Why Should Christians Confess Their Sins? 1 John 1:9 – Once Saved.org
 

Why Should Christians Confess Their Sins? 1 John 1:9

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This lesson addresses a number of videos that are circulating around YouTube, saying something totally astounding to me, that saved Christians should NOT be confessing their sins to God for forgiveness as a regular part of their prayer life. According to these teachers, it is even an insult to God to ask Him for forgiveness since He already granted forgiveness as an act of His grace through our faith in Christ. They say that repeatedly asking for forgiveness whenever we sin is actually unbelief in the Gospel, not believing that God already forgave you. How about it? Once we are saved through faith in Christ, should we be repeatedly asking for forgiveness when we sin, or is that a lack of faith that God has already forgiven us? What does Scripture say? Let’s look into it.

Here’s the key verse that triggers all this debate. It’s 1 John 1:9. 

“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 KJV)

Those who teach that believers should not be confessing their sins daily say that this verse isn’t speaking to saved believers at all, but to unbelievers, which the Apostle John calls “antichrists,” a term he uses three times in the book of 1 John.

“Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.” (1 John 2:18 KJV)

“Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.” (1 John 2:22 KJV)

“And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” (1 John 4:3 KJV)

John isn’t speaking of THE antichrist who will come just prior to the return of Christ. According to John, anyone who denies that Jesus is the Christ is an antichrist. Basically, all unbelievers are antichrists. These, they say, are the unbelievers to whom John is addressing in 1 John 1:9.

They also say that if you look at the verses above and below 1 John 1:9, it is clear he is referring to an unbeliever:

“If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:” (1 John 1:6 KJV)

“But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7 KJV)

“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (1 John 1:8 KJV)

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 KJV)

If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” (1 John 1:10 KJV)

“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:” (1 John 2:1 KJV)

“And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2 KJV)

They say that clearly, John is talking about an unbeliever, for an unbeliever or antichrist is one who walks in darkness, says that they have no sin and calls God a liar. These unbelievers don’t see the need for God’s forgiveness for they don’t believe that they’ve sinned, and so what John is telling these unbelievers to do is to confess their sin, which implies turning to Christ for forgiveness.

They further point out the verse about Jesus being our Advocate. An advocate is someone who comes alongside an accused person to defend them, just like a lawyer stands beside the accused person in a courtroom before a judge. They say that a saved person who has already been forgiven of all their sins does not need Christ to intercede for them as their Advocate because sin has already been settled on the cross. Therefore, this verse further proves that John is talking about an unbeliever. They will also point out that nowhere else in Scripture is a believer commanded to confess sins.

So how about it? Are they right?

Nope. They are not even close. In fact, they are missing the major differences in understanding salvation (the one-time act of being saved) and sanctification (the daily act of developing holiness in a Christian’s life and becoming more and more like Jesus).

Let’s first prove that 1 John 1:9 is NOT referring to an unbeliever and then let’s look at what this verse truly means and why daily confession of sin is so important in the life of every saved Christian.

Why 1 John 1:9 Is Not Talking About An Unbeliever Or Antichrist.

In 1 John 1:9, the Apostle John uses the first-person plural pronouns “WE” and “US.” He also uses the adjective “OUR.”

“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 KJV)

These personal pronouns show that John is referring to a group of people that includes himself. Now, those who contend that this verse is referring to unbelievers in the church would say that John is speaking to the entire church, of which he is a part, but the verse 1 John 1:9 applies to just the unbelievers in the church. But we can’t just dismiss words in the Bible so easily. Let’s just take the personal pronoun, “WE.” John uses that word 44 times in the book of 1 John with consistency, every time referring to believers. Here’s a sample:

“That which was from the beginning, which WE have heard, which WE have seen with our eyes, which WE have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;” (1 John 1:1 KJV)

“Beloved, now are WE the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what WE shall be: but WE know that, when He shall appear, WE shall be like Him; for WE shall see Him as He is.” (1 John 3:2 KJV)

“And WE know that WE are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.” (1 John 5:19 KJV)

John is clearly and consistently talking about believers when he uses the term “WE.” In fact, when speaking of antichrists, or unbelievers, John never uses the word, “WE,” but refers to them as “THEY.”

“Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby WE know that it is the last time. THEY went out from US, but THEY were not of US; for if THEY had been of US, THEY would no doubt have continued with US: but THEY went out, that THEY might be made manifest that THEY were not all of US.” (1 John 2:18-19 KJV)

Clearly, the word “WE” cannot be taken to mean “antichrist.” That is a twisting of the Word of God to fit their misinterpretation.

But how about the verses above and below 1 John 1:9? Aren’t these verses talking about unbelievers who are walking in darkness and saying that they have no sin?

“If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:” (1 John 1:6 KJV)

“But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7 KJV)

“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (1 John 1:8 KJV)

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 KJV)

If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” (1 John 1:10 KJV)

While unbelievers do walk in darkness and can deny their sinfulness, can a believer also walk in darkness and claim they have no sin? Certainly. In fact, all believers, without exception, do that at some point in their Christian lives. The moment we are saved, sin doesn’t just automatically disappear from our lives. The penalty of sin is removed but the practice of sin may take years, in some cases, for God to work with us to where we start walking in holiness, to where we become not only saved but transformed to be like Jesus. That daily practice of lingering sin in our lives is walking in darkness. When I, as a believer, decide to commit sin, I’m walking in darkness. It doesn’t mean I’m not saved. It just means I’m not walking in sanctification and holiness before God.

And often for a new believer, we don’t even see our own sinful behavior until God points it out to us. We can even start thinking pridefully that we are walking in complete obedience without any sin, pointing out sin in other people but not seeing it in ourselves. Yet God is faithful to correct us of that pride. God’s Holy Spirit inside of us sometimes has to point it out to us that we’re not acting like Jesus, and that we need to make a correction. We’ve all been there.

So, we can’t just say that the reference to walking in darkness and denial of sin means these verses MUST be referring to an unbeliever. They can easily apply to believers. And the overwhelming and consistent use of personal pronouns show that these verses are indeed talking about believers. To argue against that would be saying, “Well, John consistently used the pronoun “We” to refer to believers everywhere, except in this one section.” No, John was consistent.  

1 John 1:9 is talking about a saved believer in Christ and John said this verse applies to him as well:

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 KJV)

So, let’s get to the heart of this.

What Is The Meaning of 1 John 1:9
And Why Is It So Important In The Life Of Every Believer?

When we look at what John is truly saying, we have to first understand what he is not saying. This verse is addressed to believers who are already saved, so John is not talking about their salvation. This verse has absolutely NOTHING to do with eternal salvation, which has already been settled on the cross. The eternal condemnation penalty of sin has already been removed by the blood of Christ. John isn’t telling Christians to keep reapplying the blood of Christ, repeatedly asking for eternal forgiveness, to keep themselves saved. We were already forgiven of all sins (past, present and future) the moment we believed in Christ because of what He did on the cross once and for all.

This channel is called Once Saved, as in Once Saved Always Saved. We are saved once and for all time by God’s grace as a free gift through faith in Christ alone the very moment we place our faith in Christ.

Paul said the same thing in Ephesians 2:

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV)

We are saved through faith in Christ alone. We are not saved by confessing sins. An unbeliever can confess their sins all day long and still not be saved. This is yet another reason why 1 John 1:9 is NOT talking about an unbeliever. An unbeliever does not receive God’s grace of salvation by confessing sins.

We are saved by God’s grace through faith in Christ alone. Nothing we do earns God’s eternal forgiveness, including confessing sin. Salvation is a free gift that comes by believing that Christ died for our sins, paid our debt of sin on the cross with His blood, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day. That’s the Gospel. That’s the good news. Confessing sin is not part of it. Believing in Christ is. If you trust on Christ for salvation, meaning you place your faith on Him, believing in your heart that He paid your debt of sin for you, you are saved at that moment.

It is the blood of Christ that pays our debt of sin and it was only shed once. Nothing we did made us worthy to be saved. God did it out of grace, which means unmerited favor. We weren’t saved by Christ’s suffering. We were saved by His blood. 

