If God has gone to all the trouble to remove our sins, with the Second Person of the Trinity leaving His home in heaven, to be born then laid in a feeding trough, live a virtual life of poverty, sweating blood in dread of becoming the world's sin bearer, be ridiculed, spat upon, whipped nearly to death, crucified naked publicly, shedding His blood and being forsaken by the Father for a time, to remove my sins… I ask "How would God feel for His blood bought child, to expose the lurid details of the sins He died to remove, because someone lightly asks it? If one of my daughters were to live a life of shame, and somehow I could remove that shame from them through great sacrifice by myself, I would not be very pleased if they were to publicly share some of the shameful things they did just because someone wanted to know. In God's eyes, every sin is shameful. Every sin. Once dirty laundry has been thoroughly cleaned, we don't need to show anyone pictures of it when it was dirty. Paul put it this way in Ephesians 5:12: "For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret."
Some Christians that were saved young, or before ever getting into a life of sin or crime, feel uneasiness in sharing that not so tainted testimony as a speaker before a formal audience. Some Christians actually wished they had a more "exciting" testimony; you know, the one where the person was a killer, or a former terrorist/drug dealer, or something terrible; the kind of testimony where one can EASILY see the great, miraculous transformation that took place. Some of those speakers have actually inadvertently glorified Satan, and unknowingly got some in the audience to wrongfully wish they had such an "exciting" life. Others with similar background, have wisely learned to say "I am NOT going to glorify Satan by sharing the lurid details, but let me just say I was in a terrible life of sin." And then instead of talking about the sinful life in detail, they talk about their new, victorious life in Christ, giving glory to Him.
Some people have difficulty forgetting their sins (forgiven or not), and are painfully plagued by the remembrance of them. God will never bring them up against them, and wants them not only to KNOW they are forgiven by Him, but FEEL they are forgiven by Him. Satan tries to use the memory of our past sins against us. So why would God want us to share any of the lurid details with others, except to confess that we have sinned, as in the case of bringing the healing from infirmities they have brought on in the time of James epistle? Even there it simply says "confess", not go into detail. We are told to confess, repent, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ; not entertain the carnal nature of others with the specific ungodly aspects of our past. When sinners came to John the Baptist, they confessed their sins to him in the fact they were submitting to his baptism. If they did declare any specific sins at that time, the Bible doesn't list them for us. The publican, in Luke 18:13, declared he was a sinner, and was justified (v.14), but didn't list any specific sins. The Philippian Jailor was simply told to "Believe (put his trust in) the Lord Jesus Christ, Acts 16:31.
Who would we glorify in telling people about our past, specific sins, God or Satan? I would say Satan, who tempts us to sin, and relishes are sinning. Our sins are not something to be proud of, or to fellowship over, or to get us to relate to one another better. They do not glorify God. Sin is sin, and we have all done it. What glorifies God is the forgiveness of our sins, and the power over sin, and the living of a righteous life, not focusing on the specifics of the past sinful life. Psalm 103:12 tells us "As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he (God) removed our transgressions from us." Why would I want to bring them back to either my mind, or someone else's mind by sharing with them (and everybody else potentially on the Internet) that I have committed them. When we demonstrate that we know how to overcome sin in our life, that should be sufficient for all sins. Hebrews 12:1 speaks of "the sin which doth so easily beset us" but he doesn't say what that is specifically, so those that do it can "relate". No, the key to overcoming sin... is good for overcoming all and any sin.
I may be overlooking something, but when I think of the great saints of the scriptures, I don't see them listing their past sins with all the details, but simply declaring they were sinners. Daniel confessed to being a sinner, but we don't know what those sins were. Mary spoke of her Savior, but she doesn't say what specific sins He saved her from. When Paul listed his "sins" in Acts 26:9-11, these are "sins" a zealous, unsaved Jew would have admired and wanted to emulate; not MORAL sins they would have looked down on.
I understand the concept of a "student sinner" wanting to be able to relate to a "teacher/pastor sinner" by wanting to know of some of their sins, but I think what God would have us do is "look up" to our leaders for their righteous way of living, not be able to relate to them (say as an equal) because they sin just like we do. People use to have "heros" to LOOK UP to whom they could admire for their way of living. Superman didn't lie, cheat, drink, steal, or swear. He didn't even kill the bad guys. We didn't complain because we couldn't relate to his sterling character, let alone his super powers. We just admired him. When I was 10 years old, John F. Kennedy was assassinated. We all thought he was a great man. But then as an adult, people were finding out that he was continually cheating on his wife. Now I can't relate to that, and his immoral actions (showing us that he was "human") didn't help me relate to him, but only tarnished the image of him being a "great" man. Job 32:9 says "Great men are not always wise:…" I don't need to know their specific sins to know that they are flawed; to know they are sinners; to know they are "human"; to know they aren't perfect; to know that I don't have to feel inferior to them because of their otherwise greatness.
So from the Teacher/Preacher position, speaking to any "Learners" that may feel somewhat intimidated by my knowledge and experience in the things of the Lord, suffice it to say that I admit that I am a sinner saved by grace, that still has a sin nature, and sins just like everybody else at times. I am not sinless, but sin less (by God's power and to His glory) when I am busy about the things of God. The Scriptures (from man's first appointment as guardian of the Garden of Eden, until his time of finally seeing Satan banished forever) tell me not to let down my guard and be vulnerable, to admit some of my sins, expose my vulnerability and humanity any more than necessary; but to be on guard and put on the whole armor of God. Genesis 2:15; Proverbs 4:23; Romans 16:20; Ephesians 6:10-20; 2 Timothy 2:1-4; Revelation 20:10.
I truly hope this will be of practical use to those that read it, and not just fodder for debate. To God be the glory!
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