You must be in fellowship prior to your Bible study, so that the spiritual information you receive can become a source, of blessing to your soul and produce spiritual growth.
[zakar] not the sins [chatta'ah] of
my youth, [na`uwr] nor my transgressions: [pesha`] according to thy mercy [checed] remember [zakar] thou me
for thy goodness [tuwb]' sake, O LORD. [Yahovah] KJV-Interlinear
7 Do not
remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions; According to Thy
lovingkindness remember Thou me, For Thy goodness' sake, O Lord. NASB
Fellowship is one of the more important and key attributes of the Christian life.
Fellowship is a positional sphere in which you must live, in order to have a functional relationship with God and a functional spiritual life.
The unbeliever cannot get into fellowship with God because the unbeliever has no relationship with God until he is saved.
But once you believe in Christ, then you are saved and thus your spiritual life begins.
But as we all know, after salvation we all continue to commit sins. So what then?
Well, God has defined a method for us to cleanse ourselves of those sins, and that method is called confession.
Confession is documented in Lev. 4 with the application of the two sin offerings, one for known sins and one for unknown or forgotten sins. The application of confession in its mechanics is in Lev. 26, where confession is mandated. Confession is also described in 1 Jn. 1:9 in its entirety, where when we confess our sins, then God forgives us of those sins, and cleanses us of all unrighteousness. That is the restoration into fellowship process.
Think of sin as filth, and think of confession as the washing away of that filth. There are numerous passages that describe this process in the washing of the hands, the washing of the feet, both representing the activity of ones life as far as dirt an filth are concerned. This washing away represents the removal of sin in ones life, and returning you to a clean state.
When you are filthy, you cannot approach God. He is pure and clean and will not receive you when you are dirty. Therefore, before you approach God, you have to wash yourself, as it were. Confession is that cleansing process for the soul. Once clean, then you may approach God as well as function within your spiritual life.
Why do they say that cleanliness of next to godliness?
All spiritual activity occurs when you are in fellowship. No spiritual activity occurs when you are out of fellowship.
Committing a sin removes you from fellowship. You are dirty.
Confession places you back into fellowship. You are washed or clean.
Note that this has nothing to do with your salvation. Once saved, always saved. Confession is a function strictly for believers. Fellowship is a state strictly for believers.
Now, when you confess, what happens?
First, God hears your confession, which is a form of prayer, and acknowledges your confessed sins, and then God washes them away as it were, He erases them, expunges them, removes them from existence as though they never existed.
The process is, 'Father, I did this and thought that and did that and thought this and so forth.' Confession is a listing of your sins, nothing more. No, I'm sorry's. No, I'll never do it again's. No, guilt stuff. No, poor me stuff. Just a list of the sins. 'Father I did this and that and this and that.' End of confession.
Next God erases all of your sins which you just listed, and He goes even further than that and erases all of the forgotten sins or unknown sins that you may have not known about or somehow conveniently forgot.
Then God forgives, which is the washing and erasing process, and restores you into fellowship.
End of confession process.
The sins of your youth, the sins of long ago, the sins of today are all gone, and no longer an issue as far as the function of your spiritual life are concerned.
Oh, and by the way, your confession is directed to God the Father only, and to no one else. This is between you and God and not anyone else's business or concern. People cannot forgive, and penance is not in view here or ever in view. Penance is works and works is an evil concept.
And David describes this process here. Remember not the sins of my youth or my [present] transgressions.
No one is punished for sins they committed long ago. Unless of course you keep committing sins and never confess, and then your problem is one of a life pattern of sin, not an accumulation of bad sin credit. You are your own worst enemy in that situation.
So, if you did something long ago, or had a life of bad habits long ago, then confess them and they are now expunged from your life. The next thing for you is to forget them and never look back on them. There is no room for poor me attitudes in your life, or even for looking for excuses as to why life is bad now.
But also remember that this is not a license to sin and think that you can get away with it. There are repercussions to pursuing a pattern and if you think that you can mix good with evil in your life, then you are the fool and sooner or later you will fall flat on your face.
Life is full of difficulties, and they probably are not related to your sins or past. It is the devils world and you are always going to face challenges in your life.
Too, if you have pursued a colorful life in the past, then you may end up with serving time or catching some disease or have an injury due to an accident from your frivolity and so forth.
Confession and forgiveness does not cure a disease, nor repair an injury, nor even stop bad reputation gossip. It is not a get out of jail card.
The fellowship sphere is strictly a relationship with God attribute wherein your spiritual life can function properly. Fellowship promotes your learning and growing and production and relationship with God. Fellowship is where your entire spiritual life exists. It does not stop or even correct whatever is happening out in the world around you.
The storms will still come and go. The gossip will still come and go. The accidents and old age and such will still occur.
Fellowship allows you to focus on God, and not on poor me. Fellowship is forward motion in your life, not looking back.
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End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.