Forgive the Unrepentant?

When we sin as a believer, we must confess our sins: “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9, page 1904). 1In 1 John 1:9, page 1904, the Holy Spirit used the term “confess” (“ὁμολογῶμεν”). This single word contains two important points: (1) the same and (2) speak. The Holy Spirit means that we must say the same words that God speaks about our actions, thoughts, and desires. When we speak the same words that God speaks about our behavior, we confess our sins. We know that God knows everything we have thought and done before we speak, but we join God in His attitude toward our sin. We no longer ignore it or hide it, but seek God to forgive it and cleanse us from sin. Please recall that all our sins were laid upon Jesus at the cross, and salvation does not rest upon our continuous confession of sin. Instead, we must remember that as we walk in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7, page 1904). Walking in the light of Jesus does not mean we have no sin, but rather that the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin, so that we may have fellowship with other believers and have a close walk with God in the light. Our confession of sin does not bring us back to salvation, because we do not lose eternal life by sinning. We lose our sense of walking in the light and our sin interferes with our fellowship with other believers. I often illustrate this principle with a pair of dirty hands. When I work on my car, I often cover my hands in very black grease from the car. Of course, I am always the child of my earthly father, no matter how black my hands get. The dirt on my hands remains an entirely separate matter from my permanent relationship to my father. Likewise, I will always be the spiritual child of my heavenly Father, because Jesus died for my sins, and I have been adopted into the family of Jesus Christ (1 John 3:1, page 1906; Galatians 4:6, page 1823). My hands may get dirty with sin, but God will always be my heavenly Father. With all these concepts in mind, now let us turn to the sins of others around us.

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1. In 1 John 1:9, page 1904, the Holy Spirit used the term “confess” (“ὁμολογῶμεν”). This single word contains two important points: (1) the same and (2) speak. The Holy Spirit means that we must say the same words that God speaks about our actions, thoughts, and desires. When we speak the same words that God speaks about our behavior, we confess our sins. We know that God knows everything we have thought and done before we speak, but we join God in His attitude toward our sin. We no longer ignore it or hide it, but seek God to forgive it and cleanse us from sin.