JUST FILTHY RAGS
from sermon #305
CONFESSION BEFORE FORGIVENESS
we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is
not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to
forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all
unrighteousness,” 1 John 1:8-9.
the Spirit begins to awaken a sinner to the true character of sin,
he attempts to purify himself by turning from some of his most
sinful actions. The first response is that self-righteousness
begins to compound itself. We try to become holy within ourselves.
We are going to turn from certain sins, correct ourselves and
stand right before God. This is still not confessing ourselves to
be sinners under the light of the true character of sin.
the Spirit continues to awaken the sinner to the true character of
sin and the spirit of the law, then one as perfect as Job will say
as we read in Job 9:30-31: “If I wash myself with snow water,
and make my hands never so clean; Yet shalt thou plunge me in the
ditch, and mine own clothes shall abhor me.”
we learn to see that our best righteousness is but filthy rags. We
can do all in our power to cleanse our selves of sin, and the Lord
would still spew us out of His mouth. Then we start to see our
need for the perfection of Christ. We start to see and understand
that we need Christ’s righteousness, that we need His blood for
a man is brought to understand the true character of sin, he
begins to realize what the Apostle Paul said in Romans 3:19:
“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to
them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and
all the world may become guilty before God.”
and I by nature are under the law. The law comes as a warrant
officer to arrest us and bring us before the judge. Then we
understand what it means to become guilty before God, and we are
not defensive anymore. Our heart can tell us that we are wrong.
Our heart can convict us, yet we will phrase our defense in some
way that we will never confess that wrong. It even takes the grace
of God to come to where a conviction of sin brings forth a
confession of sin.
the world” (Romans 3:19) means there is no exception. We are all
guilty before God. Until we have been brought to see that we are
guilty before God, we will never see the beauty of the imputed
righteousness of Christ, which only has merit.
Corinthians 1:30 says, “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who
of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and
sanctification, and redemption.” It is all of God. He is
altogether lovely. Everything flows from Him, and everything flows
back to Him because He is all in all. Now, we become nothing.
only ones who can say, “We have no sin,” are those described
in Proverbs 30:12-13: “There is a generation that are pure in
their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness. There
is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes! and their eyelids are
lifted up.” They can say that they have no sin, but our text
says they are deceived. The truth is not in them. They are
righteous in themselves, but they are not cleansed from their
Word illustrates how those who say they have no sin appear in His
sight in Proverbs 30:20: “Such is the way of an adulterous
woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no
wickedness.” We are spiritual adulterers when we say we have no
we may think that we sin not in thought, words or deeds, then how
often we must confess as we read in James 3:7-9: “For every kind
of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the
sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can
no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we
men, which are made after the similitude of God.”
does not matter who we are, we can be a wise man or a man of few
words, but Scripture says that no man can tame the tongue. When we
understand how much we sin with the tongue, then we will never be
able say that we have no sin. That member of the body that has
been defiled by the fall is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
Anytime we have said anything unkind about any man, do not
forget that he might be fallen in sin, but he was still made after
the similitude of God.
human creature can plead innocence in this matter. We are all
guilty of this, and we must all come before God and confess that
we are guilty of these things.
vain men talk of living faith,
When all their works exhibit death;
When they indulge some sinful view,
In al they say and all they do.
true believer fears the Lord;
Obeys His precepts, keeps His word;
Commits his work to God alone,
And seeks His will before his own.