Discerning Our Own Sin
1 Corinthians 11:31: For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
William Burkitt NT Commentary:
That is, if we would examine, try, censure, and sentence ourselves, and so come to the Lord*s table as penitent believers, with a purity of aim, and a sincere intention; we should thereby escape the castigatory punishments, and condemnatory sentence, of God. Learn hence, That as it is our duty often to examine and judge ourselves, so self-judging in particular, before we approach the Lord*s table, will preserve us from the judgment and condemnation of God; we must first summon, then examine, then convict and try, then sentence and condemn ourselves, and all this in hopes of being absolved and acquitted by God, acting our faith upon his free mercy, and the Redeemer*s satisfaction.
It is easier to discern sin in others but more important that we discern our own sin. We cannot confess and forsake sin on behalf of others, only for ourselves. Other than learning to avoid it and praying for them, dwelling on the sins of others does us no good. Our sins are our problems and their sins are their problems. Marks of spiritual maturity will be to be increasingly able discern our own sin, confess it and forsake it and to recognize that our sins against God are far worse than any sins committed against us. We will be horrified by the sins we are still capable of committing, even years after we were saved. We will know of our own secret sins but not the secret sins of others, and will have plenty of sins of our own to confess and forsake rather than be so concerned about the sins of others. We need to have the attitude of King David and the Apostle Paul.
David in Psalms 51:3: For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
Paul in Romans 7:18: For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
Proverbs 28:13: He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.
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. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
1 John 1:7: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
Anger and hatred are sins that we tend to overlook in ourselves.
Matthew 5:22a: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: . . .
It might be a surprise to us that if there is anyone we deceive, the Bible teaches that we hate them.
Proverbs 26:28: A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.
If there is anyone that we cannot speak peaceably to it is evidence that we hate them too.
Genesis 37:4: And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.
We have far more cause to confess and forsake our own sin than to focus on the sins of others.
Luke 6:41: And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother*s eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?