If you abide in Me and My word abides in you, then you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.
Today, we’re going to discuss one of the greatest promises God gave us in the entire Bible. It comes from the first chapter of First John, verses eight and nine:
If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
As long as we live on this earth, we will be sinners. If we remain submitted to Him though, He will conform us to the image of His Son, as we discussed last week from Romans 8:28 & 29, but that is a life-long process. We will not be perfected in this life. We will continue to be sinners by nature, and we will continue to commit sins.
So what do we do when God brings those sins to our attention? Do we grovel before Him and moan about what hopeless wretches we are? Do we ignore the sins and hope somehow to do better next time? Do we ask God for forgiveness?
No, no, and no.
Christians are not hopeless wretches. We are sinners saved by grace who are in the process of being conformed to the character of our Savior.
Neither do we bury our heads in the sand like ostriches and hope our sins will go away and we’ll do better tomorrow. Sins must be addressed.
Most Christians I know would say the answer to this is to ask forgiveness. Really? Didn’t we ask forgiveness when we were born again? And didn’t He promise forgiveness as a part of the new birth? Why would we ask for a gift of grace that’s already been given to us? That sounds like we don’t trust God or don’t believe He was really able to forgive us.
Let’s look at the passage again. “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” That would be taking the ostrich method of dealing with sin. But the passage goes on in verse nine and says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
It’s really that simple. We confess—He forgives—and, as a bonus, He takes it upon Himself to cleanse us of all unrighteousness. He knows man doesn’t have a very record at improving himself, so He takes that onus onto His own shoulders. He promises to change us for the better, to cleanse us.
What a wonderful God we have. He takes it all upon Himself, requiring nothing from us except submission to Him. Confession is evidence of that submission, and it triggers the most powerful force in the universe in our lives.
Have a New Testament passage or concept you’d like to see discussed here? Maybe something you’ve never quite understood. I’d love to hear from you about that, too. I’ll try my best to explain it.
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