April 9, 2015
1 John 1:8-10
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
If yesterday’s lesson was, “Self deception makes us immune from the truth,” today’s lesson is, “Self awareness opens the way for the truth to set us free.”
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
John is giving us a major insight into both the broken nature of people and the merciful nature of God. The nature and character of God is beautifully and perfectly seen in Jesus Christ. He is “faithful and just” and forgiving in a way that actually changes us.
We simply cannot purify ourselves from “all unrighteousness,” but Jesus can. While we cannot purify ourselves, we do have the power in our will to prevent it from happening. Perhaps the most critical word in today’s text, v.9, is, “if.”
“If we confess our sins.” Everything hinges on this massive “if.” Of course we learn in v. 8 that the reason we fail to confess our sins is because we have lost awareness of them. They are who we have become. Over the course of long periods of time, we ever so slowly walk away from God. The Gospel of Jesus Christ says that even if we are a million miles away one simple act can restore us to the immediate blessing of fellowship with God. “If we confess our sins.”
It’s a catch 22 though. How can we confess our sins if we have no sense of them? How can we confess our sins if we have become hardened to them in our hearts? Here’s my take. Confession doesn’t begin with naming our sins. It begins with claiming the truth that we are sinners. Remember, we aren’t sinners because we sin. We sin because we are sinners. That word “sinner” is loaded with all kind of shame-filled baggage. To identify myself as a sinner is not to heap shame on myself. It’s the only way to become free of shame. To identify myself as a sinner is the first step on the journey to becoming aware of my “sins.” Finally, to identify myself as a sinner is the only way to not only be cleansed from sin but progressively set free from it.
Because of the finished work of Jesus Christ through his death, resurrection and ascension, sin has lost its power. Be clear though, sin will not go away quietly. It’s no match for the power of the grace of God in Jesus Christ, but we have a clear role to play in the process. It will come down to one big “if.”
J.D. Walt writes daily for Seedbed’s Daily Text. He serves as Seedbed’s Sower in Chief. Follow him @jdwalt on Twitter or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Get the Daily Text delivered to your inbox fresh every morning. Subscribe HERE.