"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9 KJV)
"Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound!" Grace: Undeserved, Unmerited Favor
It saddens me, when I hear someone talking about how they don't think God could ever forgive them for the things they've done.
"But you don't understand—I've done terrible things."
"God is angry with me!" or
"I've strayed too far."
My heart aches for those who do not know what God has said. Even more heart wrenching are those who know what God say's, but don't believe it.
"For God loved the world so much, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)- (slight paraphrase for clarity)
"Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved!" (Acts 16:31 NIV) (exclamation added)
Satan would have us believe God to be an angry tyrant demanding perfect conformity to His holiness, but that is false. We don't even have the capability for perfection while we live in these fleshly bodies that are predisposed to sin. That is why His grace is so amazing. If we are in Christ, and our hearts are turned toward Him, and we desire righteousness with all our hearts; no matter how far short we come, he will forgive our: mistakes, sins, imperfections. John writes "God is love." (1 John 4:16)
Yes He hates sin because He is holy, and He is angry against sin, against those who, after all he's done to prove His love, throw His love back in His face and say, I don't want or need your love or your grace. But He will never turn away from anyone who seeks His forgiveness. That's what He wants to do; forgive. He is merciful and compassionate.
God knows we are still housed in a body of flesh that wars against the Spirit. (Romans 7) He knows we are going to sin at times. He has made provision for that. 1 John 1:9 alludes to this provision.
Taking this verse in stages helps us to gain clarity of its meaning.
"If we confess our sins..." If we come to God, seeking His forgiveness, confessing our need for His grace, acknowledging, that we are yet imperfect, and we rely upon His grace to be acceptable in His presence... (He will forgive us) We come before Him and itemize our sins as the Spirit reveals them to us.
"..He is faithful..." Even though we try our hardest, sometimes we are not faithful to God. We hunger and thirst to be righteous, yet fall short of perfect righteousness. Christians are not always faithful to God. But God IS faithful all the time. He said He will forgive us. He will be faithful to what He says—always, regardless of our unfaithfulness!
"...And just..." There is a reason it also states here that He is just. This indicates that God has the right to forgive us. He is just in doing so, because He paid our sin debt for us. His righteous requirement states that sin must be punished. If He did not punish sin, He would no longer be just, but unjust. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, God counts our sins as having already been punished. He is just in forgiving our sins, because he is the one who paid for them in our behalf, by giving His own Son to be our perfect sacrifice—our substitute on the cross.
"...Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness." (Heb. 9:22 NIV)
Jesus gave His life blood for us; to satisfy God's holy justice. God's anger against sin was poured out on His own Son on the cross. Jesus became our sin: past sins, and future sins, that we haven't even done yet. He died and took them to the grave, then rose to life victorious. He gives us His righteousness, so that we are fit to be in God's presence.
Have you ever been to a high class restaurant where a coat and tie are required, but you weren't wearing them? Then the Maître D went to the back and brought out a coat and tie so you could come in and dine in style? That's what Jesus gives us: holy clothes: His righteousness, so we can come in and live in God's presence, enjoying all His glorious benefits—in style and splendor.
"(God) will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
However, I always try to keep in mind, that growth is expected of me; becoming more like Jesus every day. (Romans 8:29)
Praise God for His amazing Grace!
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...in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them... 2 Cor 5:19
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