GOD PROMISES FORGIVENESS
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
This is a wonderful promise we often quote and use. However, it is a promise with a condition. The condition is mentioned first. For this promise to be true we must “confess our sins”. That means admit to God Himself that we have sinned. It means not making excuses, blaming someone else, or trying to do good to make up for the sin. Sometimes people use confession as a self-centered way of removing the guilt so they feel better. They don’t think about the awfulness of their sin against a holy God, they just want to stop the shame and guilt. Nor are we to punish ourselves, as if our suffering could add to the work of Jesus on the cross.
We all sin (see verse 8 and 10). The hardest part of confessing is humbling ourselves to admit, to ourselves first of all, that we failed and sinned. Then comes accepting forgiveness and forgiving ourselves, the next hardest part.
God doesn’t force us to confess, but He waits until we do. The father of the prodigal son was waiting and willing to forgive his son, but couldn’t do so until the son returned and admitted his sin (Luke 15:11-32). The son had to hit bottom before recognizing his need and repenting. That is true today as well. Chances are each one of us has had to hit bottom at one time or another. But, as the verse says, God is faithful.
When the condition of admitting our sin is met, then the blessing comes: forgiveness! God is “faithful.” He can be counted on to keep His Word to forgive. He is also “just.” He can’t and won’t ignore sin, and sin must be paid for, so He took His wrath for that sin out on Jesus on the cross. And because He is just, the sin is paid for and He won’t make us suffer for a sin that has already been paid for.
As a result, God will “forgive us our sin.” He removes it as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12), forgets it (Isaiah 43:25) and covers it with the blood of Jesus (Romans 4:7).
He not only removes the sin we confess, but when we have this attitude of wanting all our sins gone, He forgives even the ones we aren’t aware of. He will “cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness.” That includes wrong thoughts, good we should do but don’t, and good we do for selfish reasons. It’s ALL gone!
Then it’s up to us to live in this forgiveness and not take advantage of it. We must use the same standard in forgiving others who sin against us. We must forgive immediately, as God does with us, even before confession is made. The sin still may block fellowship, as it does with God, but when personal reconciliation is attempted, we must be like God and put all their sin behind us and restore the relationship.
Imagine, having your sin totally and forever removed just by taking the blame for it. It sounds so easy it makes me wonder why we sometimes wait so long.
Is there any sin you need to confess, to admit to? Is there a forgiven sin for which you are having trouble forgiving yourself? Is there anything for which you need to apologize to another person? Is there anyone who has sinned against you that you need to forgive?
(I have posted almost 40 blogs about God’s Promises to us today in my India and Spiritual Warfare blogs. If you would like a PDF document containing all of them, email me and I will send it. Jerry@Schmoyer.net)