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Why Confession Works

Daily Devotional 1 John 1: 1-10

Some people think that gaining God’s forgiveness will happen because of something we say or do. But that is not true. Receiving forgiveness does not depend on us, but only upon Jesus Christ. Echoing the first chapter of his Gospel, John reminds us that Jesus “was from the beginning” (v. 1). God alone can forgive sins, and this is a subtle reminder that Jesus is God in the flesh (John 1:1, 14; see also Mark 2:6–12).

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins.

1 JOHN 1:9

Confessing our sin is necessary because sin is the opposite of all that God is, just as darkness is the opposite of light. When we claim to be followers of Jesus but are living a sinful life, we are not living out the truth of what we believe (v. 6). When we sin after we have trusted in Christ, that sin does not nullify the forgiveness and righteousness we have received from Him. But continuing in sin is inconsistent with the life Christ provides. As we “walk in the light,” we become more and more aware of the aspects of our life and thinking that need to change. People often become more aware of their sin after they have begun to follow Christ than they were before they believed (v. 8).

God does not simply close His eyes to our sin or lower His standard when we confess. Instead, God can forgive us because Jesus satisfied all the demands of righteousness and paid the penalty for sin with His own blood. In this way, God is both “just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus” (Rom. 3:26).

>> Don’t wait for sins to stack up before you confess them. As soon as a sin comes to mind, admit your guilt and ask God to forgive you because of what Jesus Christ has done. You do not need a long and elaborate prayer. It is enough for you to say, “God forgive me for Jesus’ sake.”

Pray with Us

For counting myself as better than others—considering my needs most important, my desires most deserving, my demands most pressing, and myself least at fault—forgive me, Lord God.

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