Karen Hancock's Blog, page 3
July 30, 2013
Quigley doing “Show me belly”
“Show me belly” is one of my favorite Quigley tricks! He so cute! We have been working on saying grace before he eats and he’s doing well.
But that’s just fun stuff. What I really want is for him to learn to go to a place in the living room when someone knocks on the door and to lie down there and stay. As opposed to jumping all around and on the hapless guest who enters. He weighs almost 90 pounds so having him jump on people in exuberant abandon is not a pleasant experience.
So we’ve been working on it, It’s not coming easily, especially not getting him to go to the particular spot I wished him to go to. Remembering there is a “trick” called “going to a mark” I searched the internet and came up with the following video by Zac George: How To Teach Your Dog to Go to a Spot.
Zac’s very enthusiastic and his dog is very quick and attentive and energetic — one of those cattle herding dogs that are smart and bred to work well with people, making frequent eye contact– as opposed to hurling themselves headlong into the woods and across the hills on a scent trail, bellowing all the while like hounds were bred to do. (They actually have a contest of who can jump up on the tree and bark the most at coonhound field trials. Quigley has potential to do quite well in that one…)
But I digress… Quig did pretty well with the touch the towel thing that’s taught in the video and we’re moving along on the touch it and lie down part. I thought the video was so entertaining, some of you dog lovers might enjoy it as well…
July 29, 2013
I think I am finally winding down on this subject. This will probably be my last post on the controversy regarding rebound. At least for a while. (Unless the Lord moves me otherwise, of course.)
Anyway, I want to wrap up my contention that 1 John 1:9 is not directed to believers in the sense of something they are to do, but rather it describes something they’ve already done. That is, acknowledge they are sinners in need of a savior and believe in Christ, who then forgives them their sins and cleanses them from all unrighteousness.
Pastor Farley and Lighthouse Bible Church have been on summer vacation the last week or so, and in the interim I’ve gone back through my notes on Pastor Farley’s initial lessons on the matter of not finding evidence in the Bible to support the doctrine of Rebound. This time I looked up every verse, copied many of them down and gave a really careful, step by step look at everything that was said. In some cases I even re-listened to the original message.
I was also moved to read the information in my NAS Open Bible that prefaces each of the books. There I was surprised to learn that the Gospel of John and his three epistles were all written around the same time: about 90 AD. I also discovered there that I John was written with the presumption that its readers would have knowledge of the Gospel of John.
Therefore, I went to the Gospel itself and found that all references to light and darkness that John made there apply to believing in Christ or not believing:
“In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God… In Him was life and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it.” ~ John 1:1,3
Right there John tells us what the “light” is: Jesus.
“[John the Baptist] was not the light but came that he might bear witness of the light. There was the true light which coming into the world, enlightens every man. ~John 1:8,9
Note, the light comes into the darkness; the darkness doesn’t obliterate the light. The movement is one-way.
“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.
“He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.
“For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” ~ John 3:17-21
In John 8:12 we find,
“Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”
In John 9:5
“While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.”
John 11: 9, 10
Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.”
Finally, in ch 12, Jesus is speaking to the Jews, who are arguing with Him, saying,
“We have heard out of the Law that the Christ is to remain forever; and how can You say, “The son of Man must be lifted up. Who is this Son of Man?”
Jesus therefore said to them, “For a little while longer the light is among you. Walk while you have the light, that darkness may not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes. While you have the light, believe in the light, in order that you may become sons of light.”
The Jews continued to not believe and to question and then
Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me does not believe in Me, but in Him who sent Me. And he who beholds me beholds the One who sent Me. I have come as light into the world, that everyone who believes in Me may not remain in darkness. …”
All of this clearly refers to salvation: walking in the light is a believer, walking or remaining or being in darkness is an unbeliever.
chapter 12 is the last time John mentions light and darkness in his Gospel.
So, with all this in mind, look how John starts his first epistle:
“What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen …concerning the Word of Life… we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.
These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete. And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.
If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;
but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins [say we do have 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.
