Justice & Forgiveness (1 John 1:9) - Radical

Justice & Forgiveness (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

This may be one of the most well known verses if not the most well known verse in the book of first John, and it’s well known for a reason. It is awesome in its scope. So maybe you’re hearing this first for the first time. Maybe this 1 John 1:9 is very familiar to you, but just contemplate what God is saying here to you and to me in his word.

That if we confess our sins, our rebellion against him, our violation of his word, our distrust of him, our defaming of him, our dishonor toward him that deserves eternal wrath, like one sin. Think Romans five, one sin brought condemnation to all men. The effect of one sin cannot be measured yet god is saying here if we confess our sins, he is faithful. Meaning mark it down, you can count on this. God will be faithful and just to forgive us our sins. How does that work?

1 John 1:9 Explains the Relationship Between Justice and Forgiveness

How can justice be forgiveness? Justice towards sinners is judgment. Justice towards sinners is eternal wrath. Yet here, justice is described as forgiveness. How is that possible? That is only possible because of the one who is emphasizing the verses all the way leading up to this in first John 1, Jesus Christ, the one who died on a cross to pay the price for our sins, and rose from the grave and victory over sin.

Romans chapter four, “He was delivered over to death for our sins and raised the life for our justification.” Romans chapter three, “God is just, and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.” Through faith in Jesus justice means forgiveness of our sins and cleansing from all unrighteousness. No more stain, no more shame of sin. You are cleansed. Would you just receive this in a fresh way today all who have confessed your sinfulness before God?

This Verse Leads Us to Confess Sin

And as you sin, to be quick to confess your sin, and to remember that God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. And you know what I’m going to do? Every once in a while, I’ll do something like this on this podcast. I just want to give some space for you to pause wherever you are right now, and to spend time in confession of sin and remembering the faithfulness and justice of God to forgive us of our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

So I want to start this prayer, but then I’m going to leave some time at the end for you to spend time, however long is appropriate, in confession of sin. God, we are awed by 1 John 1:9. We love this verse. We love this verse so much, and we praise you for your justice and for the manifestations of your justice in so many different ways.

1 John 1:9 Leads Us to Pray for Just and Good Government

God, we pray for just and good government in Afghanistan, please. Even as we praise you for your just and good government. Ultimately over the world, and at the same time, God, we praise you for your mercy. Jesus, we praise you for taking the just judgment. So we humbly, yet eagerly, confess our sins to you now.

Eagerly because we need, and we want your forgiveness. Eagerly because we want your cleansing from all unrighteousness. So hear us now in each of our lives. As we confess specific sin before you. And as we do may your mercy pour over us. Based upon your faithful promise to us in 1 John 1:9. We confess our sin now, and we ask for your forgiveness and your cleansing in Jesus’ name. Would you just spend time in confession now? As long as you need to.

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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