He will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness
1 John 1:9 New American Standard Bible 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous, so that He will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
The question we must answer is when we ask Jesus to forgive us of our sins, are all of our sins forgiven? Are all of our past, present, and future sins forgiven? I believe the answer to that question is yes. The reason is because when we come to Christ, we are fully forgiven. We are declared righteous. Our righteousness is not dependent on our behavior or our performance. If it was, we would be without hope. There is not one of us who can walk in perfect obedience before God.
Why then does John speak of confessing our sins? Why is confession so important in the life of the believer? Some would claim this verse is written to unbelievers, but we know in studying 1 John that this letter was written to believers to confront false teaching that had invaded the church.
The reason confession is so important is it impacts our fellowship with God the Father. When we come to Christ, we are a brand-new creation (2 Cor 5:17). Our sins and our shame were nailed to the cross. All of our sins were nailed to the cross and Jesus has made the way so you and I can approach the throne of grace without fear, but with confidence knowing that our Father in Heaven sees the perfection of His Son when He looks at us. When we are in Christ the precious blood of Jesus has covered us and has washed away all sinfulness and shame.
As human beings who are broken and not perfect, there will come times in our relationship with God after coming to Jesus Christ that we will struggle with sin. There is a progression of growth in the life of the believer in which we begin as immature infant Christians and move to mature Christians who walk victoriously and are able to disciple others. But often for the immature infant believer they often struggle with temptation and sin. Sadly, some remain at this infant stage and never move on to maturity.
God and His grace have made it possible that when we struggle with sin as followers of Christ and children of God that we can confess our sins and He is faithful and righteous to forgive us. He doesn’t forgive us because He feels like forgiving us or we have earned His forgiveness. He forgives us because it is the promise He has given in His word and is a reflection of His love and His mercy.
Confession is important because it restores us to fellowship with the Father. When we sin, fellowship is broken. Our salvation is not lost. If a believer who has come to faith in Jesus Christ dies and fails to confess a sin, it doesn’t mean they have lost their salvation and there for are going to be eternally separated from God. When we come to Christ it is the Holy Spirit who seals us, and it is the grace of God that keeps us (Eph 1:13). The problem for many in the body of Christ is they don’t fully understand how truly broken and lost they are without God. Even when we come to Christ, we are so dependent on God for everything that without His grace there is no way we could continue to walk with Christ and live and overcoming life.
True confession requires actually confessing the actual sin to God. It isn’t simply saying I am sorry. It is being vulnerable before God and confessing what we have done wrong. Something I struggled with greatly in my life was pornography. It appeals to my sinful nature and many men struggle with it because we are visual driven and easily enticed by what we see with our eyes. I struggled with this after becoming a Christian. It is not something that any Christian is proud of because every time I engaged in watching pornography it made me feel dirty and shameful. On top of that the enemy would heap condemnation upon me. At points I felt so disconnected from God and without hope.
But I learned the importance of confession. As I struggle through this, each time I sinned and gave into temptation, I went to my Father in Heaven and asked Him to forgive me of looking at pornography. Not merely saying I am sorry, but actually admitting what I did before Him. Confession is agreeing with God concerning sin and unrighteousness. Through continual confession and continuing to pray for strength and victory through the leading and power of the Holy Spirit, there came a point in which pornography no longer had a grip on my life. Victory was only possible as I surrendered to Christ. Confession restores relationship between us and The Father. Let us remember that nothing is hidden from Almighty God. When we confess our sins, He is not hearing for the first time what we have done or is shocked by it, but what it does is it restores us to right fellowship with Him.
Am I still tempted today by pornography? The answer is yes. My sin nature still desires to master me and destroy my life. But the secret I have learned of the Christian life is daily fellowship and intimacy with the Living God. Setting aside time to spend with Him alone in prayer and time spent in His word. Time spent in reflecting and meditating upon the promises of His word.
I have learned the importance of the principle of first in God’s kingdom. Giving God the first part of every part of our lives unto Him releases His blessing into our lives. This includes the first part of our day. If you are struggle with temptation and sin, I would encourage you to reexamine your fellowship with the Lord. His desire is for you to walk in victory, to live and overcoming life concerning sin and temptation.
The reason sin is so destructive, is when we are tempted, it gives Satan access into our hearts and minds. But when Christ is the focus and our priority, sin will no longer have mastery over us. We will live from a place of Jesus strength and victory. It will no longer us who live, but Christ who is living in us (Gal 2:20). Today victory can be yours if you will surrender all to Him. If you will make Him truly Lord and give the first part of your life to Him.