IV. THE LIMIT OF OUR DEALINGS WITH SINS
The limit of our dealing with sins is similar to that of our clearance of the past. It is life and peace. When we deal with sins, we should do it until we have life and peace within. If we follow our consciousness in dealing with sins, we will feel inwardly satisfied, strengthened, refreshed, and quickened; we will also feel joyful, restful, comfortable, and secure. Our spirit will be strong and living, and our fellowship with the Lord will be free and without hindrance. Our prayers will be releasing and with authority, and our utterance will be bold and powerful. All these senses and experiences are the conditions of life and peace. This is the limit of our dealing with sins, and this also is the result of our dealing with sins. What we have said before about dealing with sins thoroughly implies that we deal with sins to such a state of life and peace.
V. THE PRACTICE OF DEALING WITH SINS
We have previously said that there are two aspects with regard to the object of dealing with sins: one is the record of sin before God, and the other is the actual deed of sin. When we practice dealing with sins, therefore, these two aspects must be dealt with. First, the record of sin must be abolished; and, second, we must deal with the actual committing of sin.
The abolishing of our record of sin before God is based upon the redeeming work of our Lord on the cross. Our Lord bore for us the righteous judgment of God. His blood satisfied the requirement of God’s law on our behalf; therefore, all our record of sin before God has been abolished. However, if this objective fact is to become our subjective experience, there is still the need of application. We will speak of this application by dividing it into two stages: before we are saved and after we are saved.
Acts 10:43 says: “Every one that believeth on him shall receive remission of sins.” These are the words of the Apostle when preaching the gospel to the unsaved. He told them that all the sins they committed before being saved would be forgiven if they would only believe. The abolishing of our record of sin before we are saved depends upon our believing. The application, therefore, is through our believing.
First John 1:9 says that “if we confess our sins, he (God… forgives us our sins and cleanses us from all unrighteousness.” These words were written by the Apostle to those who are saved, and they refer to all the sins we commit after we are saved. If we become conscious of them in His light, we must confess them before God; then we will be forgiven and cleansed. The abolishing of our record of sin after we are saved, therefore, depends upon our confession. Here the application is through our confession. If we do not confess, God will not forgive or cleanse. The moment we confess, we obtain forgiveness and cleansing. If we confess while still in this world, we obtain forgiveness while still here. If we do not confess while here, we will still have to confess in the coming Kingdom before we can obtain forgiveness. This forgiveness is called the forgiveness in the Kingdom. In conclusion, we obtain forgiveness for all the sins committed after we have been saved through our confession. This confession is our dealing before God.
How should we deal with the actual committing of sin? If we have offended God, we must deal with it before God and ask His forgiveness. If we have sinned against man, we should deal with it before man by asking man’s forgiveness. If our act of sinning against man involves only a moral matter, we have only to confess this and apologize before man. If it also involves a loss of money and profits, then we should pay accordingly the amount we owe. This act of apologizing and reimbursing applies not only to sins committed after we are saved; we must also deal with all those sins committed before we were saved; we must deal with them one by one before man according to the inner consciousness. This dealing with sins before man is the major part of this matter of dealing with sins, and we should take heed to practice it.
When we deal with sins before man, there are four basic principles we should remember and by which we should abide.
(The Experience of Life, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)