1 John 1:8-10
If We Confess Our Sins
It’s true: We sin. Even as born again, Spirit-filled, regenerated believers, we still sin. Granted, we are supposed to be growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord daily such that the shattered image of Adam within us slowly gives way to the renewed image of Christ; and, we should be looking less like ourselves and more like Jesus every day (John 3:30). But the fact remains, we still sin. The sinful nature still cleaves to us. The Apostle Paul described the battle we experience well when he spoke of the antithesis between the “flesh” (sinful nature) and the Spirit living within us. The two cannot mix; we either live by one or the other. So we must crucify the sinful nature so to live unto God (Romans 8:13).
But even so, the sinful nature is never completely dead. Paul refers to this in Romans 7:15: “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” We know exactly what the Apostle is talking about: the trivial matters over which we worry or get angry, the lustful thoughts, jealousies and envies, grudges, and the list goes on. And those only have to do with the mind; I haven’t mentioned the sins we commit.
Why do we do these things? We must remember that sin is not first and foremost a matter of what we do but a matter of who we are as sinners saved by grace. We do not sin to become sinners; we sin because we are sinners. This sinful nature is the result of our ancient rebellion. But through the Spirit’s work within us, we are being slowly restored—which restoration only awaits its completion when the day comes—for we have the promise: “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).
Apparently, there were some to whom the beloved Apostle was writing who thought they had no sin. There were such heretical ideas circulating in the early Church. It was a by-product of the Gnosticism I spoke of the other day which was “in the air” at that time. Through some special knowledge these thought they had received from on high, they considered themselves above sin. The idea is both a lie and plainly absurd. But there is a true remedy for our sins: Confession. All we need do is to sincerely confess our sins to the Father who is faithful and just to forgive us on behalf of His Son Jesus Christ. And not only forgive, but cleanse! This is what the Old Testament sacrifices could never do: Cleanse the conscience (Hebrews 9:11-14).