This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 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, purifies us from all sin.
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. (1 John 1:5-10)
So far we've talked about 3 things in these verses: The Light of God, which sees everything. The fact that if we say we're not sinning when we are we're liars, and we looked at part one of what walking in the Light really means: first it means that we must have the proper attitude towards sin. We are flawed, so we will sin, but if we have the right attitude and desire to not sin, that is walking in the light.The fourth installment of this particular Bible verse study looks at the second aspect of "walking in the light", which is confession and repentance.
God knows we are going to sin. He sent his son Jesus to die on the cross for us, for our sins. The wages of sin is death, so Jesus died. This means that Jesus' blood is on us. And not that we are guilty of His death, but that it covers us to show that someone has already paid the price for our transgressions. That is very, very cool. And yet, we do not get a free pass. Believing in God and accepting Christ as our Lord and Savior will get us into heaven. But it is forgiveness that will restore our relationships here on earth, that will allow us to draw closer to God. And forgiveness will not come unless we ask for it.
Let me say that again: Forgiveness will not come unless we ask for it.
Did you see the big "If" clause in the verse? IF we confess our sins God will forgive us and purify us. If. Not "at the end of every day he'll just automatically wipe the slate clean." Nope, God will not make us die for our sins, but He does ask that we say that we did them. Own up to it. It's an attitude thing again. If we sin and don't care, then we are not walking in the light. But, if we sin, and we say "Oh, my God, I know that I have sinned, I am so sorry, please forgive me and help me not to do it again," then God will say "you are forgiven." Because God desires our heart most of all. And a heart that cannot confess its wrongdoing is not a heart for God. Someone with a heart for God will stand quietly when the Light comes into their life and reveals any areas of sin, and then asks forgiveness, and seeks to adjust their ways.
Let me be crystal clear. "walking in the light" does not mean not sinning. Jesus is the only man who didn't sin. Walking in the light means saying "I do sin, I have sinned, and I am truly sorry."
And the beautiful thing is that God always comes through on His promises. There are times that He gives us an if-then clause, like with confession. IF you confess THEN God will forgive you. But the great thing is that He doesn't wait until He feels like forgiving you, He doesn't make you jump through hoops, and He doesn't make you feel bad about yourself first. He just forgives.
Now, I did add repentance in there--you don't see that word in the Bible verse but I feel that it is necessary to always follow confession with repentance. Repentance means to turn around, to do a 180 in your behavior, to run the exact opposite way of your sin. Confessing is great. But if you confess knowing that you're going to sin again, that's not really a full-out confession. That's saying "I want you to clean me up so I can go back out there and get dirty again." True confession is saying "I did wrong, I don't want to do it again, I'm going to change my life" and if you're smart you'll end it with "Lord, please help me."
And He will. God wants to help us. He wants us to live without sin, but He knows that we need His help and guidance. And He's always always always willing to give it. He's never in a meeting that can't be interrupted, He's always ready to speak wisdom into your heart and mind, and strengthen your resolve against that which tempts you.
It is here, too, that the most beautiful thing happens. We are clean, we are whole, and our relationship with God and with others is re-established. This will be my topic for tomorrow.