Grace frees you to be transparent

Trillia Newbell » God Gospel Sin Atonement

Our natural tendency is to hide our sins and failures in shame, but understanding God’s grace toward us, in spite of our sin, frees us to be transparent with God and one another.

No one can know I had that thought.
I’ll only do it once. No one will ever know.
If I shared that I did that, I would be rejected.
I can’t stop doing it, but I can’t get help because then they’ll know.
It’s not hurting anyone else—why bother sharing?
God could never receive me, I’ve just done too much.

These are a few of the thoughts that have entered my head in the past in regard to temptations and sin. It’s rare that my first response is I think I’ll go tell my friend. My pride, fear, and Satan want me to believe that anything I do is unforgivable and impossible to confess. Thankfully over the years, because I know I am tempted to hide my shortcomings and sin, I have made it a habit to share openly with dear friends. The temptation in the past would be to fake it.

No need for fake

Have you heard the term, “fake it till you make it?” Its basic meaning is, “Fake it until you can either do whatever you need to do or simply fool others so that you ‘make it.’” Many people operate under this philosophy, but it is bad advice for the Christian life. We are all tempted to wear a mask, but there are good reasons why we shouldn’t, and why we don’t have to.

Brings death

Paul reminds us of the nature of sin in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Nowhere in Scripture is sin ever described as good. It brings death and pain and misery. It’s never satisfying, and it robs us of joy. Secret and habitual sin is like a fungus on a piece of fruit. It multiplies, producing new cells, all the while eating away the flesh. Once fungus begins to destroy fruit you can’t stop it, but that is not the case for Christians. God’s word says that neither death, nor life, nor demons, nor anything else can keep us from the love of Christ (Rom. 8:38-39).

“Fake it till you make it” is bad advice for the Christian life.

Sin can’t separate a Christian from God in Christ. Period. But the more we understand grace, the more we see how the amazing grace of God motivates us to repent of sin: “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” (Rom. 6:1-2). Sin is so serious that it required death. In order to understand the true goodness of the cross, we must understand why it was necessary. This frees us to be transparent.

He knows

Want some truly comforting news? Nothing you or I do is really done in secret. God is omniscient, which means he is all-knowing. Nothing is hidden from the Lord, not even our secret thoughts (Jer. 23:24; Ps. 139:2-3). We can pretend to be incognito in our lives, on our couches, or in our thoughts, but we aren’t. He knows all things.

Understanding God’s omniscience should encourage us to be transparent. We don’t have anything to hide, because it’s not truly hidden. We also know that “there’s nothing new under the sun.” (Eccl. 1:9). There is nothing you’ve ever done that hasn’t been done before. We have all sinned, and we all fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). It brings me great comfort to know I don’t have to hide the ugly parts of me from my dearest friends and my husband. I can be real. I don’t have to “fake it till I make it.”

Already forgiven

Perhaps the most astonishing truth about God’s foreknowledge is that despite all he knows about us, discerning thoughts and hearts, he still forgives, and he began his pursuit of us before the foundation of the earth (Eph. 1:4). He not only forgives, but he cleanses. Read the truth of God’s faithfulness towards you in 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

For those in Christ, we can confess without fear of being banished from God’s presence. And if God is for us, who can be against us (Rom. 8:31)? We have no reason to fear the rejection of men and women just like us! God has already forgiven and paid the price for our sin, and he does not base his relationship to us on us! He bases his relationship to us on Jesus. That’s good news.

For those not in Christ, you can confess, receive forgiveness, and enter into a relationship with Jesus. He has the power to cleanse us from our sin, even the secrets that you are thinking of right now. He does that! Jesus bore our sin on the cross, taking the full wrath of God on our behalf. We never have to experience what Christ did. He truly is our Savior. We don’t have to fake it; we can live transparently among brothers and sisters.

You are loved because of Jesus. And this is good news. 

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