To me, the parallels are overwhelmingly clear: walking in the Light means a believer; walking in darkness means an unbeliever. That is the context in which 1 John 1:9 is found, and thus, that is the meaning that ought to be given it.
Well, I’m sure I’ve gone on long enough, despite my intention to be brief — though, in the face of all there is to say on this, I think I have been. If this subject has piqued your interest and you’d like to know more, I invite you to check out Pastor Farley’s study on this, beginning with that first message “I Have a Confession to Make” and continuing on as he lays out the case verse by verse.
By the way, Pastor John Farley was a student of Col. Thieme’s prior to being mentored and ordained by Pastor Robert McLaughlin. Pastor McLaughlin was mentored and ordained by Col Thieme, himself).
July 28, 2013
Last week I commented on an article by Clifford Rapp concerning the meaning of confession of sin as mentioned in 1 John 1:9 (“Confession: Old Testament Insights“). Pastor Rapp’s article focused primarily on what the Old Testament has to say about “confession,” largely because there are too few NT passages on the subject to glean anything.
In my recent post I looked at three of the four NT references he cited, two concerning people still living under the Law, and a third concerning someone who lived and allegedly believed in Christ before the Holy Spirit was universally given.
I didn’t think any of them provided support for the notion that Church age believers must confess their sins to be forgiven; nor do they indicate this is needed for believers to be filled with the Spirit.
Because of this ”scarcity of New Testament material” says Pastor Rapp, many “turn to an etymological explanation to define confession of sins.” ( eg, Homologeo = homo (same) + logeo (to speak) = “to speak the same thing” or “agree with God”) Unfortunately this too, can be problematic, he says. For example, homologeo is never used in conjunction with “sins” except in 1 John 1:9 and while it can mean to speak the same thing, according to Rapp that’s not usually the way it’s used “in religious contexts, only in contracts or legal contexts.”
So, seeing as “Confession has always been a critical issue for believers because forgiveness is conditioned upon it,” according to Pastor Rapp, and even as he admits there’s little New Testament justification for this belief (only a single verse) he gives up on the New Testament as a source for supporting his ideas and turns to the Old, where there is an “abundance” of material.
Why does it not occur to him that maybe the premise on which all this is based, ie, a single passage in the NT, 1 Jn 1:9, (one contradicted by numerous others NT passages) is incorrect?
If confession is so critical, if our entire execution of the Christian life is dependent upon it, particularly if we receive as a result of it, the filling of the Holy Spirit which is needed for any spiritual activity or understanding, why is it not mentioned more often in the New Testament?
Other commands, clearly critical to our execution of the Christian life, are repeated constantly. Eg, love one another, love God, believe, know, renew your minds… even “lay aside” in Ephesians is repeated more than “confess your sins and be forgiven.”
Speaking of Ephesians, that’s the epistle where Paul first tells us to filled with the Spirit:
”Do not be drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.” ~Eph 5:18
If this filling is contingent upon confession of sins, why doesn’t Paul clearly say it there, where he’s telling us to be filled? (For that matter, why doesn’t John say it in 1 Jn 1:9?)
In fact Eph 5:18 is the ONLY place in the epistles where this phrase, “filled with the Spirit” is found. If you do a NT search of “filled with the Spirit,” of the 10 references that show up (3 of them in the Gospel of Luke; 6 in the book of Acts), none say anything about the recipient having confessed their sins beforehand.
When I look at the lack of New Testament references both to confession of sins and to the filling of the Spirit, particularly in conjunction with each other, the logical conclusion seems to be that one is not contingent upon the other. In fact, there is next to zero New Testament evidence the church age Believer is supposed to be confessing his sins for the filling of the Spirit or for forgiveness.
In light of that, going to the Old Testament to look for support for a practice that doesn’t show up in the New seems counterproductive at best.
However, Pastor Rapp’s article did bring out one thing for me — he quotes various OT verses where someone says “I have sinned” and calls it “confession.” Seen in this light, I would say, “Yes. That is what we’re to do,” In the sense of realizing you are sinning.
