Conviction, Confession, Cleansing
To walk in continuous revival involves 3 main points: Walking with Jesus, Brokenness, Cups Running Over. But when cups do not run over, which is very often—then what?
Only sin stops the inner witness. Then how are we to know what the sin is? The answer to that is to be found by reading on in the key chapter of 1 John 1. Verse 3 has spoken of two-way fellowship, and verse 4 of fullness of joy. Verse 5 gives a surprise. John says he is now going to give us the inner truth about Him with whom we walk. He is…love? No—“God is light.” If it just said “love,” that would be easy, for I might escape a too strict facing of sin by saying, “Well, anyhow He loves”—which is indeed what I have often said. But “this is the message…God is light.”
What does that mean? Well, nothing could be more simple. The obvious main function of light is to reveal things as they are. The Scriptures themselves state: “Whatever maketh manifest is light…” (Ephesians 5:13). Light is very silent, does not push or drive anyone away, but is inescapable to any honest person. You can’t lie to light. If you hit your toe against an object in the dark, you may mistakenly say that it is a table. But when the light is turned on in the room, you can no longer continue to say that it is a table if it really is a piano. Light just gives you the lie.
God is light. Silently, inexorably He shines on and in us, revealing things just as they are in His sight. Have you ever noticed the pivotal place given, even in salvation, to our response to light? In John 3, we are distinctly told that men are not lost because of their sins (for they have already been atoned for) but they are lost for refusing the light. “This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, but men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” Light silently showed them exactly what they are in God’s holy sight, but they won’t acknowledge it. No, they will never “come to the light” and admit themselves to be what God says they are. But the only way any of us have been saved has been by responding to that light and saying about ourselves what God says. Thus our eternal destiny hangs on whether we love darkness or come to the light.
But even as this is true concerning the unsaved and the necessity of their “coming to the light,” it is also true in 1 John 1 of the believer and the necessity of his “walking in the light.” He also can walk in darkness (verse 6) if he wishes to do so. That is to say, he can refuse to admit, concerning himself, what God says about him; he can have other and more convenient names for his sins. Worse still, he can be either a deliberate hypocrite (saying he has fellowship with Him, but really walking in the darkness), or he can be self-deceived and not recognize that he is sinning when he is saying he has no sin (verse 8).
So it gets down to this. Sin is a revelation. It is God who graciously shows us sin, even as it is He who shows us the precious blood. Sin is only seen to be SIN—against God—when He reveals it; otherwise sin may just be known as a wrong against a brother, or an antisocial act, or an inconvenience, or a disability, or some such thing. Indeed that is often the extent of the message of a “social gospel”—to be rid of sin as a hindrance to brotherhood, as an inconvenience to human progress; not as coming short of the glory of God. GOD shows us sin. We do not need to keep looking inside ourselves. This is not a life of introspection or morbid self-examination. We do not walk with sin, we walk with Jesus; but, as we walk in childlike faith and fellowship with Him step by step, moment by moment, then if the cups cease to run over, He who is light, with whom we are walking, will clearly show us what the sin is which is hindering—what its real name is in His sight, rather than the pseudonym, the excusing title, which we might find it more convenient to call it.
Let us say again, it is so simple. God does not speak in terms of general condemnation, leading to despair of the past or to fear of the future. He speaks in simple, specific terms of any actual sin in the present which is hindering the inner witness of His Spirit.
What do we do then? Well, that is obvious. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins….” The word confess is the word say with the preposition con or with added. Three times over in those verses 5:10 man has said his own say (verses 6, 8, 10); but to confess is to say with another, to say what another says. To confess is to say about my sin what God says about it. “You say that is sin, Lord; so do I.” That is confession; of course, companied by the desire to be rid of the sin, and an actual ceasing to do the thing or maintain the attitude, whatever it may be.
Then where there is this confession, we all know there is the word of promise: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” We may say the cleansing is almost automatic, where there is the confession. That light which shines so unchangingly on the sin shines also on the blood. “If we walk in the light, as He is in the light,” says John, “we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.” When walking in the light, we read, both sin and the precious blood are seen—the one, praise God, canceling out the other. And it is important to remember that confession of sin does not deliver by itself. It is the blood that cleanses, and we must always pass on from confession to faith and praise for the blood, believing that the blood alone is what glorifies God and delivers us. Folk often remain depressed and mournful and asking others to pray for them after confession of sin, when they ought to pass straight on by simple faith to the blood ever flowing and cleansing, as in the words of the old hymn:
The cleansing blood, I see, I see;
I plunge, and oh, it cleanses me.
It cleanses me, it cleanses me;
Oh praise the Lord, it cleanses me.
Once again, where the blood cleanses, the Spirit witnesses, and where the Spirit witnesses, the cups always run over! So we are back again where we started—walking with Jesus step by step, brokenness, cups running over. When they stop running over, it is always sin. Sin is seen as sin in the light of God. As we walk in that light, we recognize and confess our sins; the blood cleanses; the Spirit witnesses; and the cups run over again!
Used with permission from
by Norman Grubb (2007 edition)
Publisher: CLC Publications
To order this book and other books by Norman Grubb,
or visit the CLC website: www.clcpublications.com.