“In whom we have redemption THROUGH HIS BLOOD, even the forgiveness of sins:” (Colossians 1:14 KJV)
 
“And, having made peace THROUGH THE BLOOD OF HIS CROSS, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself…” (Colossians 1:20 KJV)
 
“Much more then, being now JUSTIFIED BY HIS BLOOD, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” (Romans 5:9 KJV)
 
“… ye were not redeemed with corruptible things…But with THE PRECIOUS BLOOD OF CHRIST:” (1 Peter 1:18-19 KJV)
 
Even back to the Old Testament book of Leviticus, we see the importance of the blood:
“For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” (Leviticus 17:11 KJV)

It is Jesus’ life-blood offering on the cross that pays our debt of sin before a perfectly holy God. And His payment is complete, meaning there’s nothing left of our debt that needs to be paid. All sin has been paid for (past, present and future).

While on the cross:
“When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said, It is finished: and He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost.” (John 19:30 KJV)
 
The phrase “it is finished” is the Greek word teleō (tetelestai) which means “to finish, to end, to complete, execute, conclude, to discharge (a debt).” It was customarily used as an accounting term in that century. A creditor would stamp that word on a bill when it was paid off, proving that the bill was “Paid in full.” You will see many commentaries translating “it is finished” as “paid in full.” At the point of the cross, all of our sins were future. If Jesus said, “Paid in full,” as He died on the cross, then there is no part of our debt left to be paid. 
 
Paul confirms this in Colossians 2:
“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened (made alive) together with Him, having forgiven you ALL trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross;” (Colossians 2:13-14 KJV)

How many sins did Paul say were forgiven? ALL sins, ALL trespasses. 

The book of Hebrews chapter 10 also confirms this:

“… we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. … And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” (Hebrews 10:10, 14, 17 KJV)

If Jesus’ one offering of Himself perfected us forever, then future sins we commit after we become saved cannot reverse that. We are perfected forever by His blood offering. All of our sins (past, present and future) will be remembered no more.

Jesus said those who believe in Him will NEVER face condemnation:

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” (John 5:24 KJV)

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me hath everlasting life.” (John 6:47 KJV)

If we cannot come into condemnation, then no future sin we commit can condemn us. They have all been paid for on the cross. 

So, did Christ’s sacrifice on the cross pay for all of our sins so that we are completely forgiven of all sins (past, present, and future) the moment we believe on Him? The answer is a resounding YES! 

John also says this at the start of chapter 2:

“I write unto you, little children, because your sins ARE forgiven you for His Name’s sake.” (1 John 2:12 KJV)

Then, why does the Apostle John say in 1 John 1:9 that we are to confess our sins to receive forgiveness if we are already forgiven? The answer is because there are two types of forgiveness discussed in Scripture: Judicial forgiveness where God is our Judge, and Parental forgiveness where God is our Father. Let’s look at the difference.

Judicial Versus Parental Forgiveness

Judicial Forgiveness is God dealing with us as Judge, accepting Christ’s sacrifice as payment in full against all of our sins which have violated His holy commandments. As Judge, He cancels the ordinances that are against us because of sin, removing the eternal condemnation penalty of sin. And we are forever saved.

And at that moment, because sin is no longer a barrier between us and God, God adopts us into His family. We become a child of God. From that moment on, God deals with us as a parent.

Parental Forgiveness is God dealing with us as our loving Father. Though our sins can no longer condemn us to hell, God works to rid us of the practice of sin in our daily lives.

Those who disagree with this concept point out that the terms “judicial forgiveness” and “parental forgiveness” are not found in the Bible, which is true. But neither is the term “Trinity,” yet we believe it because the Bible teaches it, without using the term. Here too as well with these terms.

Ephesians 4:30 says that sin in the life of a believers grieves the Holy Spirit.

“And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30 KJV)

If we have grieved God because of our behavior, should we not apologize to God, agreeing with Him that our behavior is sinful and then be willing to change? That’s what John is saying when he says believers should confess sins. When we do, God is faithful as our loving parent to forgive us and cleanse us. This is not an eternal cleansing related to salvation, which has already been settled on the cross. It is equivalent to Christ saying in John 13, when He washed the disciples’ feet, that they were already washed, already saved, and only needed to wash their feet. 

As believers, we need to cleanse ourselves from the daily practice of sin, even as we are already cleansed from the eternal condemnation of sin.

Judicial forgiveness is a one-time act that deals with what happened the very moment of salvation when we placed our faith in Christ. Parental forgiveness deals with what happens after that for the rest of our earthly lives, a process of development where we become more and more like Christ in our behavior, a process called “discipleship.”

