"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (I John 1:9).
In the original Greek language in which the Apostle John wrote, confessing our sins literally means agreeing with God and His Word about them. This involves applying ourselves to knowing the truth about our sins, and in times of unbelief and disobedience, making conscious choices to believe the truth in order to experience the restorative forgiveness and cleansing of the Lord Jesus Christ.
"If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin" (I John 1:7).
In this series of messages, we have considered some of the truths with which we must agree with God and His Word concerning sin and forgiveness in the life of born again Christians.
1. God desires to forgive us far more than we desire to be forgiven. "He delighteth in mercy" (Micah 7:18).
2. God's provision for forgiveness precedes our need. "The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Revelation 13:8).
3. The Lord Jesus Christ "appears in the presence of God" for us. "He ever liveth to make intercession for us" (Hebrews 9:24; 7:24).
4. God does not place sin on the account of His trusting children, dealing with us as a loving Father rather than a distant judge (Romans 4:8).
5. Our initial response to God in seeking forgiveness must be the determination to believe that only He can provide it (Psalm 130:4).
6. We must take full responsibility for our sins, blaming no one but ourselves (Genesis 3:12-13).
7. Confession involves faith, that is, we must believe that God forgives us when we come in the way He has made for our pardon. The person and work of the Lord Jesus is the way (John 14:6).
So much more could be considered, and this barely begins the discussion of so vital a matter. As we conclude our consideration, may I suggest that we all determine to grow in the Bible's teaching about God's forgiveness and cleansing. We cannot agree with truth that we do not know, and the more we understand of our Heavenly Father's desire to restore us in times of failure (and the work Christ has done to make it possible), the more we will effectively confess our sins. A cleansed conscience, godly sorrow, true repentance, and joyful confidence will fill our hearts and minds, and rather than wallowing in paralyzing self pity, we will arise to once again trust and obey God.
Our opinion of the atonement of the Lord Jesus must increasingly align with our Heavenly Father's perfect knowledge thereof. He holds a far higher view of our Savior's sacrifice than we do, and upon this basis, provides powerful restoration to the believer who agrees with Him. As always, the issue is simply who is the Lord Jesus, what had He done, what is He doing, and what does He promise to do forevermore for those who have received His gracious gift of salvation? Growing understanding of the answers to these questions will lead to growing faith and obedience. And, in times of sin, we will remember and affirm those truths that quickly restore us to a faithful walk along the Blood-stained and grace-paved path of righteousness.
"For Thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon Thee.