So What Do We DO About Personal Sins?


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…

5 thoughts on “So What Do We DO About Personal Sins?

  1. KC Frantzen

    Karen – thanks for posting all this.
    I’ve been SWAMPED with almost no time to think/digest.

    One thing that pops to mind on today’s is this.

    in 1 Jn 1:9 – “If we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive and cleanse…”

    Would that not assume that we must confess to receive forgiveness and cleansing?

    It is likely you previously covered this – as I say, haven’t had time to read thru them all.

    I totally understand sins were paid for at the Cross, that’s why there’s nothing to earn, etc.

    We acknowledge that He paid the penalty in our place.

    Agreed to focus on the positive and stop sinning when we realize it’s there but as you say, we will continue. There isn’t/wasn’t sinless perfection on planet earth, except in the Messiah, Jesus.

    ** Officially rambling. Must stop. **

    1. karenhancock

      Thanks for the comment, KC. Regarding your question of assuming that 1 Jn 1:9 means we must confess and receive forgiveness, the problem is, the more I study and read 1 Jn, the more I believe this verse is talking about confessing that one is a sinner in need of a Savior, and that it’s not even addressed to believers.

      In fact, the reason I’ve been doing all these posts is because back in March, Pastor John questioned the assumption/teaching specifically as it says we must confess our sins in order to be filled with the Spirit. He said he couldn’t find that connection anywhere in the Bible, though he’d looked for years and had spent hundreds of hours. As I looked into that, “searching the Scriptures to see if what (he) said was true,” I was shocked by what I found. My recent posts, starting with “My Introduction to Rebound” have been a recounting of that journey. So yeah, I started with 1 Jn 1:9. 🙂

      And after four (?) five (?) posts I still haven’t laid out all the things that support the interpretation that it’s speaking to unbelievers, not believers and that there is no place that tells us, as Church Age believers indwelt by the Spirit, to name our sins privately to God, especially not for “fellowship to be restored”. In fact, I Jn indicates fellowship is constant, a result of salvation.

      Not to say, of course, that we don’t grieve or quench the Spirit as mentioned in Ephesians, but even there, even when it tells us to be filled with the Spirit there is no mention of confession of sins as being needed. In fact, there’s no mention of confessing sins at all.

      1. Luke

        One way to look at the Holy Spirit is to ask, “What can he do with me?” See the discussion of discipline (both the rebuke part and the training-skills part) in Heb 12 and Paul’s self-discipline which he describes in 1 Cor 9:24-27. If we refuse to let go of sinfulness, God can’t do as much as he wants to with us. At least, it won’t be to our benefit when he makes use of those sinful tendencies.

      2. Luke

        Thanks to Jon Mark Ruthven in “What’s Wrong with Protestant Theology” (p112), I came across Proverbs 1:23, which is worth looking at in multiple translations. The ESV: “If you turn at my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit to you; I will make my words known to you.”

  2. Rebecca LuElla Miller

    our little rituals performed to “earn” forgiveness…

    Karen, this is the line that made me think we’re looking at confession differently. In my experience of confession, I am always mindful of God having forgiven me because of Jesus and His shed blood, that in fact He has canceled out my certificate of debt.

    When I’m living with a wrong attitude or sinful behavior, however, I’m not mindful of what Christ has done. I’m mindful of what I want. Further more, when I acknowledge the conviction of the Holy Spirit, I’m mindful that I can say, “I don’t care” and continue in my bad attitude or hurtful actions. On the other hand, I can yield to God’s prodding and it’s like I’m aware anew of His love and forgiveness. I really do feel like I’m being washed.

    I’ve never managed the “discipline” of confession, and I think now that’s probably right. I’ve had people suggest we should use the acronym ACTS to guide us in prayer. The C stands for Confession, and I never can “conjure that up.” However, the A, I believe, is for Adoration, and often when I am confessing (there’s that word 😉 ) God’s attributes or praising Him for who He is and what He does, I become mindful of what I am not and what I should be and what I want to be. I confess my sin to Him. But it’s not something I’m scrounging around to do. It’s a natural part of the relationship.

    In the end, I guess I’d say, there simply is no formula for a relationship. God may prompt some people to confess sins and others He may do something else. For sure, we aren’t to confess to earn something from God–like more complete forgiveness or something.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.