Assurances are needful to succeed in any practice, profession or lifestyle. The difference between the Apostles before the cross and forty days after the cross was their assurance of who Jesus was and their mission in life. Even before the day of Pentecost, as they waited for the Holy Spirit power that Jesus promised them, they were daily in the Temple praising and blessing God (Luke 24:53). Having assurances provides us with the confidence to be a witness in a dangerous world and gives us the right motive in serving God. We are not serving God out of fear of losing our salvation but out of love, knowing that nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:39).
The audience of 1 John was the church at Ephesus. One of the problems that plagued this church during the time of John writing this epistle was not having the assurances of salvation. So, John wrote this epistle not to convince them of their condemnation but to assure them of their salvation. He does so by giving them proofs of their salvation. Activity that only a Christian can do. My assurance of salvation is not my faithfulness to church, giving, praying, or evangelizing. Lost people do this all the time. Instead, my assurance in salvation is my love for fellowshipping with God’s people and God, and my desire to walk in the light of God’s word and presence. The points John make are I know you are saved because you love fellowshipping with God’s people and God. And, I know you are saved because you are walking in the light. God’s word is changing you.
This month John message is I know you are saved because you confess your sins. “If we say that 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. 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). There are three things to see in these three verses.
- A convert of Jesus Christ knows he or she is not sinless. No matter how much they desire to walk in the light of God’s word, and fellowship with God and His people,
there is a constant struggle with sin. Serving the Lord is a continuous and ongoing battle within us between our flesh and spirit. A Christian recognizes this battle because he or she is on the frontlines of this battle every day of their life. Over the years, I have met many people who claimed to be Christians but have no experience with this battle. They won’t come out and say their sinless but failing to recognize or experience this battle of sin within suggests they do not struggle with sin. Not struggling with sin means a person does not have a dual nature. There is no divine nature within; all they have is a sinful nature, which has no problems with sinning.
- A convert of Jesus Christ will confess their sins. As mentioned above, Christians know there not sinless. We desire to walk in the light, but our flesh is continually attacking this desire. More often than we would like, our flesh wins out, and we cross God’s boundaries for our lives and sin. A Christian is not satisfied with this sinful predicament and continues to strive to be more like God. The process of being more like God on the heels of sin starts with us confessing our sin to God. John wrote: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). The keyword in verse 9 is “confess.” The word “confess” does not merely mean that all we have to do is tell God how sorry we are about sinning. Rather, the word “confess” means that I agree with God; He is right, I am wrong, and I need to be where He is. A confession that falls short of Godly sorrow that leads to repentance (2 Corinthians 7:10) is an exercise of futility.
- A convert of Jesus Christ understands the role God’s word has in the restoration process. John wrote: “If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (1 John 1:10). A Christian knows and understands how important God’s word is to continue in fellowship with God and to restore fellowship after we sin. A professed Christians who spend no time confessing their sin or generically confesses sin is projecting a message of being sin-free. If we do not have a lifestyle of coming to God confessing our sins, then we are boldly confessing, we have no sins that need to be forgiving. This attitude projects God a liar and His word is not in us. On the other hand, if we are busy keeping short accounts with God through confessing sin, then His word is in us.
1 John 1:8-10 assures me that I am saved. Not because I am perfect, but how I respond to my sin. I confess my sins and come clean with God, I want to be more like God, and His word has a priority in the restoration process.