In order to “Stop being angry” you must first realize you are angry, then recall that for a member of the Body of Christ, that’s not the mind of Christ and STOP it!
Or, to be more specific, set it aside and instead turn your mind to doctrinal thoughts, such as the fact that Christ died for everyone’s sins, I have no right to judge, fuming is not the mind of Christ, nor is arguing, punishing, railing, complaining… I’m supposed to be at peace. Operating in love and kindness and grace.
Seen in this light, yes, we do have to admit to ourselves and God that “Yup, I’m sinning.”
But we don’t elevate that to the position of being a condition for receiving God’s forgiveness, especially not in the face of numerous other New Testament verses that say our sins have been forgiven, taken away, removed, blotted out, atoned for, all the guilt associated with them removed forever, that we have been declared permanently at peace with God, declared permanently righteous before all the angels, placed in permanent Union with Jesus Christ, permanently indwelt by the Holy Spirit..
In light of all that, I submit the interpretation of 1 Jn 1:9 as applying to believers is unwarranted.
And please don’t tell me that because Rapp, Thieme, Chafer, Walvoord, Scofield, etc, said it is, that I must believe it; show me where it says that in the Word of God, which tells me to be like the Bereans, “searching the Scriptures to see if these things are true.” (Acts 17:10)
For the first time in my life I have been seriously searching the Scriptures precisely to see if this supposed foundational verse is true (as interpreted) and I’m just not finding it.
July 25, 2013
The Fast Company is perfecting its humanoid, soldier robot. Here’s a short video showing the latest. Could this be the progenitor of some future Terminator?
I have a feeling this is going to end up in Sky somehow…
July 24, 2013
One of the cool things about my having decided to publicly blog about my questioning of the doctrine of rebound, is that readers raise questions and point me toward other people’s writings on the subject.
One of those writings was an article in the CTS Journal vol 5 #4 (Dec 1999) on Confession by Clifford Rapp, Jr. [Rapp earned a Th.M. degree in Old Testament Literature and Exegesis from Dallas Theological Seminary and is an adjunct professor at Chafer Theological Seminary. He pastors a Free Methodist church in California] I found his article to be fascinating, not so much from the standpoint of what the Old Testament has to say about confessing sins as from some of the statements he makes in his article that I believe inadvertently shoot down the premise from which he’s operating.
The piece beings thus:
“The New Testament promises that If we confess our sins [God] is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1Jn 1:0). This essay addresses the nature of confession.”
And then it immediately points out that “The paucity of New Testament material on confession” makes it difficult to fulfill the essay’s objective.
My first thought upon reading that was to wonder, could that paucity perhaps be due to the fact that confession of sins to gain God’s forgiveness is not a major doctrine for the Church Age believer after all? Usually when the Holy Spirit wants us to know a major doctrine He does a lot of repeating. (Think of how many times we’re told to love one another, or know the word, or only believe in Christ for salvation.) As I’ve noted in previous posts, I have not found this to be the case when it comes to the believer’s confessing of sins for forgiveness. So far, 1 John 1:9 is it.
Of the three confessions which Pastor Rapp lists as being found in the NT, two are in Luke (the prodigal son in Ch 15 and the tax collector in Ch 18), and one in Acts 8 (Simon the magician). Rapp also notes “Paul’s public testimonies in which he acknowledged his sin,” for which he gives no references.
My first thought was that both the prodigal son and the tax collector appear in one of the Gospels, and were parables taught by Jesus Himself before His death on the cross. Both were taught to the Jews who were still part of the age of Israel and thus under the Law. Both were told to illuminate other matters than confession of sins, though they do include “confessions” of a sort.
I say “of a sort,” because the prodigal, upon “coming to his senses” and deciding to return to his father, was hardly allowed to even deliver his confession. Though he had prepared it (“I will get up and go to my father and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.”) when he arrived and was still far off, “his father saw him, and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him, and kissed him.”
Clearly the father had already forgiven him before the son said a word.
