A Cycle of Confession?
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
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.”
Breaking sports headlines: Lance Armstrong confesses that he used performance enhancing drugs to…….Oprah Winfrey. As I watched those words scroll across the screen I couldn’t help but think, “is that really newsworthy?” I mean everyone knew that Lance Armstrong took performance enhancing drugs (peds), and in essence no one cared. People didn’t care because he participated in a sport that was known for peds. It’s a great sport, I can’t imagine the endurance that is needed as the cyclist make their grueling treks, but in reality everyone knew that Mr. Armstrong was involved with the performance enhancing drugs and for most people they simply didn’t care.
So the question was why? Why would Armstrong decide to “come clean”? This was the debate on sports radio today. Why would he come clean? One commentator said, “in an apparent effort to cleanse his image and perhaps to cleanse his own soul, Lance Armstrong has confessed to Oprah Winfrey.”
That immediately caught my attention. I wasn’t listening to hear about Lance Armstrong and I cringe at the word Oprah, I was listening to hear about the NFL playoffs and my beloved Baltimore Ravens, but now all of a sudden I was interested. And even now I can’t help thinking about it.
The implications of those words. Lance Armstrong the great cyclist, the man who peds or not is an unbelievable athlete, confessed because he needed to have his soul cleansed? Now granted that is not what he said, but it is certainly a possibility. In fact it is more than a possibility, whether Lance would admit it or not, he needs to be forgiven. We all do don’t we? Guilt and carrying it around is one of the worst things in the world. Lance Armstrong needed to be forgiven, and so do we. ]
We all have a need for forgiveness, that is why I can say 100% we all have a need for Jesus, because He is “the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” He is the one who can given us forgiveness because He is the one who hung on the cross and said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” We all need forgiveness, we all need Jesus. Me, you, even Lance Armstrong.
Now why he chose to go to Oprah I don’t know. For Oprah can’t give him forgiveness can she? Maybe in Armstrong’s eyes she represents the American people. Maybe that is why he went, I don’t know. But a high priest is the only one who can truly give forgiveness, and according to the book of Hebrews Jesus is that high priest (see chapter 2).
In the Old Testament a high priest could give forgiveness after performing a sacrifice but they had to do it over and over and over again. The writer of Hebrews lets us know that a perfect Lamb was given by a perfect High Priest and therefore no other sacrifice will ever be needed. The work of forgiveness is completed. That’s why Jesus that perfect Lamb/ Priest combination said, “It is finished” from the cross.
Forgiveness is available to all of us because Jesus has completed the work of redemption. Forgiveness is available even to Lance Armstrong, but it doesn’t come through Oprah. Forgiveness only comes through Jesus. “If we confess our sins HE is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.” Only He gives forgiveness, so what we need is to kneel at the foot of the cross, not sit on a Hollywood television set.
Confessing to Oprah may make bigger news, but truly confessing to Jesus makes much better news. In fact when it happens (by anybody) even the angels in heaven rejoice and celebrate.