Let’s illustrate this on a chart, which I’ve used in previous videos.

From the moment we are born, our righteousness before God is at 0%. We have no righteousness because God’s Word says in Romans 3:

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:” (Romans 3:23-24 KJV)

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23 KJV)

We have all sinned before a perfectly holy God and the wages of sin, what we have earned because of our sin, is death, eternal separation from God in a place of punishment called hell. But God, in His grace, out of His love and as a free gift, came and died on a cross in our place to pay our debt of sin.

The very moment we believe that, believing in Christ to save us because of what He did on the cross and that He died for us and rose again, at that very moment of faith, all of our sins (past, present and future) are forgiven. More than that, we are given His perfect righteousness and our righteous standing before God goes from 0% to 100%, perfect righteousness. From that moment forward, we stand in Christ’s righteousness, not our own. That is our new position before God and it will never change, one of perfect righteousness.

“For He (God the Father) hath made Him (Christ the Son) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV)

Jesus took on our sin and died for us, not so that we could become righteous through our own behavior and obedience, but that we could be “MADE” righteous through His sacrifice.

“For as by one man’s disobedience (Adam) many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One (Christ) shall many be MADE righteous.” (Romans 5:19 KJV)

We are forever righteous in God’s sight, not because of our own behavior or obedience, but because of Christ’s obedience. We are “MADE” righteous by God as a gift through faith. That is what happens at the moment of salvation. Because we are now perfectly righteous in His sight, God’s Holy Spirit immediately comes to live inside us, and we are “born again.” We become a totally new creature from that point forward.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV)

More than that, we are immediately adopted into God’s family. We become a child of God.

“For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:26 KJV)

“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” (Romans 8:15 KJV)

“But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13 KJV)

This is our new identity in Christ. This is our new position. We are forever righteous in His sight, so much so that Paul says in Ephesians 2:6 that we are already seated with Christ in heaven. We have everlasting life and will never come into condemnation, as Jesus said in John 5:24.

From that moment of faith in Christ forward, the penalty of sin is removed. God will never punish us and send us to hell on account of sin. We are saved forever and are free in Christ. We have freedom and liberty.

In Colossians 2, Paul said God blotted out the ordinances that were against us.

“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened (or made alive) together with Him, having forgiven you ALL trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross;” (Colossians 2:13-14 KJV)

In other words, He blotted out the violations of His laws that condemned us, so that they could never condemn us again. He nailed them along with our sins to the cross. That is God’s one-time act of Judicial Forgiveness, where He paid for our debt of sin and removed the ordinances or charges against us, so that we will never be condemned. We are forever forgiven because of Christ.

That is Judicial Forgiveness. So, why do we then need to confess sins as a daily practice?

Because the moment we are saved, though our position of who we are in Christ is firmly established and the penalty of sin has been removed, the practice of how we live with sin hasn’t changed yet. As new believers in Christ, sin is still very present in our lives and God wants us to deal with sin so that we learn to walk holy and blameless before Him. 

I was 30 years old when I was saved. That’s 30 years of learning to think and walk like the world does, in sinful practices. Those sinful ways didn’t disappear overnight. As a new believer, I began the process of sanctification, which means “to separate,” as in separating that which is holy from that which is unholy. 

As new believers, we start learning to walk in our new identity, separating ourselves from the unholiness of sin. The penalty of sin has already been removed because of Christ. From that point forward, the practice of sin needs to be removed. God works in us through His Spirit to do that. He faithfully works to help us get rid of the practice of sin in our daily lives. He’s pleased when we do and grieved when we don’t. It’s a process called “discipleship,” becoming transformed to be like Jesus in our daily practice. 

When we sin as believers, we need to recognize that sin before God and be willing to change. It has nothing to do with salvation but everything to do with how God will deal with us as His children.

We will never be perfectly sinless in our lives until the rapture comes. When the rapture happens, we will be given our eternal bodies. At that moment, the very presence of sin will be removed. At that point, we’ll be fit to live with God for eternity. But until that happens, God works with us as a faithful Parent to help us rid our lives of sin.

So, what does all this mean to us now as Christians? It means the penalty of sin has been removed, but the practice of sin is still there. We can’t be sent to hell because of sin, because sin has already been paid for on the cross. But sin is still present in our lives and God wants to work with us to change that. He wants us to walk sinless and blameless before Him, even as we already are already sinless and blameless before Him because of Jesus.

“Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.” (1 John 3:7 KJV)

In other words, you already are righteous in His sight because of Christ. Now God wants you to do righteousness, to live righteously in your daily lives. You are to do righteousness even as you are already righteous because of Christ.

But here’s the catch: Even though the penalty of sin has been done away with (in other words, we can never be sent to hell), there are still consequences to sin in our daily lives. Those consequences can include loss of blessings in this life, possibly ending your life early if you persist in sin, and loss of rewards in the next life, but not the loss of salvation, which is a free gift, not a reward.

God does not just sit idly by as His children sin in their daily lives. Though He has forgiven us from the eternal condemnation penalty of sin, He will nevertheless work in our lives to change us so that we learn not to sin in our daily practice. He does this through instruction and, if necessary, through chastening.

Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11:

“But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.” (1 Corinthians 11:32 KJV)
 
Paul wasn’t talking about eternal judgment, which was settled on the cross. He was speaking to believers about how God responds when we sin in our daily walk. God daily judges and corrects His children to keep them on the right path. He judges us, not as a Judge Who condemns the guilty, but as a loving Father Who is faithfully committed to developing His children in holiness. He can respond to our sinful practices with chastening, but it will always be out of love, not condemnation.
 
“For whom the LORD loveth He correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.” (Proverbs 3:12 KJV)
 
What this means is that, when we sin as Christians, we can move from a place of blessing, where God blesses us daily, to a place where God starts to withhold blessing and begins to discipline us.
 
God, for example, may choose to not hear our prayers:
“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” (1 Peter 3:7 KJV)
 
Unanswered prayer can be a chastening by God on account of sin. That doesn’t explain unanswered prayer in every situation. But when we do have unanswered prayers, we should examine our lives to see if there’s sin that may be hindering a desired response from God.
 
A believer can sin to where God judges them and affects their health or ends their physical life early. Examples include Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5, who were put to death because of sin, or the believers in 1 Corinthians 11 who were partaking of the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner, some of whom were sick, and some had died. None of these lost their salvation, but their health was affected, and in some cases, their physical lives were ended early by God because of sin. 
 
God is very patient and loving with us but does not tolerate sin in a believer’s life. Yes, we’re forever forgiven and saved. Yes, His love for us never ends. Yes, we remain a child of God and our debt of sin has been paid in full. Yes, the penalty of sin (eternal condemnation) has been forever removed. But the practice of sin in a believer’s life is still there. Daily, God deals with the practice of sin in a believer’s life, and we also need to deal with it.
 
Believers Deal With Daily Sins Through Confession
 
When John says,
“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 KJV)
 
The word, “confess,” is the Greek word, “homologeō,” which means “to say the same thing as another, to agree with, to not deny, to admit or declare one’s self guilty of what one is accused of.” Interestingly, the word also can mean, ” to praise, to celebrate.” We see an admission of guilt along with praise and celebration. Both are present.
 
To confess our sins as believers simply means agreeing with God that our behavior is not right before Him with a sincere desire to change that behavior, while at the same time praising Him for already having paid the price of our sin through the blood of Christ and celebrating that we are already eternally forgiven. We don’t ignore sin, thinking that it’s already covered by the blood of Christ, so it doesn’t matter. Sin in our daily lives matters a lot to God. We acknowledge sin with repentance, praise and celebration. 
 
We see this demonstrated in the life of Paul. In Romans 7, Paul was clearly in anguish over ongoing sin in his life:
“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. … For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord…” (Romans 7:18-19, 22-25 KJV)
 
Paul acknowledges his sin before God, sin so vile in his own eyes that he refers to himself as a “wretched man.” He admits his sin before God even though he is already saved. He agrees with God that his behavior is not what it should be. But then look at how it ends: “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Paul ends his confession of sin, not in guilt, shame or condemnation, but with thanksgiving, praise and celebration.
 
Paul demonstrated what John said in 1 John 1:9.
“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 KJV)
 
When we look at 1 John 1:9, what does it mean to be cleansed? Aren’t we cleansed already? From a standpoint of eternal judgment, yes, we are cleansed forever by the blood of Christ. So, what exactly gets cleansed here in the life of a believer?
 
