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Confession of Sin and Forgiveness 1st John 1:8-10


Confession of Sin and Forgiveness

Text. 1 John 1:8-10.
John is not holding back. He is telling us that WE are sinful. He is speaking to Christians, and saying that we act sinfully because we are sinners by nature. It’s the way we are, it’s the way we are born, its the what separates us from God, who is sinless, whose primary characteristic is HOLINESS, – as John has already told us… God is LIGHT. God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

Now the problem with sin today, is that so many of us either ignore it, or just deny its existence.

The Humanist will just plainly deny that sin exists. He will tell you mankind is essentially good, and that his lot can be improved by better education, or better housing, or nutrition, or counselling or financial support.

Some people will admit that we do sin, but then deny that we are sinners. This is an ancient heresy, – called Pelagianism, – where our misdeeds are just due to a bad example during our youth, or a poor upbringing, or even some sort of temporary insanity. It’s the kind of reasoning that you will hear in some courtrooms, when a lawyer pleads mitigating circumstances.

Others remark that ‘to err is human.‘ My sin, Oh, that’s just me! You just take me as you find me! Others make excuses. I know that I’m not perfect, but, my faults are not too bad, compared with others. There’s worse things I could be doing…

But none of these excuses will do. sin us not just doing awful things – sin is often just falling short of God’s standards, and we all do that. We are sinners, and we must admit it, before that sin can be dealt with. So in this passage, John reminds us that there are two things we can do about sin. We can IGNORE IT, (v.8 and 10) or we can CONFESS IT (v9). We WILL do one of those things. And, as John points out, both of them have consequences:-

1. What happens if we just ignore our sin?
When we ignore our sin…
* We deceive ourselves. We are just simply believing our own lie. Self deception means that we never see ourselves as God sees us, and so God’s light never shines into our hearts. The folly of human nature is that even though we know where the answers lie–God’s Word–we don’t turn there for fear of what it will say.
* We have no place for truth/No place for God’s Word. No room in our hearts for God’s truth. Jesus said, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” (John 17:17) No room for God’s Word, for we close our minds to it, and shut up our hearts from its cleansing effect.
* We make God out to be a liar. You see, God has said that we are sinners. He has declared it. Romans 3:10 As it is written: There is none righteous, no, not one, Romans 3:23, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God – and we are saying that when he says these things he is wrong and we are right, and making him out to be a liar. God’s Word is not in us.

But above all of these important facts that John lays before us, there is one awful consequence of the denial of sin – it is that if we are not sinners, then Jesus death on the Cross was all for nothing. The Bible teaches us as a central truth, that Jesus died for our sins on the Cross. If we claim that we are not sinners, why did Jesus have to die? Ignoring our sin is to be eternally shut off from God’s mercy and grace, to suffer the dreadful consequences of being eternally out of God’s presence and fellowship. We literally cut ourselves off from eternal life.

2. What happens if we Confess our sin?
The word that is used for confess here is very important. It is a voluntary act. Confession is not just waiting until you are caught. It is recognising sin within you, being sorry for it and confessing it to God.

And confession is not just saying ‘Ok, I might have got it wrong form time to time…’ Confession is ‘homologomen’ – literally, ‘saying the same thing as’ – in this case, saying the same things about your sin, that God says about it. And what does he say? He says that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, – in sin did my mother conceive me, that the wages of sin is death, that sin separates and condemns and kills… When I confess my sins to God (and only or primarily to God, – not to any man, unless we happened to have wronged that particular man) I am agreeing with God, that everything he says about me and my sin is right, and applies to me, and I am truly sorry that I have offended him. Now, when we do THAT:

We experience God’s faithfulness. He will keep his promises’ for FAITHFULNESS IS PART OF HIS CHARACTER! Psalm 130:3 -8

We obtain God’s righteousness. He is JUST! And that means that he won’t require punishment for sin twice. That wouldn’t be just, that would be an injustice. And Jesus has already taken the punishment for sin on the cross. God’s justice is satisfied in Christ. Look at the construction of the verse. He is described as righteous, we are described as UNRIGHTEOUSNESS.

Our sins are forgiven. Not just forgiven, but forgotten. Buried, in the deep sea of God’s forgetfulness. Psalm 103:10 
We are cleansed from sin. Our sins are blotted out. At the cross. Where Jesus died and took our sins, he also gives us His
righteousness! It’s a transaction, and when we confess, repent, that exchange takes place, and we are made partakers in His righteousness. So God does not see us in our sins, he sees the blood of Christ, shed for us.

So, when we confess our sins, – in the way that the Bible describes – there are truly amazing results.

Confess your sin to God and receive his forgiveness, his cleansing and salvation and eternal life!
Bob McEvoy

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