1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from ALL unrighteousness.
When I was a young Christian, 1John 1:9 had been used as the pillar of my “after salvation” guarantee, that is after I had my first sinner’s prayer to ask God for the forgiveness of my sins, and made Jesus my Lord and Savior; my old pastor equipped me with the above bible verse, in case if I fall into sins. Because, he said that what Jesus had done when saving a person, was to cleanse all their sins from the moment they were born till the moment they were saved only, and so the rest will have to depend on the person diligently seeking for His continuous forgiveness, as and when the person fell into sin/s again, which is very likely.
Therefore, in other words, to be a good Christian then I must be sins conscious. This sounds so right, right?, but actually it is so wrong!, because it is producing the negative effect of defeated life, living in bondage to sins, day-in day-out it was only sins in the mind, sins on my diary, looking for sins in my actions, so sins are certainly being magnified here, instead of Jesus’ victory over sins.
You see, I want to be a good Christian, therefore I’d have to carry a diary, to ensure I took down every sin, I did not want to miss out any sin/s of not getting recorded and then in total asked for forgiveness of sins daily. As such, carrying a small diary in my pocket daily filled with “sins of the day” is a crucial factor. (imagine my diary is full of “filthy rags”, wrong doings, garbage of sins)
I was also a basketball player of my high school team, as such, it was impossible to keep records of my sins when I was on the field playing, and sometimes I got angry being hit by other player/s or keeping grudges in my heart. So, feeling terrible that I might have missed some unconfessed sins, I went to settle this matter with my old pastor and asked what if I forgot a sin and did not ask for forgiveness. His answer was shockingly simple: “I guess it is okay, God would understand it, just confess what you can remember, will be good enough”.
Now, that sounded so logical too right? But, that would mean that God is not consistent with His Commandments, if He said “thou shall not…” and yet “It is okay if you commit sins if you forget it” that is to say the Law is no Longer a Law if you can bend the Law, and it also means God is a “Chin chye person” in Chinese, or “anyhow-okay-one in Singlish”, or “suka-suka-boleh-lah in Malay”. Or in another words, God is schizophrenic, sometimes He said like this, and later He can change His mind. No, my Friend, even when you forget your sins, God never forget your sins, He is not human being who can forget, He is a Spirit, and He is not forgetful like we do, unless! and only unless, He had promised not to remember your sins after what Jesus had done on the cross.
In fact, God does not want us to be sins conscious, as guilty feeling is a hindrance to a believer’s life, In Heb 10:1 The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship.
Heb 10:2 If they could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshipers would have been purified once for all time, and their feelings of guilt would have disappeared.
Heb 10:3 But instead, those sacrifices actually reminded them of their sins year after year.
God does not want us to remember our sins, not because He is okay if we forget, but because He had cleaned ALL our sins, when Jesus blood on that cross had washed our sins whiter than snow, Psalm 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. And as He had promised in Heb 10:17 then He adds, “THEIR SINS AND THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE.”
However, again believers may ask the question, the same question many had, including myself, How about 1John 1:9? My friends, the verse of 1John 1:9 is perfectly fine, yes it says what it says 1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from ALL unrighteousness.
However, this verse is not for believers, it is for unbelievers, How do we know? Let’s look at the preceding verse 1John 1:3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ.
Now, Apostle John was addressing this letter to whom? Who is WE in verse 3? = it is John and the rest of Christians. Who is YOU? = non-believers, who did not have fellowship with John, and whose fellowship was not with the Father and with His Son. In fact, other Jews Literature had shown that 1John 1:9 was actually written to a group of non-believers calling themselves as Gnostic people. Thus, yes, every Christian will have to go through this process of confessing sins when they were still an unbeliever, to be forgiven once and for all. When is that? It is when the first time a person recites the “sinners prayer”. Remember? You had done this once together with your minister the time you received Jesus as your Lord and Savior?
After, you become a believer or a Christian, now the next chapter of the book of 1John2 is for us, the believers:
1John2:1 My Dear children, these things write I unto you, that you sin not. But if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
1John 2:2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
See how the verse opened with? a letter addressed to: “My Dear Children”, referring to Christians. And it is clearly explained here, on how “if a Christian falls into sins?” which is clearly every Christian will still fall into sins, don’t we?, So, how? when we fall in to sins? Here the verse said: We have an advocate with the Father, our advocate is the same as a Lawyer so to speak today’s terms, and His Name is Jesus Christ. And what does the advocate do? He always says “we are not guilty, we are righteous” How come? Because the next verse tells us that Jesus is the atoning sacrifice for our sins already and not only for ours but also for the whole world (if they believe and receive Jesus). Jesus had paid in full for ALL our sins (past, present, and future), because God is beyond Time (pls read my other article on God is beyond Time).
1John 2:12 I write unto you, Dear children, because your sins are forgiven you for HIS name’s sake.
So, my friends, stop looking into yourself, or try to justify yourself, or try to find merits / goodness in yourself to earn your forgiveness, because verse 12 said: All are based on Jesus’ name’s sake, God forgives you for Jesus’ name sake, not your sake! Not because you are good, and obey God’s commandments, but because of Jesus. Also, God bless you, God heal you, and God forgive you, all for Jesus’ sake! None for ours, all because of Jesus.
However, If you fall into sins and you feel more comfortable to confess and ask for God’s forgiveness, then do so, do confess and do ask for forgiveness. But you need to know and believe that you ask for forgiveness is from the stance that you had been totally forgiven. In this stance, you are going to have a sincere communication, communion, and fellowship with God, without hindrances anymore. You confess out of His unconditional forgiveness and Love, and you will have the thankfulness towards Him who forgives you no matter what. And, as Jesus said in Luk 7:47 that you loved much, because you had been forgiven much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.
My Friends, no one had been forgiven little, everyone had been forgiven not just much but ALL and totally forgiven, because either you are forgiven all or none, there is no partial forgiveness! God unconditionally loves you, and thus unconditionally forgives you. Jesus walked to the cross without any conditions attached. Rom 8:32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? If God did not spare His own Son for you, what other gifts would He withhold from you?
Know this today: Love comes when you know you are God’s beloved. Peace comes when you know ALL your sins are forgiven. Joy comes when you have the revelation of the Lord. Because of Jesus we can have all: Love, Peace, and Joy.