1 John 1:9 – Part 1

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.

Take a look at this verse carefully; again, it is packed with theology and practical implications for our daily living. I’ll try to unpack it a bit to see if we can really understand what this verse is communicating. Because of the amazing amount of content packed in a single verse, I’m planning two posts to fully explain.

First, let’s briefly discuss what this verse is NOT: It is not a salvation verse. I believe it is a mistake to use this verse with a nonbeliever in a call to salvation. I’ve heard people say you need to confess all your sins to God to be saved. Impossible! Since salvation is by grace through faith, the work of naming all your sins is not required. Many new converts do not even know all the sin in their life since they often do not know the scripture! To believe we can exhaustively name our sins is absurd and potentially just prideful. Also, many false religious systems encourage followers to confess sins; many of these people with quite repentant hearts I’m sure. The knowledge of sin and the desire to have it removed do not qualify you as a child of God. Even repentance isn’t enough. The sin of unbelief: of rejection of Jesus Christ as the son of God and only intercessor between God and man is the sin that needs to be repented of first!

Reading the 1st chapter of 1 John a few times will give you the clear impression that he is writing to people who’ve already been born again. This letter is written with 2 primary purposes, which build on each other. John is calling the hearers to examine themselves to see that they are of the faith. He is concerned that the people of the church are using grace as a license to sin. He realizes, by the will of the Holy Spirit, that sinful men who hear of the matchless grace of God in Christ will use that as a reason to live lawlessly. Men everywhere will claim justification by faith alone, apart from works as justification for evil. John issues a warning to God’s people, and maybe more so to the false convert, that this is not acceptable: that the new creation believers have become, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, will not fail to manifest these good works which were before-ordained. (Eph 2:10).

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Jeremiah 17:9

The rebirth is not a process; it is not a progressive move “God-ward,” neither is it a new way of life, an ideology of sorts. It is a singular act whereby God replaces the sick, wicked, deceitful heart we’ve all inherited from Adam, with a new heart: a heart indwelt by the Holy Spirit: a heart which desperately loves Jesus Christ and submits to His truth.

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