VERSE OF THE DAY
But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
What Does 1 John 1:9 Mean? ►
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9(NASB)
Although an unbeliever can gain much comfort from this verse, it is important to recognize that this is a verse that is addressed to Christians.
For the unbeliever this verse is certainly a glorious word of truth.. that the one who confesses their sinfulness with a penitent heart of true repentance will be forgiven – but this truth must not be divorced from the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ – the Anointed Messiah and promised Saviour, Whose sacrificial death paid the price for our sins and Whose glorious resurrection transferred us from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God’s dear Son – making us a new creation in Christ, clothing us in His own righteousness and sending His Holy Spirit to permanently indwell our heart.
We were born dead in trespasses and sins, separated from God and eternally damned.. but by faith in Christ Jesus our Saviour, our sins were forgiven, all our sins – all our past, present and future sins – and we were cleansed from all unrighteousness.
We were made one with Christ, united with Him – positioned in Him, brought back into fellowship with God our Maker, and given the right to enter the throne room of the Almighty .. and find grace to help in time of need. And we even became entitled to call Him “Abba – Father’, by grace through faith in Christ Jesus our Lord.
But although the power of sin was severed at the cross, it seeks to retain authority in our lives and although justified by grace through faith in Christ, we are too often willing to be influenced to sin.. by our old sin nature – our old Adamic nature.
Nothing can separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus and nothing can break our union with our living Lord – but sin breaks fellowship with the Father. Sin severs our communion with God. Sin is the barrier that the Christian can erect, which breaks our sweet fellowship with Himself and cuts us off from communion with the Father….. BUT if a Christian confesses their sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Although our post-salvation sins were forgiven forever at the cross of Christ, fellowship with the Father is broken when we allow the old sin nature to direct our lives, which means that the communion we once enjoyed with Him, is broken. But if we take every thought captive to Christ, walk in the light as He is in the light and if we confess any sinful acts and attitudes (whether they be wrong things that we have done or godly things that we have not done) God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, to cleanse us from all unrighteousness and to remember our sin no more.
What does 1 John 1:9 mean?
In this fourth “if” statement, John refers to confession of our sins to God. The pattern of positive / negative statements once again sets up the reader to expect a positive “if” statement in this phrase (see notes in 1 John 1:8). Confession of sins has always been seen as a godly practice among those who turn to the Lord (Leviticus 5:5; 16:21; Numbers 5:7; Ezra 10:1) and has been seen as a source of healing (James 5:16).
Those who confess sins are reassured that God will forgive, and remove that sin’s impact on fellowship. Note that even though this passage is written to believers, John states that those who confess sins are both forgiven and cleansed. Though believers are forgiven at the point of salvation, there is also an ongoing sense in which believers need to confess sin and experience forgiveness and cleansing. Cleansing was an important part of the Mosaic Law, mentioned some 14 times in the book of Leviticus alone. It was the goal of those who brought a sacrifice to the Lord in the tabernacle and temple.
When we have an argument with others, it creates a barrier to fellowship. Since a barrier between us and God will always be our fault, our need for confession is important for our relationship to God.
First John 1:5–10 opens the main topic of John’s letter. God is entirely goodness and truth, and those who follow God cannot also follow evil and falsehood. John offers a pattern of “if” statements, comparing each to the truth. In particular, John mentions those who claim to be entirely free from sin, or to have never sinned. Such a belief is literally the opposite of the gospel. No person is sinless other than Jesus Christ.
Chapter 1 re-states the fact that Jesus is the eternal Son of God. John confirms that he has personally seen and heard the things he is teaching. God’s truth is presented as “light,” while false teachings are presented as “darkness.” Those who hold to the truth are saved from sin; those who claim to have no sin at all are self-deceived