The word “cleanse” in the Greek is the word, “katharizō,” from which we get our English word, “catharsis,” which means, “a purification that brings about spiritual renewal.” John is not talking about God wiping sin off our record so that we won’t be sent to hell. He’s talking about God working in our lives to purify us and renew us spiritually so that we can walk with Him and please Him in our daily lives.
 
When we confess our sins, God cleanses us by purifying us and renewing us spiritually from unrighteousness, literally transforming us to become more like Christ. God is working 24/7 in every Christian’s life to purify that saved child of God so that he or she becomes like Christ. This purification and renewal also results in God taking us from that place where He had to chasten us because of our sinful behavior, back to a place of blessing. We are restored to a place of blessing with God. 
 
Some call this a restoration of our fellowship with God that was broken when we sinned as a believer. But I don’t think that’s a good way to view it. As believers, we never lose fellowship with God. We don’t go in and out of fellowship as we sin. Hebrews 4:16 says:
 
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16 KJV)
 
When we sin as believers, we never lose fellowship with God to where we can’t go before Him. He is our faithful and loving Father Who longs for His children to come to Him. He’s not going to turn you away no matter how badly you’ve blown it. He is a good Father Who loves you so much He died for you. He will not turn you away. He said:
 
“… I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Hebrews 13:5 KJV)
 
Never means never. No conditions. Our fellowship with God remains unbroken, even when we sin. Yet, as with any good parent, when a child disobeys or exhibits unpleasant behavior, that behavior must be dealt with in a loving manner. And the sweet fellowship between parent and child is affected to where the parent has to deal with the child. But that fellowship is never broken or lost.
 
So it is with God. God may suspend blessing and instead may begin chastening or disciplining us, but we remain in fellowship with Him to where we can always approach Him. But for our fellowship to return to a place of blessing, we have to be willing to confess or admit to sin and deal with it.
 
Also note that not all chastening is due to sin. God disciplines all of His children to develop us and we should welcome that discipline. But in cases where the discipline is directed at sinful behavior on our part, the confession of that sin and a change in our behavior will result in God stopping the painful discipline and returning us to a place of blessing.
 
But even when He does discipline us on account of our sins, He does so for our good. We see this motivation in Hebrews 12:
 
“… He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness.” (Hebrews 12:10 NASB95)
 
God’s motivation is to restore us and purify us. All condemnation for sin was settled on the cross, so this is not condemnation. As saved Christians, God disciplines us for our good, that we may become holy, as He is holy. So, we are to obey Him. 
 
But why does John say in 1 John 2:1 that we need an Advocate if we’re already forgiven?
“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:” (1 John 2:1 KJV)
 
As our Advocate, Jesus is not asking the Father to forgive us so that He won’t send us to hell. That question has already been settled. When we sin, Jesus our Advocate prays to the Father on our behalf for our restoration. We see an example of this in the life of Peter, in Luke 22. Right before Peter denied the Lord 3 times, Jesus said to him:
 
“But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” (Luke 22:32 KJV)
 
Jesus prayed on Peter’s behalf that his faith would not collapse. When we sin, Christ is praying on our behalf as our Advocate before the Father, asking the Father to sustain us and restore us. The penalty of sin has already been dealt with on the cross. His ongoing work as Advocate is to ask the Father to restore us to righteousness. As believers who still sin, like Peter, we sometimes don’t even see our need for restoration in the midst of our sin. But Christ does, and He faithfully prays to the Father for us as our Advocate for restoration.
 
What this means is that when we sin as believers, God is still for us, not against us. His discipline may feel like He’s against us, but He’s not. He disciplines us to bring us back to Him so that He can restore us. 
 
So, to sum up, 1 John 1:9 is directed to believers and has nothing to do with salvation. It has everything to do with God being a faithful parent to His children. If we’re saved and we grieve the Holy Spirit with sinful behavior, we don’t just ignore our sin because we’re forever saved by the blood of Jesus. Yes, we’re saved. But we’ve also just grieved the Holy Spirit. We need to confess that, agreeing with God that our behavior is wrong and have a willingness to change, while at the same time we thank Him for having paid the price for that sin and we celebrate. Even though we just sinned, we remain a saved child of God. And Christ, our Advocate, is always speaking to the Father on our behalf to sustain us and restore us, that our faith may not fail.
 
