Confess Your Sin Lest You Deceive Yourself
Did you know that it is possible for us to lead ourselves astray into sin simply by not acknowledging it’s presence in our life? In the context of 1 John 1, the apostle is speaking to the separation of light and dark and the testimony of Christ being one with the Father and that He is the Father of light. He says, “if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we will have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin.” This is the verse preceding the passage we are looking at today and gives us a good overview of what John is going to say next.
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us. -1 John 1:8-10
Lets break down these verses one at a time as each one addresses a different concept of sin and confession in our lives. Verse 8, “If we say we have no sin.” This is a conditional statement that should make us pay attention and think about the concept of sin for a moment. What is sin? Sin is missing the mark. It is failing to meet the standards that God has set for us. Think about that and look at the conditional statement once again. “If we say we have no sin,… we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” If we fail to acknowledge that we fail to meet God’s standards, we deceive ourselves. This is talking about the impersonal idea of sin. The inherent nature that permeates all of mankind. Sin as a concept. When we deny that sin is a real thing, that we can bend the rules, do bad things without consequence, fail to live up to God’s standards, we are denying the truth. Understanding this truth is the fundamental principle to understanding ourselves and our need for a savior. As long as we deny the presence of sin, we lead ourselves astray into unrighteousness.
Verse 9 then talks about confession. Once we have acknowledged the presence of sin in our lives the next step is to confess that sin before God almighty. Again we have a conditional statement, “if we confess our sins.” Once again there is a required action on our part to address sin in our lives. The term confess here literally means, “to say the same thing.” That is to take the view of God and say the same ting as Him when it comes to our fallen condition. Its not always easy but the good news is that when we do so, “He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” When we deny sin we lead ourselves into unrighteousness, but when we confess, we are cleansed from that deception. You see God is the only one who can absolve our sin. That is why this process must take place. It is a humbling, a self sacrificing act that says, “God, You are the Lord over my life, You are the only true Light, and my pride is not going to keep me from coming before You and confessing my failure to You.” Our pride leads us astray but our humility allows God to act righteously upon our sin that we might be saved from it.
Finally in verse 10 there is a focus on the personal act of sin. Up until this point sin is addressed more as a concept, in a broad general sense, rather than a personal act of grievance against the Lord. “If we say that we have not sinned…” We can affirm that which is said in verses 8 and 9 but never truly confess our personal involvement in sin. I think of the rich man who came to Jesus and said, “What must I do to be saved?” Jesus told him to follow the commandments and the rich man said I have done so all my life. Jesus then tells him to sell all he owned and follow Him. That made the rich man sad because he had many possessions. The rich man was willing to confess that sin existed, that he needed to be saved, but he was unwilling to admit that he had a personal role in keeping himself from truly following after Christ. Not only do we need to acknowledge sin, take the proper actions to saying the same thing as God about our sin, but we need to take personal responsibility for our sin. If we do not do this, “we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.”
God paid the ultimate sacrifice so that we might be free of our sin condition. He allowed His own son to be crucified and separated from Him while carrying the burden of our sin to the grave. Christ arose from the dead conquering the sin and death and provided us a gateway by which we could reestablish our relationship with the Father. That’s an amazing story right there. In fact it is the Gospel, The “Good News!” It is the crux of all history the apex and pinnacle of the biblical narrative and when we deny our personal involvement in the death of Christ, when we deny that our acts of unrighteousness are the reason God had to send his son, we call Him a liar. He throw His act of love right in His face and say, “Its not necessary, its not real.” What arrogance it takes to do such a thing. Yet, we do it often when we are too prideful to go before the throne and ask for forgiveness in prayer. Remember what the Lord has done for you and reciprocate his love for you by not leading yourself astray into unrighteousness, but confess your sinful state and your personal involvement in sin to the Lord and He will be faithful and just to forgive you.