And even though he started out on his prepared confessional, it seems to have been ignored. In fact, he was cut off right after the ‘no longer worthy’ part as his father begins giving orders to his slaves to
“Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, kill it and let us eat and be merry; for this son of mine (not slave, as the son wanted to suggest but had no opportunity) was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ and they began to be merry.”
Nothing in this story indicates the father was waiting for a confession before he would forgive. The moment he saw the son returning he raced to him in joy, embraced him, kissed him, gave him no chance to even speak. Nor did he say to his slaves that “this son of mine was bad, but now that he has confessed his wrong doing to me, I’ve forgiven him.”
The second reference to confession, Luke 18, is the familiar parable of the arrogant Pharisee in the temple “praying to himself”(!) about how great he is, and not like that horrible tax-gatherer over there. The one who was beating his breast saying, “God be merciful to me, the sinner!”
This is in keeping with the commandments of the Law, which was in force when Jesus was preaching and teaching. And even here the point of the story (delivered to “certain ones who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt”) doesn’t seem to hinge on who was confessing their sins correctly and being forgiven, but about the difference between arrogance and humility. One man thought he was god, and the other knew he was wretched. In fact, the tax collector is not portrayed as “naming sins” before God, he merely asks for mercy for himself as a sinner.
Finally, the event with Simon the former magician in Acts 8 occurred in the transitional time period between the ending of the age of Israel and before the Church age really got going. The Apostle Paul, the one who was given the bulk of revelation about how Church Age believers were to operate, wasn’t even saved at this point, and was in fact said to be ravaging the church at the end of Acts 7.
In Acts 8, Philip had been in Samaria teaching the people there about Jesus Christ and baptizing them in His name presumably just after the events of Pentecost. When the apostles in Jerusalem heard about them, they sent down Peter and John to lay hands on them so they could receive the Holy Spirit too.
Simon was supposedly one of Philip’s converts, a person who’d believed but hadn’t received the Holy Spirit. But was he really saved? He’s said to have believed the good news about the kingdom of God and been baptized in water. But he’s clearly out of it when he offers the apostles money to give him the authority to lay his hands on others and impart to them the Holy Spirit, like Peter and John were doing.
Peter did not mince words:
“May your silver perish with you because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! You have no part or portion in this teaching, for your heart is not right before God. Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity.”
And then in direct disobedience to Peter’s instruction to pray himself, Simon says,
“Pray to the Lord for me yourselves, so that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.”
Which I consider to be a very weird response. He’s not even asking them, he’s telling them to pray for him. It certainly doesn’t sound like a confession. Nor is there any indication he was forgiven.
And what does Peter mean by “pray the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you?” Did Simon merely say he believed in Christ and really didn’t? What does “bondage of iniquity” mean? Temporary personal sinning in his bitterness and desire for approbation? Or worse than that, not even saved?
I don’t know. But there is nothing that says he received the Spirit himself, and he is never mentioned again after having made his weird remark. Nor is anyone said to have prayed for him.
I suppose one could surmise from Peter’s response that when you sin really badly, blasphemously, then you must pray for forgiveness… But you could also surmise from “pray…that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you…” that Simon wasn’t really saved, and only made a pretense of it. Why else would any sin of his not be forgiven?
In any case, Pastor Rapp concludes that, there being so few verses to support the interpretation of 1 John 1:9 as referring to believers confessing for forgiveness, we must turn to “the abundance of Old Testament confessional material” to define this confessing (I was going to write “command” but 1 Jn 1:9 is not, in fact, a command. It’s an if-then.)
Logical perhaps, unless you consider the fact that the spiritual life of the church age is profoundly different from anything the Old Testament saints had ever known or even dreamed of. In fact, it had been held as a mystery from them until such time as the Apostle Paul was led to reveal it. (Ro 16:25; 1 Co 2:7; Eph 3:3,9; Col 1:26,27)
Why then, should we go back to the Old Testament for guidance on living in an age they knew nothing about, an age where all has become new and the old has passed away? Why not stop and ask yourself… if there’s such a paucity of information and examples of confession in the New Testament, might it be that your initial assumption of what 1 John is actually teaching is faulty?
