“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” James 5:16 NLT
Since God forgives our sins, we in turn should forgive our brethren when they sin against us. Forgiveness needs to have an important place in our walk with Christ. We need to seek the forgiveness of the party we have sinned against. If our sin has had an affect on the entire church body we need to confess it to the entire church. If we are struggling mightily with a certain sin, we need to seek loving support from those in the congregation we trust to give us that support. If for any reason we doubt that the Lord has forgiven us, we need to seek out a trusted fellow believer to share our sin with so that that individual may give us assurance of God’s pardon.
Both when we forgive and when we are forgiven can be a major step in our growth as a child of God. When we forgive we have played a crucial part in the restoration of a brother or sister in Christ. When we are forgiven we are the one that is restored to right fellowship with our brother or sister and with the Lord. Our sin creates a cloud cover, in a manner of speaking, between God and us. God is still there and He stills loves us; the change comes within us. Our focus had shifted and now we bear the burden of the sin we have committed. The weight of it can keep us from communion with our Lord out of embarrassment or guilt. We don’t have a clear conscience regarding the matter; for we know what we either did or are doing is wrong in God’s sight. When both God and the affected party forgive us the cloud is lifted and restoration is complete.
The word “earnest” in verse 16 means simply sincere or determined. Therefore, the sincere, determined prayer of a righteous man makes things happen in the spiritual realm. Who is righteous? If we are born again we are righteous in God’s eyes by virtue of the blood of Christ. It is a positional thing, not a literal thing. How God sees us may not be the actual state we are in at that time. While we are forgiven, we are seen as totally holy and righteous. We shall strive to attain that status slowly as we progress down the path set before us with dogged determination understanding that perfection shall always be outside our reach. Discipleship is not for the faint of heart, nor is it for those too lazy to pursue righteousness. It is for those who are truly changed and allow themselves to be led by God’s Holy Spirit. Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!
Resource: Life Application Study Bible New Living Translation, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2012.