Keith Sharp | via christistheway.com
But if you do not do so, then take note, you have sinned against the LORD; and be sure your sin will find you out. (Numbers 32:23)
Also about forty years ago the doctrine of continuous cleansing became popular with brethren. As advocated by Kenneth S. Wuest, brethren claim,
…the blood of Jesus … keeps constantly cleansing us from sins of omission, sins of ignorance, sins we know nothing about in our lives… (Word Studies in the Greek New Testament. 2:102-3)
This doctrine is based on a misunderstanding of First John 1:7,
But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
We are told that the present tense of the verse “cleanses” means constant and continuous. But First John 1:7 doesn’t even mention sins of ignorance. It plainly says “all sin.” If we’re continuously cleansed of sins of ignorance, we’re also constantly cleansed of high handed rebellion. If saying a dirty word in anger is covered, so is drunkenness, adultery, and murder.
But First John 1:9 reveals when the cleansing takes place.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
“Confess” is also present tense. The cleansing occurs when the confessing takes place. “And be sure your sin will find you out.”
General Confession of Sins of Ignorance
Which leads to our final excuse. Brethren advocate forgiveness of sins of ignorance by means of a general confession of sins of ignorance. We are told we just can’t know all our sins, so the Lord will forgive us if we just confess our sinfulness. But the apostle specifically teaches,
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
He doesn’t say, “confess our sinfulness,” he says, “confess our sins.” Simon, a babe in Christ, sinned one time through ignorance and was guilty (Acts 8:5-23). The apostle Peter commanded him,
Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. (Acts 8:22)
To be forgiven, he had to come to a knowledge of his sin, repent of that sin, confess it (1 John 1:9), and pray for forgiveness of it. “And be sure your sin will find you out.”
The Deceptiveness Of Sin
Sin appears to be very pleasant and desirable. Sharing gossip can bring pleasure (Proverbs 18:8), and alcoholic drinks are very alluring (Proverbs 23:29-35). But it is God’s immutable law that sin pays its wages.
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. (Galatians 6:7-8)
Often sin pays wages in this life. Moses was not able to enter the promised land because he struck the rock when the Lord commanded him to speak to it (Numbers 20:7-12; Deuteronomy 34:1-6). Sexual sins lead to broken homes and disease (Matthew 19:9; Romans 1:27). Alcoholic beverages bring addiction (Proverbs 23:29-35).
But sin will most certainly pay its wages in eternity.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:10)
How To Escape Sin
There is only one thing that will erase the guilt of sin, the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Hebrews 9:13-14)
How can we receive the benefits of His blood sacrifice? We must repent, turn from our sins. The alien sinner, one who is not a Christian, must act upon his faith in Christ (Romans 5:1-2) by repenting of his sins (Acts 3:19), confessing his faith in Christ (Romans 10:8-10), and being baptized into Christ (Romans 6:3-4). The erring child of God must repent, confess his sins, and pray for forgiveness (Acts 8:22; 1 John 1:9). If we repent, the spiritual penalty for sin is lifted (2 Corinthians 7:10).
Sometimes there are penalties for sin in this life that even repentance will not lift. David repented of his adultery and was forgiven, but his child died (2 Samuel 11:1-12:23). Trouble in his family followed from then on, culminating in the heartbreak David experienced when his rebellious son Absalom was killed (2 Samuel 18:32-33). The Lord will forgive adulterers who have been put away for their adultery (1 Corinthians 6:9-11), but they must live single lives (Matthew 19:9).
I had a friend and brother when I lived in Florida with whom I was close. After I moved from Florida this brother left his wife and moved in with another man’s wife. The jealous husband shot my friend in the heart, killing him instantly, while my friend stood in the doorway where he and the man’s wife were living together. He is in the hands of God, but he learned that sin does indeed pay its wages. If sin stains your soul, repent before it is too late. “And be sure your sins will find you out.”