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“…He is faithful and just…”

March 14, 2012

I was driving home from work the other day and I realized that I hadn’t talked to my sister in several weeks.  One of the things I really enjoy about my Ford truck is that it has built-in bluetooth capabilities that actually work extremely well, so I decided to use my bluetooth and give my sister a call, just to catch up.  We talked for the entire drive home (20-25 minutes) about various aspects of our lives: our children, business challenges and other activities.  The end of the conversation turned to a spiritual discussion and I mentioned something that had been on my mind quite a bit lately, which was the proper understanding of 1 John 1 and specifically, 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. (ESV)

Because of the poor teaching of this passage that I received as a child, I would lie awake at night after my parents sent me to bed and agonize over my fear that there was some forgotten or unknown sin that I had failed to confess and therefore wouldn’t be forgiven.  I shared this with my sister and, to my surprise, she told me that she experienced the same agonizing fears and insomnia, thinking that her forgiveness was based on her “works” of confession rather than on the perfect and complete atoning sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The fact that the verse states that he is “faithful and just” is not referring to any obligation that God would have towards us based on any work that we would perform.  If God applied his justice towards us based on our works the result would always be eternal separation.  No, the wonderful news is that God’s justice that results in forgiveness is the justice applied because our debt was paid by the substitutionary death of Jesus, if we have trusted Jesus alone for our salvation and are the children of God.  Therefore, we can confess our sins knowing, with the utmost confidence, that we are forgiven even before we ask and that he has given us the power to overcome sin as we walk in the knowledge of his forgiveness, through the truth of his word and in the power of the Spirit.  All praise and honor are due his name, the great God of our forgiveness!

From → Devotional

One Comment
  1. David W. permalink

    Amen. BTW – my ******** email address is first_john_1_9 🙂

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