We see in the Bible that we are are called to confess our sin. For example, John tells us, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous (just) to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).” We are called to confess and repent form sin and it is crucial that we do it (Mark 1:15).
Who are we confessing our sin to? In this passage, John is directing the reader to confess their sin to God as he is the one who forgives. God is the only one who forgives and He freely forgives because of Jesus did for us through his death and resurrection (1 Timothy 1:15).
What leads to confession and repentance?
The Bible tells us that it is God’s love that draws us to repentance (Romans 2:4). Confession comes when we realize the seriousness that sin is and its offensiveness to God in comparison to his love and grace. When we look upon God’s grace, which we do not deserve, and see his steadfast love it draws us to repentance and obedience.
Confessing sin is not a blanket statement saying, “God I am sorry for my sin” It is being mindful, reflecting, on what you did against God and didn’t do of what God asks.
This is being mindful of the sins of commission and the sins of omission. Sins of commission would be doing the things that God said not to do. Sins of omission would be NOT doing the things that God commands.
This is not just confessing the big sins like lying, lust, or pride or greed or hate… This is reflecting on the heart issues of our doubts and why. Our lack of response to God and why. See, this ultimately reflects our hearts and how we are towards God. That our goodness is like dirty rags. That we ourselves fall short and are dependent on Christ (Ephesians 2:1-10).
In this passage John (the beloved disciple/apostle) we see two parts towards confession.
The Miracle is in God Who Forgives
But we don’t stop with realizing the seriousness of our sin but we continue with the promise of our Great God who forgives our sin.
The miracle is not found in confession, no, the miracle is found in our faithful God who is full of grace and his willingness to forgive. We are called to confess but God is the one who forgives.
You and I are called to have a contrite heart (Psalm 51), a genuine sorrow for our sin. God is the one who creates the clean heart. The promise that is found in 1 John 1:9 is that when we genuinely confess our sin, God what? He forgives us and cleanses us from all unrighteousness. This happens because Jesus took the punishment for our sin on the cross. We are greatly forgiven because we have a great Savior.
We are cleansed showing that our sin that taints and stains us is washed completely away. That is why we can say confidently that there therefore is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).
We can trust this because God who forgives, does it faithfully.
The apostle John also points out that God is faithful to forgive us. He does it faithfully! This is a picture of God’s character, that he in his character is faithful. He is faithful even when we are not (2 Timothy 2:13). He is faithful to forgive as Jesus was faithful to endure the cross (Hebrews 12:2).
We do not have to fret or worry that the weight of our sin is hanging on to us. We do not need to stress that we need to do more or something different for our forgiveness. It has been done by our faithful Lord. “For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift-not from works, so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8-9 CSB).”
I am thankful that not only we can confess our sin but more importantly our sin is forgiven and we are cleansed from all unrighteousness because of the atoning work of Jesus Christ!