The verse we are using for this month’s assurance of pardon is a familiar one – “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1st John 1:9). The word “confess” is a compound Greek word that literally means “to say the same thing.” In other words, when we confess our sins, we are saying the same thing about our thoughts, words, and deeds, that God would say about them. If we do that – if we own up to our sins, then God is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us.
In the next verse, however, John gives us another option – “If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” We can either confess or we can be liars. We can either be forgiven and cleansed, or we can be separated from God (“His word is not in us”). It is one or the other, and it applies to every individual without exception – white, black, male, female, European, American, African, Asian, Hispanic. Doesn’t matter. There is no person, no history, no race, no nationality, without sin.
No one is privileged when it comes to sin and the need for confession and forgiveness. Do not lose sight of this in light of our current and historical turmoil. Laws may occasionally help, but they will not save. Protests may make us feel better, but they will not save. Anger might feel good for a bit, but it will not save. And, by the way, we are seldom good at “righteous” anger anyway – particularly when it turns into “righteous” looting, “righteous” rioting, or a “righteous” defense of obvious brutality. We are too skilled at excusing the sins we want to excuse, and too willing to harshly and inconsistently judge others. We are too prone to rage and too prone to hypocrisy.
What then is to be done? What hope is there for mankind?
The only salvation any of us have – both as individuals and as a society – is Jesus Christ. He took upon Himself the sins of man, so that man might be delivered from sin. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2nd Corinthians 5:21).
In Acts 4:12, Peter says, “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Let us confess our sins and call upon His name…
Note: This post was first offered as an exhortation to the congregation I serve as pastor on June 14th, 2020.