Confession of sin (admitting we’re wrong combined with praise and celebration) should be a daily practice in our relationship with God. Jesus taught this when He gave us the Lord’s prayer. He gave the Lord’s prayer not to unbelievers but to His disciples, to those already saved who could call God their Father. From Matthew 6, Jesus said:
 
“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” (Matthew 6:9-12 KJV)
 
Note that Jesus instructs His disciples to pray for forgiveness daily. Note also that God’s forgiveness toward us in this prayer is conditional based on our willingness to forgive. This is not talking about salvation forgiveness (which is unconditional) but forgiveness so that we may receive God’s daily blessings. If we want the full measure of daily blessings from God, we need to be willing to turn from sin. This has NOTHING to do with salvation but everything to do with us dealing with sin in our daily lives before our loving Father. God will not tolerate sin or bless us in full measure daily if we persist in sin. Yet, even though we sin, we will still be saved on account of Christ. We will still be blessed by remaining His child. He will NEVER leave us or forsake us.
 
In the Lord’s prayer, Jesus taught that we are to confess sin daily. We are to keep short accounts with God of sin in our lives so that we leave sin behind, remain in His blessing, and become like Christ.
 
Daily confession of sin is not a return to legalism and guilt, because at the same time that we confess sin, we are rejoicing, thanking and praising God because He has forever wiped our debt of sin clean by the blood of the cross so that we are not eternally condemned.
 
As Christians, we are to obey God. God promises to reward us if we do, or we could lose rewards if we don’t. Going back to our chart, salvation is a free gift that can never be lost. Rewards, on the other hand, which include blessings in this life or eternal rewards in the next life, depend on our behavior. I won’t go through a discussion of rewards here. I will include a link at the end of this video to another video I did dealing with the topic of rewards if you want more information.
 
The point is this: When we sin, we need to confess our sin to God (which means simply agreeing with God that what we are doing is sinful) so that we can change our ways and move toward righteousness in our daily practice, even as we are already righteous in His sight because of Christ. Through confession, we move from that place of discipline back to a place of blessing. In so doing, God is purifying us to leave sin behind in our daily practice of sin and become more and more like Jesus. This is also John’s motivation for writing the letter of 1 John, that we should examine ourselves that we are in the faith and know that we are saved. 

“These things have I written unto you that believe on the Name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” (1 John 5:13 KJV)

 Finally, and I’ll close with this:

Do you know that you have eternal life? Who is God to you? Is He your Judge Who will judge you for your sin? Or is He your loving Parent? If you’ve never dealt with your sin before God to where you know with 100% certainty that God will forgive you and give you eternal life, today is the day to know with certainty that you are saved. God is a good Father and there is redemption. There’s life in Christ if you will but take it by believing on Him to save you.

Jesus is our perfect, spotless lamb, whose blood cleanses us from all sin. We appropriate that by faith, by believing on Him to save us, believing that His blood was shed for us to pay our debt of sin. That is saving faith. That is what saves us.

Above all else, make sure you are saved. We are not saved by our own righteousness, by doing good. We are saved only through faith in Christ, acknowledging that we are sinners before God and believing that He died in our place on the cross to pay for our sins. He died for us so that our debt to God is paid in full. And He rose from the dead, showing us that through faith in Him, we can have eternal life. Jesus said:

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me hath everlasting life.” (John 6:47 KJV)

Salvation = God’s Grace Alone Through Faith Alone In Christ Alone

Believing the Gospel means placing your entire trust in Christ for your salvation, believing that He:

  1. Died for your sins
  2. Was buried 
  3. Rose from the dead

As it says in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4.

Nothing more. Nothing less. There are no other requirements to be saved than to believe in Jesus. Once you place your faith in Christ for your salvation, you are born again, and you are forever a child of God. Our Father is a good Father Who will never abandon you but will preserve you in the faith and never let you go. 

If you are not certain about your salvation, time is getting very late. Don’t take the chance of missing out on God. 

Making Sure You Are Saved Is As Easy As ABC

Admit to God that you have sinned.

Believe that Jesus, God’s Son, died to pay for
your sins 100%, was buried and rose from the dead.

Call upon Jesus and ask Him to forgive you and save you.

If you make that decision to call upon Him, God gives you this assurance:

“For whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13 KJV)

Thank you for watching.


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