If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
“If We Confess” – The word “confess” means “to admit and acknowledge.” It literally means to “say the same thing.” This means we name and refer to them as God does, as sins.
Once we acknowledge our sin as God suggests, He promises to forgive us. The basis of this promise is God’s character. God is faithful in the sense that He is forever dependable to perform His promises. God isn’t going to change His mind about our forgiveness. He’s not going to look at you or me and say, “Oh that’s a terrible sin, there’s no way I can forgive that one.” God has promised to always forgive any sin that’s confessed.
God is also “just” or “righteous” to forgive us. Now we usually think of God’s forgiveness as an act of mercy, not as an expression of God’s justice. Yet John is telling us that it’s morally right for God to forgive our sins. Forgiveness is not a matter of God compromising His righteousness, but it’s an expression of His justice. This is only true because Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay the penalty for all of our sins.
Let the Purifying Begin
When we confess our sins, God not only forgives, He also sets the process of purification in motion. The word “forgive” is a legal term which describes God breaking down the barrier between Him and His children because of sin. With the legalities completed, God continues the process. The word “purify” describes a removal of the stain caused by sin. This means God wants to thoroughly wash away the defilement caused by our rebellion.
God continuously calls us to get real with our sin through confession. Then His forgiveness will remove all guilt/shame and the cleansing will purify our hearts completely. This is how we get rid of the hangover cause by sin. This is how we get rid of the deep stains of sin.
Yesterday we were reminded that all people struggle with sin. We shouldn’t purpose to sin. But when we do sin, God has a remedy to deal with all the effects of sin… confession.
In 1818 one out of six women who had children died of something called “childbirth fever.” A doctor’s daily routine back then started in the dissecting room, where he performed autopsies. From the morgue, he made his rounds to examine expectant mothers. No one even thought to wash his hands…at least not until a doctor named Ignaz Semmelweis began to practice strict hand washing. He was the very first doctor to associate a lack of hand washing with the huge fatality rate. Dr. Semmelweis only lost one in fifty, yet his colleagues laughed at him. Once he said, “Childbirth fever is caused by decomposed material conveyed to a wound…I have shown how it can be prevented. I have proven all that I’ve said. But while we talk, talk, talk, women are dying.. I’m not asking for anything world shaking, only that you wash your hands.” Yet virtually no one believed him.
This verse is telling us to confess our sins, to regularly wash our souls before God, It’s essential! The failure to confess our sins will result in spiritual infections. This will hinder future growth and the ability to continue our spiritual journey.