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Confess our sins | March 4th Sermon | 1 John 1:8-10

Updated: Mar 6

Read 1 John 1:8-10


Remember the context of 1 John.  John is writing this letter to a church that is well established to help them grow into stronger Christians.  In 1 John 1:1-7, John, just established the authority that comes from Christ.  He calls Christ the “Light” and says there is “no darkness in Him at all.”   He is defusing the gnostic false teachers who attack Christ’s divinity and authority.   All authority comes from Christ.  All light comes from Christ because Christ is the Light—if we are called Christ followers than that same light is found within us.  As Christians walk with Christ they become more like Christ—this is how a true Christian grows in their faith, they walk with Christ.  This is what John is establishing at the beginning of this letter.


Then comes three verses that are often hard to read, hard to swallow and hard to live by.


“If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.” 


--1 John 1:8-10


The Point:  Every person is sinful.  We all need to confess our sins and be honest that we have sin in our lives.  Through confession we are forgiven by Christ Himself and then we start the process of becoming righteous like Christ. 


What is sin?



“Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.”

 – 1 John 3:4


Sin is the transgression against God’s law.  It is literally to disobey what God commands us to do.  Yet, Sin is not just based on something that we simply do or not do rather sin is a nature, a state of living.  This is called Imputed Sin.  Imputed means to “take something that belongs to someone and to credit it to another’s account.”  Every human has imputed sin in their nature as we have all inherited Adam’s sin—therefore Adam sinned, and our accounts get charged for that sin.


“So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.”

--Romans 5:18


King David laments this “inherited sin” found within himself and his life in Psalm 51:1-5


“Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.  Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.  For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.  Against you, You only, I have sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, so that you are justified when you speak and blameless when you judge.  Behold I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.”


--Psalm 51:1-5


To be a sinner is to be forever imperfect; to have your natural thoughts speak against God Himself.  It is to be tempted to do what is wrong at all times, to be tempted at all times, and to be at odds with God’s holiness and perfection at all times.  Remember, God is not a rebel to Himself, God is the Light and there is no darkness in Him.  He fulfills His perfect law, He is sinless therefore everything God does is perfect and upholds exactly How we ought to live our lives (by His example).


“It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one-the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”

--C.S. Lewis


Sin takes us away from the Light.  We always justify sin because of how it makes us feel (pleasure, justification, vengeance, little white lies to withhold truth from someone to protect ourselves and/ or to protect that person, etc.)


“[The last] type of sin is personal sin, that which is committed every day by every human being. Because we have inherited a sin nature from Adam, we commit individual, personal sins, everything from seemingly innocent untruths to murder. Those who have not placed their faith in Jesus Christ must pay the penalty for these personal sins, as well as inherited and imputed sin. “ 


1.  This is sin.  We all have it.  It is in all of us.  Nobody is truly good by nature.


“If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.”

--1 John 1:8


God’s word is very clear here.  There is no such thing as a good let alone a perfect person!  If someone claims to be perfect, if someone claims to be good, if someone claims to have no sin—they are a liar!  We are simply lying to ourselves if we think we have no sin and then there is no truth in us.  It is clear here that God is telling His people that they must be honest about their sin and sin nature. 


Remember, John is writing to a church that has been influenced and even becoming split by gnostic false teachings:


“Gnostics believed that the world was divided into the physical and spiritual realms. The created, material world (matter) is evil, and therefore in opposition to the world of the spirit, and that only the spirit is good.”


Gnostics would teach that a person is given a divine spark that would lead them to salvation, they taught that God is unknowable and that your body is keeping your good or pure soul captive.  Most gnostic do not teach or believe that everyone is sinful by nature therefore there is nothing to confess rather what you need to do is starve your material body of its depravity through many means of your works, disciplines, ascetism etc.




2. The Perfect Jesus Christ is the only person who can forgive us of our sins.  We must confess our sins to Jesus.


“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

--1 John 1:9


Did you know that God is faithful?  He never lies?  He will do what He says He will do?  Jesus forgives those who repent and confess their sins. 


If we look at Luke 5:17-26 we get the story of the friends who have crippled/ lame friend.  Jesus is preaching and teaching in a packed house.  They bring their friend onto the roof of the house and lower the friend on a makeshift bed/ stretcher into the house in order for Him to come into Jesus’ presence.  Jesus forgives the sins of the friends because of their faithfulness (this is before Jesus dies on the cross and is resurrected). Here is what happens next:


“Seeing their faith, He said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven you.” The scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, “Who is this man who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?” But Jesus, aware of their reasonings, answered and said to them, “Why are you reasoning in your hearts?  Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins have been forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,’”

--Luke 5:17-26


Jesus has the authority to forgive our sins because He is God! He is Light! He will forgive the sins of those who are faithful?  What does faithfulness to Christ look like?  The confession and repentance of our sins to Christ.


The word,. Confess, is defined as this in this original Greek context of 1 John 1:9:


ὁμολογέω, not to deny, i.e. to confess; declare:  to admit or declare oneself guilty of what one is accused of.  This is the word used for “confess” in 1 John 1:9. God is reminding His church that we are accused of sin; therefore, do not deny your sinful nature, confess your sin and be forgiven by the only one who can forgive your sins.



3. Run back to Christ.  The Christian life does not require perfection. It requires repentance, relationship, honesty, and forgiveness.


“If we save that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.”

--1 John 1:10


We are sinful.  You are sinful.  Let us be honest with ourselves.  What sins do we struggle with?  What lies is our brain feeding us daily?  What temptations are coming into our midst?  Did you know that Satan even tempted Christ in Matthew 4:5-6, (Satan quotes Psalm 91:12)?  Satan knew Christ enough that He knew how to tempt Him; Satan even recited scripture to Christ meaning that Satan knew God’s word.  Our sin, Satan and temptation are smart—they know our weaknesses and our faults.


As Christians, we must stand together! We must understand that we cannot live the Christian life isolated and alone.  We must be a part of a bible centered Church; we must practice confession together and know that there is forgiveness in Christ after confession—even if there are earthly consequences for our sins, Christ still forgives us and our salvation is not lost because of our sin and confession rather our lives continue to change because we become honest with our sin as we confess together.  This is how we live righteous lives, we are honest about our shortcomings, and honest about our sin. 


Remember what Scripture says: God is faithful, and God forgives.


“’The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved, for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”

--Romans 10:9

The Point:  Every person is sinful.  We all need to confess our sins and be honest that we have sin in our lives.  Through confession we are forgiven by Christ Himself and then we start the process of becoming righteous like Christ. 

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