Well, that was my conclusion anyway, and the more I investigate it, the more confident in it I’m becoming.
July 22, 2013
As I said in my last post, I do not believe that we as believers in Christ can ever reach sinless perfection so long as we’re on this earth in these fallen bodies. We’re going to sin. The question raised was, what are we to do about it?
Well, first have to recognize that we are sinning, but after that, then what? Well, I am convinced the Bible does not tell us we must go through the ritual of “naming the sin privately to God,” or “rebound” as I’d been taught for years.
Instead, we simply stop doing the bad and start doing the good. Which is what “repent” means: we “change our mind” with regard to that particular thought process/activity — and then stop doing it. And not just stop, but do something else, instead.
In Ephesians 4 Paul lays it all out… Lay aside the old… put on the new…
Stop walking like the Unbelievers walk, in their old way of thinking…
But renew your mind (Ro 12) with the word of God and think on the truth you’ve learned instead of that old human viewpoint stuff.
Be angry, yet do not sin — that is, sin by holding onto it and replaying it in your mind and getting more and more worked up about it; or even worse becoming bitter… Do not let the sun go down on your anger. That is,
Let it Go!
Stop stealing, and set your hands to productive work so you may have an abundance to share with those in need.
Let all wrath and malice and clamor be put away from you and (instead) be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other because Christ has forgiven you.
Because He’s forgiven us of everything, we should gratefully forgive others of their transgressions against us. And in fact, it helps me to remember while I’m gnashing my teeth over what someone has done to me, that whatever their sin was against me, Christ died for it, every bit as much as He died for my judging or outrage. How can I hold anything against the other person, when my Lord has already paid for that failing and forgiven them? Who am I, to think I can’t?
This shifts the focus of our attention off what we’re doing wrong, and what others are doing wrong, and back to what Christ has done about it. And that brings glory to Him, rather than to ourselves and our little rituals performed to “earn” forgiveness…
July 21, 2013
Among the comments I’ve received on my recent series of posts about confession of sins was the suggestion that I have dumped rebound for the old Wesleyan doctrine of “sinless perfection.”
I had to go look up what that was.
After a quick reading of the Wikipedia article I’m still not sure what it is. Wesley himself said he never used the term “sinless perfection” for fear of contradicting himself, but did maintain that Christians were on a “journey to perfection” where they would reach a point where “the heart of the believer is cleansed from inbred sin by the infilling of the Holy Spirit.”
I don’t think we’re on a “journey to perfection.” I don’t think God left us here with a sin nature so we could reach perfection. As believers in Christ, when we die, the flesh will be gone and we’ll have perfect resurrection bodies just like our Lord’s. But not because of anything we do along the way.
I think of what the Bible describes as the “heart of the believer” as being where we do our thinking, where our conscience is, our standards, memory, understanding, our will, etc. I believe it’s a combination of the soul and human spirit (the latter made alive at the moment of salvation). The Bible doesn’t say there’s inbred sin there, but rather in the flesh, the physical body referred to as the “old man” in Scripture. This can and does influence the soul/spirit/heart and will until the day we die.
I certainly do not believe the Bible teaches that it is possible for a Christian in this life to attain “spiritual perfection,” that is, to reach a state where he or she no longer sins.
I have to laugh here, because I remember years ago (when I was about 2 years old, spiritually speaking) getting into a debate with an older gentleman who claimed he no longer sinned.
My husband and I were attending one of the many home Bible studies we tried out before we settled on the one where we listened to Col Thieme’s tapes (augmented by regular Sunday/Wednesday attendance at a Baptist Church). We’d already received the teaching of 1 John 1:9 (that we must confess our sins to be forgiven) from Orville and our LS Chafer book and here we were faced with this man who was claiming he no longer sinned. We quoted 1 John 1:10 – whoever says he’s without sin is a liar. I don’t recall the man’s argument against that, only that he grew quite angry about it all and began insulting us, and it didn’t help the situation when my husband pointed out that he was, indeed, angry and that was a sin, so clearly he HADN’T stopped sinning.
