This last Sunday, I preached over 1 John 1:5-10. Part of John’s message is that admitting we are sinners and confessing our sin is the only way we can experience true fellowship with God (Vertical) and with one another (Horizontal). In 1 John 1:7,9 we read:
But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin…If we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
John tells us that we have fellowship with one another if we walk in the light. The same light that God Himself walks in. A light we are able to walk in by confessing our sins. Let’s look at this one piece at a time.
Confession of Sin
In order to confess our sin, we have to first understand sin. Sin is more than just breaking the commandments of God, even though it is that. Sin is more heinous though. It is an outright attack and denial of who God is. It is to follow ourselves rather than to follow God. Now that we understand the heinousness of sin, we can answer the question:
What does it mean to confess sin?
It means that we first recognize we are a sinner, that we have rebelled against God to seek after the things of the world, thinking ourselves to be wiser than God.
Second, it means that we confess to God our rebelliousness against Him. We confess that we have tried to go at it on our own because we thought that our wisdom was greater than His. And in doing so we have sinned against Him.
The Cleansing Blood of Christ
When we confess our sins, Christ acts as our propitiation. He removes our sin and the wrath of God from us. In doing so, He is our substitute, standing in our place, taking the punishment we deserve because of our sinfulness.
Once we confess our sins, Christ’s blood cleanses us from all unrighteousness. When God looks down on us, He sees Christ’s blood and not our sin. This results in our relationship with God being reconciled.
It also shows that Christ’s blood is the only way we are cleansed from our unrighteousness, meaning our works will not do. Thus, confessing our sin, not performing works, is the only way we can be reconciled to God
Walk in the Light
Our confession of sin results in a changed heart and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Jer. 31 & Acts 2). Our changed heart and the Holy Spirit empowers us to live in accordance with the commandments of God, as well as we are able to walk in the light with Him.
Because of Christ’s cleansing blood, we are freed from the bondage of sin. Where we once lived for ourselves, we now have the ability to live for God. Where we once used one another for personal gain, we now have the ability to love and serve each other. This means that the cleansing blood of Christ not only results in us having fellowship God, but it also results in us having true fellowship with one another.
When we confess our sins, recognizing Christ is our Savior – that He is the one who took our punishment for us – then we are cleansed from all our unrighteousness and our relationship with God and one another is restored. John’s message then is that true fellowship with God and one another only happens when we confess our sins. There is no other way. May we all recognize this truth, confess our sins, and be saved from all unrighteousness, which results in true fellowship with both God and one another.