1 John 1.8-9 – Principles Of Fellowship – pt. 3

Today we see the second of our paired statements:

“If we say we do not bear the guilt of sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness”.

(NET)

Contrary to what some false teachers may tell you, you will never be sinless this side of eternity. Being a believer in Jesus doesn’t mean that you can live above and beyond the guilt of sin this side of eternity. Yes, there are commands such as “Be holy…” in 1 Peter 1, but, this is a call to action for the mind: see yourselves as separate from the world and distinct from its influences. All that to say, if anyone tells you that 1 John 1.8 doesn’t apply to you as a believer, don’t listen. You are a sinner, I am a sinner, and we’ll be sinners to the end. 

In fact, as John writes, if we claim to be beyond the consequences and guilt of our sin we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. Sinners to the end. This might sound like terribly bad news. The worst. But, keep reading:

“But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness”.

Yes, you will keep sinning in word, thought, and deed until Christ calls you home or returns. His supreme and sufficient sacrifice – and your faith therein – has done all that needs to be done in order for you to inherit eternal life. So, does that mean you never need to confess your sins in the here and now? What does John write?

“But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness”.

Think of a lovely child. Maybe 3/4/5 years old. Old enough to know that their parents love them unconditionally. Old enough to know that if they mess up, they’re not going to be banished from the family and left alone to fend for themselves. But, that child still says sorry and ask for forgiveness when they contravene the rules of the household, don’t they? They still come to Mum or Dad and say sorry, say they will do their best not to do whatever it was again, and ask for forgiveness even though they know it’s already assured. 

So, is it right for us to confess our sin to our Father in heaven? Absolutely.

Why do we do this? Because He is faithful and righteous. Whilst He has already forgiven us big-picture, there is still daily forgiveness and grace on offer, and as a loving parent loves to forgive their children, so your heavenly Father loves to forgive you too. 

Published by James Travis

Pastor of Saar Fellowship in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Married to Robyn and Dad to our two boys.

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