Acknowledging Sin (1 John 1:9) - Radical

Acknowledging Sin (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.
– 1 John 1:9

Ah, this is definitely a verse that I would encourage you to memorize if you haven’t already memorized it.

1 John 1:9 promises forgiveness of sins through confession.

If we confess our sins, confession is such an important part of our relationship with God, and I think many times we overlook it, to spend time each day examining your heart. There’s a sense in which we want to do this all throughout the day, but to have concentrated time that leads to continual time in confession, to examine our hearts and to ask continually before God and in a concentrated way before God, “What in me and my thoughts and my desires and my words and my actions and my motives, what in any part of me is not most glorifying to God? Where am I disobeying his Word? Where am I not obeying his Word?”

So sins of commission and omission, things we’re doing, things we’re not doing, that God is calling us to do, to spend time intentionally praying. “God, search my heart, Psalm 139, “help me to see what you see.” When we confess our sins like this, he is faithful. Praise God, that when we are unfaithful, God is always faithful. He’s faithful, and there’s so many pictures of his faithfulness. The picture here in 1 John 1:9 is he’s faithful to forgive us. We can be confident that when we confess our sins, God will be faithful to forgive us. You say, “How can we know that?” Well, that leads to the next thing. He’s faithful and just. Now that makes no sense, right? We’re talking about sin against a Holy God. We deserve punishment. We deserve penalty for our sin.

1 John 1:9 teaches us the accessibility of God’s cleansing grace.

But we know this is the beauty of the gospel. This is what 1 John 1 before this is all about. Jesus has come to pay the price for our sins, to make it possible for us to have fellowship with God, to be forgiven of our sins. He has paid the penalty. He has endured the just punishment we deserve. God is faithful and just. He’s poured out the penalty for our sin on his Son so that we could be forgiven and cleansed from all unrighteousness. What a beautiful picture that when we confess our sins, we can walk away, not with our heads held low in shame, but with our heads, by the grace of God, held high in righteousness, clothed with the righteousness of Jesus. Oh, what amazing truth to memorize and to live out every day.

So we pray, God help us to continually and in concentrated times search our hearts. Open our eyes, oh, God, to see our sin. Help us to be quick to confess our sins, to stop when we know we have sinned and to pause, to examine any ways we have sin that we’ve not paid attention to, God, help us to be quick and careful to confess our sins.

Knowing you are faithful, we praise you for your faithfulness to forgive us. We praise you for all the times, I think about in my life, oh, God, all the times I have confessed my sin to you, and yet you are faithful every single time to forgive me. All glory be to your name for your faithfulness and your justice. We praise you that our sins are not unpunished, but that they are covered by the blood of Jesus shed for our sins.

This verse encourages us to embrace genuine repentance.

Jesus, we praise you for enduring the just penalty that our sins deserve so that we could be forgiven and cleansed. So God, help us to live cleansed as the fruit of confession continually and concentrated times in our lives to live cleansed from all unrighteousness in ways that lead us to sin less, oh, God, in ways that lead us to live in the righteousness and the freedom that you’ve made possible for us. Jesus, we pray that today.

Even now, as this short podcast episode comes to a close, I would encourage you if you have time, just spend some concentrated moment in confession, in searching your heart. God, I pray that you would help us to hear from you and as we do, to humble ourselves in confession and to repent of our sin. Lead us by your spirit to do that right now. We pray in Jesus’ name, according to your Word, in 1 John 1:9. Amen.

David Platt

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


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