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
As I read this scripture my mind went in four different directions. Such a familiar passage, and yet I was seeing it with a fresh perspective and an inquiring mind.
- We have to CONFESS our sin
I am not sure why confession is so hard. Even as children, it is much easier to accept the discipline than it is to confess what was done. Children will receive time out or spanking with boldness. Ask a child to tell you what he/she did wrong, and when he/she finally gets down to it, the confession is coupled with tears.
Confession brings us to repentance. It shows our vulnerability, our imperfections. Bringing those vulnerabilities and imperfections to a perfect God, feels intimidating. So often, instead of wanting to confess my sins to God, I try to justify my sin, deny my sin, or hide my sin. God KNOWS our sins, He just wants us to confess them.
When I try to justify my sins, God has to work on my heart condition. When I justify something that I am doing, I am making the excuse that it is okay. If what I am doing is really a sin, I need a heart change.
When I deny my sin, it is usually because I don’t see my thought or action as sin. I need a change in my thinking; so that I can see it as sin, as God does.
When I hide my sins, I am just adding sin, on top of sin, on top of sin. I know what I am doing is wrong, but I just don’t want to stop it. I have the original sin. I have the disobedience (from not just confessing it). I have the sin of lying about it.
Regardless of my initial response, confession is what is needed. God will with mercy show us the error of our heart, thoughts, or actions. Plain and simple, we just need to confess our sins. He will hear our confession. He does forgive us. He will not condemn us.
We just need to say “God, I confess my sin (And be specific). I want to change. I need Your help. Thank You for forgiving me.”
And then, we need to work on the heart change. With a heart change comes a thought change. And with a thought change will be a behavioral change. When we try to change the behavior first, the struggle is much harder. Without a heart and mind change, we will often find we go back to the sinful behavior eventually.
- He is FAITHFUL to forgive our sins
God is faithful to forgive our sins. He is consistent. He doesn’t roll the dice or ask the eight-ball if He should forgive us this time or not. He is not a sometimes “I will” and sometimes “I won’t” God. He is always listening. He always hears our confessions. He is always available. We can rely on Him. We can fully trust Him. He will forgive our sins if we confess them.
- He is JUST in forgiving our sins
The word “just” stuck out to me. Faithful I understand, but what does it mean that God is just in forgiving our sins?
From Blue Letter Bible: Just – dikaios Strong’s G1342 observant of righteous, observing divine and human laws; one who is such as he ought to be; 2. In a narrower sense, rendering to each his due; and that in a judicial sense, passing just judgment on others, whether expressed in words or shown by the manner of dealing with them: (who executes the laws of his government, and therefore also the law concerning the pardon of sins)
I take all that to understand that God is bound in the legal sense to forgive us because the price was paid in full by Christ. He is just to forgive us because He does so under the law. We are pardoned because Jesus paid the price. He is just in applying it to us when we confess our sin.
- He CLEANSES from ALL unrighteousness
It is not some, but ALL unrighteousness we are cleansed from when we confess our sins.
From Blue Letter Bible: All – pâs πᾶς STRONGS NT 3956: individually, each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything
From Blue Letter Bible: to Cleanse – katharizō Strong’s G2511 to make clean, to cleanse, in a moral sense; to free from the guilt of sin, to purify
Jesus made a way for us to be purified and free from the guilt of sin. When we confess our sin, we are cleansed from ALL sin. That means after confession, any guilt that we feel is self-imposed. God freed us from the guilt when we made the confession.
As I thought about being purified I was reminded of an old soap commercial that claimed to be 99.9% pure. A friend used to say (not sure if it was jokingly or serious, as she had knowledge of the factory), that the 0.1% was because of the mouse that dropped in the mixture. The company could not say their product was 100% pure.
Yet with Christ, we are 100% purified. There is nothing left that the enemy can use to condemn us. Christ blood purified us. He freed us from the guilt of our sin!
Lord, thank You that all I need to do is confess what You already know, my sins. Thank You that the finished work of Christ allows Your complete, faithful, and just, forgiveness of all my unrighteousness. Thank you that I am purified by the Blood of the Lamb.