It should not be a surprise that a fallen people will sometimes fall. Just because someone obeys the “good news” of Jesus does not mean a person becomes automatically sinless from that day forward. We are called to do our best and walk in the light as He is in the light, but we will stumble along the way. The important thing to know is that God understands our weakness and has provided a path of redemption which includes our momentary stumbles along the “straight and narrow”. Let us consider the following steps to restore our fellowship with God after we occasionally sin.
ENSURE WE ARE IN CHRIST
It should go without saying, but one needs to establish a proper relationship with God through the blood of Jesus if there is to be hope of eternal life. Romans 6:23 says "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” When one commits sin, it leads to death but God’s gift to mankind is eternal life "in Christ Jesus”. If eternal life is IN JESUS, we also want to be IN JESUS to access that eternal life. Romans 6:3-4, "Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” One ultimately obeys the gospel by being baptized for the remission of sin. The benefit of this is clearly seen in Romans 8:1, "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit."
BE ASSURED YOU HAVE AN ADVOCATE
No one would feel confident in a courtroom without a competent lawyer pleading your case. The same thing in a way is true of us before the great Judge in heaven. 1 John 2:1, "My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” This idea of having an advocate or spokesman before God on our behalf is not a new concept. Job while under the patriarchal covenant saw the need to have someone between him and God to appeal for him. “For He is not a man, as I am, That I may answer Him, And that we should go to court together. Nor is there any mediator between us, Who may lay his hand on us both” Job 9:32-33. In fact the word propitiation used in 1 John 2:2 is the word which is also translated “mercy seat”. This is interesting because Jesus was not only our Priest to offer up His own body for a sacrifice, but is describe as the actual seat of mercy by which we can access the grace of God. Knowing we have such a powerful relationship with Jesus should encourage us to have boldness in our faith.
USE THE INSURANCE OF CONFESSION
1 John 1:7-9 reads, "But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” John was answering by inspiration the same question we have today: after we sin what do we do? There apparently was the teaching that once a Christian committed sin after being converted, there was no hope because there was no more sacrifice to give. John combated that thought saying in essence that Christians will commit sin again (1 John 1:8), that’s just the reason why Jesus had to be sent to die for us. But the way back into fellowship with God is confession of that sin (1 John 1:9) and walking in the light (1 John 1:7).
Christians should never let an occasional slip discourage them to the point of giving up. God loves us, Jesus loves us, the Spirit loves us, and we should learn to love ourselves. God so loved and treasured YOU that he was willing to sacrifice that which was closest to Him to save us. In the words of Rocky Balboa "But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward."