The Joy of Forgiveness (1 John 1:9)
WONDERFUL THING IN THIS PASSAGE – Most, maybe all, of us have sinned more often and more grievously than anyone knows. And we hope they never find out, for surely they would think less of us and probably never truly forgive us.
While we’re glad that others don’t know the extent of our sinfulness, we realize that God does – he’s witnessed every sad moment of it. How could he still love me, still want me, still use me in his work? The answer to all those questions is forgiveness – a forgiveness of the kind only God can grant:
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
It’s difficult to believe that our simple but sincere confession could be the trigger for God’s deep and thorough forgiveness. But there we have it in his own words: “If we confess … he is faithful … to forgive … and to cleanse.”
Notice that the confession solicited is not of our general sinfulness but of “our sins.” He wants more than our acknowledgement that we are not quite up to par. He wants us to face the things we have done and said and thought that have violated his character and injured his creatures. When we bring them out into the open in his presence, he’s willing to forgive and cleanse us.
King David discovered that God would forgive even adultery and murder when there was confession from a repentant heart. “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not conceal my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,’ and you forgave the guilt of my sin” (Ps 32:5).
You and I can experience the same joy of forgiveness that David did: “How joyful is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! How joyful is a person whom the LORD does not charge with iniquity” (Ps 32:1-2).
WONDERFUL THING IN OUR LIVES – I don’t know what skeletons you’d rather keep hidden in your closet, but God does. And he’d like to clean that closet out for you.
He’d like to forgive you – to cross each of your confessed failures off the list of your sins and never hold them against you again. “For I will forgive their wrongdoing, and I will never again remember their sins” (Heb 8:12). He’d like to cleanse you – to scrub away the residue of those sins so that their temptation is a little less the next time.
And he’s told you what he’s waiting on: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
You’ll have to decide whether that’s too good to be true. But it’s what God said. Then you’ll have to decide if you’re ready to come into his presence in specific confession and repentance. I hope you’ll make the right decisions, and I hope you’ll do it today.
If you haven’t already, you need to memorize 1 John 1:9. It will last you a lifetime.