Grace and peace, brothers and sisters.
Unconfessed sin is the number one problem faced by many Christians today, and is what gives Satan free reign over many of our lives. I cannot over-emphasize the importance of confession in the life of the Christian. Confession of sins is what keeps us in a right relationship with the Lord Jesus.
The Bible says that if we say that we have no sin in our lives, we are only deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us (1 John 1:8); but it goes on to say,
“If we confess our sins, He [Jesus] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (v. 9).
You may be surprised to learn that many who name the name of Christ have never even heard this verse; and of those who have, very few have ever paid attention to the preceding verse, which gives the context of the passage. There is good reason for this. Satan has deceived many Christians into believing that when they got saved, the blood of Jesus immediately washed away all their sins, past and future. But this is not true. While it is true that the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:10), what most people fail to realize is that only Original Sin (the sin of Adam and Eve) and the sins we committed before we were saved are washed away when we accept the Lord Jesus as our Saviour:
“God hath set forth [Jesus] to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God” (Romans 3:25).
All sins (including generational sin) committed after our conversion have to be confessed for the blood of Jesus to be applied to them. The reason for this is simple: when we don’t confess our sins to God, we are in effect saying to Him that we are not sorry that we sinned against Him. The Bible says that “godly sorrow leadeth to repentance.” In other words, if we are truly sorry that we have sinned against a holy God, then we will repent of our sin and ask His forgiveness. And, if we don’t ask for His forgiveness, then we are not truly sorry and have not repented.
1 John 1:9 makes it clear that if we do confess our sins, the Lord Jesus will forgive our sins. On the other hand, the Bible also makes it clear that if we willfully sin after we are saved, then the blood of Jesus will not apply to those sins:
“For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins” (Hebrews 10:26).
No true Christian willfully sins. So, in that Paul wrote this letter to Christians believers, it stands to reason that what is meant here is that if we sin and do not ask for forgiveness, then we are willfully sinning, and the blood of Jesus will not be applied to those sins.
This is extremely important. Many, if not most, Christians are not confessing their sins as they should; and are suffering unnecessarily in their walk, believing their suffering to be part of God’s will for their lives. This is especially true with Christians who are suffering from mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder (yes, many Christians do suffer from mental illness). This, however, is not true. These people are suffering not because it is the will of God, but because they have forgotten that God has called us to righteousness. We are to be holy as God is Holy, and we cannot do that if we are living in sin. If we are not confessing our sins, then we are living in sin.
When we confess our sins (again, to God, not to men), the Lord Jesus forgives them and wipes the slate clean and returns us to the pristine state we were in when we first got saved. But, did you know that when we don’t confess our sins, we are living in sin (willfully sinning) and are thus in open rebellion against God? Our sins accumulate over the years until we are basically in the same condition we were in before we got saved. We are no longer washed, but are filthy. In that state, we become the enemy of God, who cannot come anywhere near sin. And when God retreats from us, the devil advances.
This is why so many Christians today are suffering unnecessarily and are living in defeat instead of enjoying the victory that Jesus purchased for them at Calvary. Many have intimated to me that they cannot feel the presence of God in their lives anymore: they can’t pray, they can’t read their Bibles, and they have lost all joy. There is good reason for this: they are living in sin.
You must understand that when we do not confess our sins, we are no longer living under grace, but under the law. The Bible teaches that the law is death, because no man can keep the law. If we are living according to the law, but cannot keep it, then we are giving Satan authority over our lives. We become his “legal and lawful prey.” The only way to revoke that authority is to confess those sins that gave the devil access. Then Jesus will go to bat for us.
The purpose of 1 John 1:8,9 is to remind us that we must confess our sins so that we are not guilty of willful sinning. This is proven two verses later, as the Apostle John says, “
“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate [lawyer] with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1).
The Beloved Apostle is giving us hope that when we do fall prey to sin, we should know that if we repent and confess those sins, the Lord Jesus will defend us before the Father from the accusations of Satan, the accuser of the brethren. And Jesus always wins his cases.
So, brothers and sisters, repent, confess your sins, and get back into a right relationship with God.
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise” (Psalm 51:17).
Be encouraged and look up; for your redemption draweth nigh.
The Still Man