“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” - 1 John 1:8-9
We find many ways to declare our innocence. “I didn’t do it,” of course, is the first one. We start using that one when we first learn to talk, even with the cookie crumbs on our face.
When it becomes apparent that we did it and can’t deny it, we get more convoluted in our excuses. We say, “I did it, but I had good reasons for doing it” or “It was for a good cause. I meant well.” Then there’s the original one from Adam, “It’s my wife’s fault,” or Eve’s attempt, “The devil made me do it.” A common claim today is, “But I haven’t done anything wrong.” By that we mean, “I did it but what I did wasn’t wrong. God’s Law is wrong and I’m right.” All of these amount to the claim, “I have no sin,” and the Bible tells us that if we make that claim, we are deceiving ourselves. We aren’t deceiving God; He knows better. We usually don’t succeed in deceiving other people, either; even when they are blind to their own sin they will usually be able to see that of other people. The louder we proclaim our innocence, the more foolish we look. The alternative that God suggests is that we simply confess our sin. The word “confess” means “to say the same thing as” God. It means that I agree with God when He says that what I did or said or the attitude of my heart was wrong. No excuses; no clever reasoning to cover it up or wriggle out from under it; it was wrong. I agree. And God assures us that if we confess our sin, He is faithful - that is, He keeps His promises - and He is just - He does what’s right - to forgive our sins. Not only that, but then He goes to work on our hearts as we confess, to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. He goes to work and cleans up our thoughts and attitudes, the way we talk and the way we behave. He does this because Jesus has already died on the cross for you and me; He has paid the price of our forgiveness and redeemed us for Himself. God keeps His promise to receive, forgive, cleanse and change us for Jesus’ sake when we stop rebelling against His Word and agree with what He says about it. I did it; I was wrong. The Lord Jesus died for me. I’m forgiven. Cleanse me now from unrighteousness, Lord. Set me apart for You, as You promised You would. Amen. Pastor Dan Giles