“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
—1 John 1:8-9
If you are the sort of person who rarely reflects on your own sinfulness, our text invites you into fellowship with God through confession of your own sin. You see, if you don’t admit your own sinfulness, you are deceiving yourself and are out of touch with reality. And when you are oblivious to your sin, you are likely to be oblivious to your need for Christ, the gospel of grace, and fellowship with God.
On the other hand, if you are the sort of person who obsesses on your own sinfulness, our text also invites you into fellowship with God through the promise of forgiveness. Riveting your thoughts to your own sinfulness will leave you in the depths of despair and hopelessness. You may even feel religious because you feel so bad about yourself — guilty and morally filthy. But merely feeling bad about yourself is not faith. Faith is looking not to your own sinfulness but to Christ Jesus, his work, and the promise of the gospel.
When the Holy Spirit regenerates us, the light of truth directs us not only to our sins, but most importantly to the person of Christ and the promises of the gospel.
So pray today that the Spirit would grant you verse 8, namely, a true awareness and confession of our sins. And pray also verse 9, for a confident faith in the reliability and goodness of God to forgive us and cleanse us from all our sin and unrighteousness because of the work of Christ.
The result by the grace of God will be a welling up of love for Christ in your soul. Because one who has been forgiven much, loves much (cf. Luke 7:47).
Kenny Stokes is the Lead Pastor, Downtown Campus at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, MN, and the visionary leader of the Network.