, based on Jesus’ work, we are always accepted by God no matter what we have done in the past, what we do right now, and what we are going to do in the future. That does not give us a license to sin. Rather it gives us a license to honestly evaluate ourselves, and to confess our sins to one another.
If we do not see ourselves as accepted by God through Jesus’ work alone, then we will never be freed to evaluate ourselves. And we will never truly grow in holiness. But when we have a right view of our salvation, we can honestly evaluate our sin and deal with it in a healthy manner. As we deal with our sin, we become more holy.