I John 1_8-10_KU
I John 1:8-10
This sermon was preached by Kevin Ueckert on October 2nd, 2005.
I John 1:8-10 - 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. ESV
John is addressing these opponents of the Gospel who were claiming that they had no real sin of any significance in their lives. It would be easy for us in the church to separate ourselves from these opponents but such a hasty response to God’s word could be detrimental.
Remember that we should not presuppose anything. We must come before the Lord and allow Him to direct our response to His word. So do we ever say that we have no sin or that we have not sinned? Let me describe a few ideas of how we may actually fall into this trap of “saying” we have no sin.
“Since I have been forgiven, sin is not something with which I should be concerned. Sin is really not a big deal. I do the best I can and I am not worried about sin because I am forgiven already.”
“I have not really committed any sins of which the consequences remain. I have either fixed on my own any consequences of my mistakes and therefore have no reason to tell God about that sin, or I just don’t think that the sins that I commit really have any lasting consequences and therefore do not need to worry about confessing them.”
Another way of saying that we have no sin that is prevalent today is claiming not to be responsible for our sin, blaming others for our own sin, the victim mentality. “It is not my fault. I couldn’t help it. It is really some one else’s fault. As long as we can shift the blame for our problems and sins, we can cover the guilt and claim that we don’t have real problems.” Adam and Eve blamed in their sin, thus trying to claim that they had no sin.
Claiming to have no sin can come in the form of neglect and ignorance, a failure to care about what God says about my life. An absence of confession, a neglect of God’s word, a failure to pray all demonstrates attitudes that are dangerously similar to the statement, “I have not sinned and sin currently is not that big of a deal, I am all right and the consequences of my sin are negligible. “ Living with known, unconfessed sin is living with the attitude that you have not sinned.
Bowing to the pressure of having to appear that you have it all together is another way we can say we have not sinned. The church can be so bad about this. Sometimes we in the church can begin to act like we no longer need forgiveness, that we have it all together. We can give the impression that we don’t have any really significant failures and are too good to need to admit mistakes. This can create the false impression that so many churches give – “The church is no longer a place for sinners and the gospel is no longer a message for the broken. If you don’t have it all together like the rest of us, you simply do not belong.”
If any of us live in this way or display hints of these attitudes, I John is our gracious wake up call. Listen to the downward spiral of the progression of sin in this passage.
If we claim to be in fellowship with the Lord and walk in the darkness then we are lying and do not do the truth. That is not good at all, but it gets worse.
If we say that we have no sin, if we live in any way that demonstrates that our sin is insignificant, no big deal for our lives, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. That is a whole lot worse. What remedy exists for the person who deceives himself?
If we say that we have not sinned, if we say that our sins really don’t matter and we live lives of attempting to fix all our problems through blaming others, through materialism, through pleasure or whatever else we use to cover our sin, we make God a liar and his word is not in us. That is rock bottom.
Sin is so deceitful and the enemy is so crafty. We are prideful and so easily strive for independence. You put those two things together and we have the temptation to deny our sin and live like we do not need the Lord’s grace and forgiveness each an every moment of our lives.
God wants us to see that we all sin and the effects of unconfessed sin are severe, the consequences can be devastating, even for people who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ.
When we don’t confess our sins our hearts will slowly but surely become homes to pride, arrogance, unbelief, self-righteousness, bitterness and anger, shame and fear. We will start believing and saying that life is not fair, that God is not just and that we deserve more than we are getting from life, all while we are missing the experience of true life in fellowship with God through faith in Jesus Christ.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Confession of our sins is walking in the light. Walking in the light does not just happen when we pursue righteousness in our daily lives. Walking in the light occurs through authentic confession of sin. Regular, God-motivated confession of sin is walking in the light.
It is walking in the light because God is faithful and just. God is absolutely perfect in faithfulness. God is absolutely holy in justice. God is not faithful and just in His forgiveness of us exclusively. If all God did was forgive us because we confessed our sin, he would not be faithful and just. His faithfulness and justice is strictly defined in relation to Himself. He is only faithful if he is faithful to His holiness. He is only just if he is just in light of His perfections. What that means is that if God forgave you or me for our sin without requiring the wages of those sins, he would be unjust and unfaithful. In fact, that kind of forgiveness would be meaningless because God would not be a faithful and just God and would therefore be unable to offer true forgiveness.
But God is faithful and He is just and that is why he laid upon Jesus Christ every single one of our sins. That is why Jesus Christ, who knew no sin, became sin. Jesus Christ became sin so that we could be forgiven in the display of God’s faithfulness and justice.
You can read this in Romans 3:23-26. It explains this so well. (23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. ESV.)
God’s faithfulness and justice to forgive our sins is wholly rooted in His faithfulness and justice to crush His son for our sins. God is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us of all unrighteousness because He did not spare His own son but gave Him up for you and for me. Confession is walking in the light because God truly is faithful and just.
When we walk in the light through confession we will experience forgiveness. There is nothing like knowing that you are truly forgiven. Experiencing the reality of being freed from your guilt and every penalty of your sins is an ineffable or indescribable experience. And one for which we all long.
Colossians 2:13 (And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, ESV) reveals that we are forgiven in Christ for all sins, past, present and future. This passage in I John reveals a daily experience of forgiving of our sins for maintaining and deepening our fellowship with the Lord.
Every single day we have the opportunity to experience the removal of all guilt, shame, fear and whatever else sin may bring into our lives. We can experience daily forgiveness of our sins through confession.
When we walk in the light through confession we will also experience cleansing. Cleansing is not only removing the sin but it is experiencing being clean and right before God. Cleansing leaves us clean. In God’s faithfulness and justice, He applies the blood of Christ to our lives washing away our sin and leaving us clean, as white as snow. Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. ESV. Cleansing.
When we experiencing a cleansing in the Lord we are ready to fellowship with Him and be used by Him, we feel clean and ready to serve Him and walk in His light. How long has it been since you asked the Lord to search your heart inside and out and clean you up?
He is ready to use you and may just be waiting on your confession of sin.
The rewards of confession are forgiveness, cleansing, fellowship with God, freedom, no guilt, no reason for bitterness, no self-deception, His word will be in us and we will find ourselves fully in Him, truly knowing that we know the Lord.
Confession is agreeing with God about our lives, specifically our sin. True agreement with God about our sin always includes agreement with God about a renewed pursuit of godliness. Five encouragements about confession:
Plan for confession. Confession takes initiative. If we do not plan for confession and deliberately place ourselves under the examination of the word of God and the Spirit of God, we will not practice regularly needed confession. Daily confession is absolutely necessary. It is not necessary because we need a religious ritual. It is necessary because we need a relationship with the Lord. Only walking in the light yields true fellowship with God.
Speak confession out loud.
Be specific about your sin. Be specific about your agreement regarding sin and your pursuit of godliness.
Keep in view the faithfulness and justice of God. Remind yourself that Christ died to make forgiveness a reality in your life so that daily cleansing leads to deep fellowship. This can be a great motivator towards confession. Keeping Christ’s sacrifice for you in mind also promotes humility, a needed component of confession.
Tell someone else your confession to God in order to increase the healing and freedom that comes with confession – James 5:16.
God was gracious because He is faithful and just and He laid on Jesus Christ all of our sins. Confession is one opportunity to experience the certainty of the graciousness of God in Jesus Christ. Every time we confess our sins and taste God’s forgiveness, we are sampling the flavor of heaven. And it tastes so good. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.