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Who Moved?  Me or God?

The Eternal Faithfulness of God

by David A. DePra

     There was a sign outside on the church marque which said, "If
you don't feel as close to God as you used to, who moved?" This
holds a great thought. It merits much meditation and serious
     Most Christians picture a God who sits in heaven, reacting to
everything they do. When we sin, God withdraws. When we obey,
He draws near. If we fail, He gets mad. If we obey, He gets happy.
In effect, most of us have a God whose attitude and intentions
towards us depends on what we do.
     This brings us back to the marque. It asked, "If you don't feel as
close to God as you used to, then who moved?" Many of us would
answer, "God." And then we'd add, "He distances Himself from me
because of my sins and failures."
Sin is Withdrawal from God
     The Truth is, God never moves. In fact, there is nothing we can
do to make Him move away from us, or change His heart towards
us. We cannot sin, refuse to believe, or obey. No matter what we
do, when all of it is done, God is still there where He was when we
     So what does this mean? That sin doesn't matter? That I can
sin that grace might abound?
     Notice how often that same question comes up when you talk
about God's grace and eternal love for us. That alone should tell
us something about the Truth of the gospel.
     The answer is that sin certainly does matter. The fact that God
doesn't move away from us because of sin is NOT because sin is
irrelavent.  It is because sin is forgiven and dealt with in Christ.
     Sin matters.  But not because it causes God to withdraw from us.
Sin matters because through sin WE withdraw from God. That is,
when all is said and done, what sin IS. It is withdrawal from God to
my own will. Thus, we see WHO moved. We did. Not God.
     Now, this is so important for us to see. So many of us think that
God withdraws from us every time we sin. But actually, sin is OUR
withdrawal from God! What else could sin and unbelief be? It is
choosing our will instead of God's.
     There are, of course, varying depths of sin. All of it is sin, and
all of it, outside of Christ, is of death. But there are more serious
sins than others. The Bible says so.
     For example, all of us live in a fleshly body which is subject to the
fallen creation. Everyday we must seek to yield our members to
God, and to refuse to yield them to sin. Sometime we fail. We want
to do right, but cannot. Our flesh simply will not behave.
     Now it is not really a withdrawal from God to want to do good but
not be able. (see Romans 7) But such a thing can and does bring
a corruptive element of the flesh. Thus, we must keep ourselves
open and exposed to God. We must embrace the fact that we are
forgiven and continually cleansed by the Blood.
     There are, however, worse sins a Christian can commit. These
are not sins of weakness or normal failure. They are sins of
unbelief. These are the times when we launch off in our own will,
despite the fact that we know better, or could know better. Such sin
does damage to our relationship to God. It hurts our fellowship
with Him.
     Now note: WE do the damage. Not God. We withdraw through
sin. Not God. Any damage that is done to our relationship with God
through sin is OUR doing. God hasn't moved. We did.
Confession and Forgiveness
     If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins,
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9)
     This brings us to the matter of confession of sin. Many Christians
interpret the above verse to mean that when they sin, God will not
forgive them UNTIL they confess that sin to Him. In other words,
UNTIL we confess, we are actually UNforgiven. God is withdrawn
from us and will not return to us until we confess our sin.
     This is not the meaning. When I sin, God does NOT withhold
forgiveness until I confess. How could He? He has already
forgiven all sin in Christ. It is finished. God cannot turn around and
deny the sacrifice of His own Son by saying, "Jesus really didn't
die for all sin. He died only for confessed sin. Until a sin is
confessed, it is UNforgiven."
     To some of us, that might sound right. But is cannot be right.
Why? Because it makes God's forgiveness of us dependent, not
upon Jesus Christ, but upon US -- upon our faith, obedience, or
confession. And this cannot be so.
     There are other reasons this cannot be the Truth. For instance, if
God will not forgive me UNTIL I confess, then UNTIL I confess, then
I am -- what?  Unforgiven.  Right?  Sure. But if I am unforgiven, then
I'm lost. That makes me a Christian, saved by the grace of God,
but who is presently LOST -- because he has an unconfessed sin
on his record.
     What happens if I DIE in that condition? What happens if, two
seconds after I sin, I drop dead? I did not get a chance to confess.
Am I lost?
     If I am unforgiven by God until I confess I am. And if I say, "Well,
God would know my heart and forgive me," then I am actually
admitting that there is much more to this Truth than the religious
routine of confessing to get forgiven. I'm showing that I know God's
forgiveness is not dependent upon me, but upon Christ.
     So what are we saying? That we don't have to confess sin?
     No. The Truth comes back to the marque. When we sin, WE move
away from God. We allow something into our lives and hearts
which damages our relationship with God. So it is not God who
has to come back to the relationship. It is US. And confession is
how we do it. Our confession is our move back towards God,
and our embracing of the forgiveness which God has always had
for us. Confession is therefore essential. We have to confess sin!
     Now we can see the purpose of confession. It is not in order to
qualify for God's forgiveness. It is to embrace God's forgiveness.
God never moved. He was always standing there with forgiveness
in place through Christ -- from the foundation of the world. But I
moved away from Him. Thus, my confession is merely my return to
God, and my embracement of what God has always had for me in
     The verse from I John means, as to it's intent, "If we confess our
sins, we will find that He is faithful and just to have forgiven our sins,
and to have cleansed us from all unrighteousness in Jesus Christ.
In Christ, God's forgiving work is finished. Confess your need and
embrace it.  Return to God."
God Seeks Us
     I damage my relationship with God when I take my sin and put
it between myself and God -- and then blame God for putting it
there. This is unbelief. I must return to the Truth: God has never
moved. I did.
     Actually, if we want to know what God does when we sin, we
need only remember what God did when Adam sinned. He sought
out Adam. He sought him out so that He could redeem him. That's
a far cry from withdrawal.
     When we sin, God does seek us out. He seeks us out through
conviction, chastisement, and sometimes through the kindness
which leads to repentance. But God never forsakes us. He never
moves.  He is eternally faithful and true. *

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