In any event, I do not believe the Bible teaches we can ever as long as we are alive on this earth, reach a point of sinless perfection. We still have the flesh setting itself against the Spirit (Gal 5:17), and tempting us to go back to the old ways (Ro 7:14-25); we live in the Devil’s world, which is permeated by a system of thinking that’s totally against God and which will also constantly tempt us to go back to the ways of the flesh (1 Jn 2:15,16); finally, we have an active enemy in the person of Satan and his minions, who are working to keep us from going forward in the Christian life (I Pe 5:8; Eph6:11,12). They have been doing this with members of the Body of Christ for almost two thousand years and they are VERY good at it.
Moreover, the flesh is not getting better, it’s getting worse (2 Co 4:16). So, no, as long as we’re in this fallen world, in these corrupt bodies, we aren’t going to reach sinless perfection. We won’t be without sin until we’re in heaven in our Resurrection Bodies.
We do sin, regularly. Probably daily for most of us, even if it’s only falling into a wrong mental attitude (fear, worry, guilt, selfishness, resentment, pride…the options sometimes seem endless).
Because I believe confession of sin is not something the Bible teaches that we are told to do (as related in my recent posts) some have asked, “Well what DO we do about it, then?”
Short answer: STOP it!
Longer answer: Lay it aside, and put on something new.
For an even longer answer, check out tomorrow’s post.
July 17, 2013
Well, after all those serious posts about confessing sins, it’s time for something lighter. How about this video of dogs saying grace? I’m already working on teaching Quigley this…
July 16, 2013
picture courtesy of La Vista Church of Christ
So I did my word search of “confess” (yadah) in the Old Testament, and as I mentioned in the last post, I did not find what I expected to find. Even when I included “acknowledge” in my search, I still came up with only 20 verses in the entire Old Testament using these words.
Of those 20 verses, less than half (8) referred to confession of sin, and the rest related to making a public declaration of something or someone (eg, a man’s firstborn and heir).
(In contrast “know” is found in 534 verses, “knowledge” in 104, “wisdom” in 154, “truth” in 91 verses, “sins” 101…)
Since the usage is more or less evenly split between the verbal, public declaration of something, an heir for example, and the verbal declaration of sins, I don’t see it helping to support the notion that “confession of personal sins” is the meaning the Apostle John intended to communicate in his letter. If anything, I think it supports the other interpretation, ie, it’s a public declaration of having acknowledged oneself a sinner and believing in Christ.
So ultimately, I don’t think my word search of the OT contributed all that much to answering my question. In fact, it’s reinforced my thought that trying to use Old Testament Hebrew words to understand New Testament Greek words is probably not all that edifying, especially given the fact that as Church Age believers, we live in a new age, with a completely different operating system from what Old Testament did. In fact in some cases Paul had to coin entirely new words, because he lacked the appropriate terms to express what was being revealed to him.
Old Testament saints lived before Jesus came to die for us. For them everything was physical. The Jews saw God in the pillar of fire and the pillar of cloud and in the appearances on Mt. Sinai. They had the physical temple where He lived behind with the veil in the Holy of Holies. They had the overt and distinct physical, specialized priesthood. They had physical sacrifices and physical cleansing rituals and had to physically confess their sins aloud to the priest to be transferred to the physical animals which they then either watched be slain, or slew themselves. And they had to keep doing that over and over, every year, at least, if not more, as they looked forward to the coming of their king.
Moreover, Heb 10 tells us that
“For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which [the priests] offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins? But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year.
For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.”*
The physical blood of bulls and goats could never take away sins. It merely covered them until such time as the One Perfect Sacrifice would arrive. Until that time the Jews had to keep confessing and being cleansed…
“Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says, “SACRIFICES AND OFFERINGS AND WHOLE BURNT OFFERINGS AND sacrifices FOR SIN YOU HAVE NOT DESIRED, NOR HAVE YOU TAKEN PLEASURE in them” (which are offered according to the Law), then He said, “BEHOLD, I HAVE COME TO DO YOUR WILL.” He takes away the first in order to establish the second.**
He takes away the first – the LAW – in order to establish the second – GRACE.
Christ is our sacrifice and He did it once for all. He doesn’t have to keep going back to the Cross. It’s done. And if He doesn’t have to keep going back to the Cross, why would we have to keep on confessing? Confession in the OT was tied to the sacrifice; the Jewish believer confessed his sin to the Priest who transferred it to the animal which was then slain to cover the sin.
“By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD…
For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.***
That is, US! Believers in the Church age. When we believed in Him, we acknowledged (confessed?) that all our sins were transferred to Him as the sacrificial lamb and paid for by His death, once and for all time on Golgotha…
AND THEIR SINS AND THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE.” Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin. Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh,
and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.****
“Having” our hearts sprinkled clean, not “sprinkling our hearts clean” – He did it, not us. There is no talk here of confessing sins, only…
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering [ELPIS – confident expectation], for He who promised is faithful*****
And look! Here’s another place that shows confession to be a public profession of faith in Christ, of salvation through Christ, NOT confession of sin.
In fact the preceding verses communicate very clearly that we don’t need to do anything related to the OT sacrifices any more, neither confess, nor cleanse ourselves, because we’ve already been forgiven and cleansed when we believed in Christ.
And in light of all this, when I look at 1 John 1:9 now …
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness…”
…it’s become very clear that it has nothing to do with confessing personal sins and everything to do with the confession of salvation, the confession of being a sinner and believing in Christ.
* Hebrews 10:1 – 4
**Heb 10:5a; 10:8,9
July 14, 2013
Last post I talked about the Greek word for “confess,” homologeo, and said it was only found 8 times in all the NT. That was not correct. Homologeo only turns up 7 times; the word in James 5:16, rendered “confess” is actually exomologeo, which means “to acknowledge.”
In all but one case, both words are clearly used for verbal declaration or proclamation to others (men or angels) and almost always in declaring belief in Christ. The only usage of the word that is not clear is 1 John 1:9. Take a look:
Mat 10:32 “Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. [~JESUS as reported by Matthew}
Luk 12:8 "And I say to you, everyone who confesses Me before men, the Son of Man will confess him also before the angels of God; [~JESUS as reported by Luke, who was associated with Paul]
Rom 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; [~PAUL]
Php 2:11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. [~PAUL]
1Jn 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. [~JOHN]
1Jn 4:3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. [JOHN]
Rev 3:5 ‘He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. [~JESUS as reported by John]
And finally, the word exomologeo, meaning to acknowledge and here translated “confess”:
Jas 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. [~JAMES, written to dispersed Jewish Christians before Paul, the recipient and primary communicator of "mystery" or church age doctrine, was even saved]
So, leaving aside the latter verse, the word homologeo is used five times in the New Testament in the context of believing in Christ, and once for proclaiming or announcing overcomers’ names to the angels in heaven.
This aggregate of usage seems important to me in helping one come to a conclusion regarding what is meant in 1 Jn 1:9)because…
1. If John is addressing believers and unbelievers in chapter 1 of 1 John, and he is…
2. And if he is running through a series of contrasts between what makes a believer versus an unbeliever, which he is…
3. And all the other times in the New Testament (including John’s own uses of the word) homologeo is used in its public confession/declaration connotation, with most of those relating to salvation…
It seems most compelling on the basis of the aggregate to put “confess our sins” in the same category as “confess Jesus as Lord.” That is, it’s referring to salvation, not confession of post-salvation sins.
However, some have insisted that since Jesus and the Apostles grew up and lived under the Old Testament, we cannot come to a conclusion merely on the basis of what we find in the New Testament. Rather we must go back to the Old Testament Hebrew and look at the meaning and usage of the Hebrew word for “confess” in the “many” instances in which it appears there. And in the OT, as we all know, it was used mostly for confessing sins, right?
I agree that we should take a look at those usages as well, so that is what I did. But that is not what I found…