Confessing Daily Sins – I John 1:9

by Pastor John Fredericksen

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Imagine growing up in a strict home where forgiveness was only granted after performing a required legalistic protocol. Now grown, you cling to the same mindset. When you offended a friend, you beg for their forgiveness, and they graciously accept your apology. Then, every time you see your friend, you plead for them to forgive you. Over and over this is repeated. Each time your friend assures you that they forgave you long ago and put it behind them. They also ask you to please stop begging for forgiveness. Should you still continue to plead with your friend to forgive you?

One of the most misunderstood verses in the entire Bible is I John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” John was writing this instruction to Israel, not the Body of Christ! In order to experience God’s mercy, Jews were required by God to confess their sins (Proverbs 28:13). They were also required to (and frequently did) confess their national sins to obtain God’s mercy (i.e. Nehemiah 1:6; 9:3-38; Ezra 10:11; Jeremiah 3:13). The context of I John 1:9 reveals John was urging lost Jews to confess their national sins of rejecting Christ, so that they could likewise have “fellowship” (vs. 3) with God and be cleansed from all sins (vss. 7, 9). This was consistent with the conduct required of Jews for eternal life prior to our present Dispensation of Grace, as explained in Matthew 3:6 and Romans 10:10. However, confessing daily sins has nothing to do with believers today. Knowledgeable saints do not attempt to keep the Sabbath which required restricting travel and forbidding work. Nor do they practice circumcision as a religious requirement or keep Jewish feast days. Why? It is because all of these rituals belonged exclusively to Israel while under the Law of Moses. The practice of confessing sins also belongs to that same program and has been set aside.

When Paul wrote to Gentile believers in our present Dispensation of Grace, he explained we have already been “…forgiven you all trespasses” (Colossians 2:13), whether past, present, or future. Not one verse from Paul suggests we should continue to confess daily sins for forgiveness. It is appropriate to tell the Lord you are sorry for sin and ask for His strength to find victory. But rest and rejoice in your total forgiveness of all sins without asking Him to forgive what is already forgiven.

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Start each day with short, devotional articles taken from the book Daily Transformation by Pastor John Fredericksen. As Pastor Fredericksen writes in the introduction:

"We welcome you, as you journey with us..., to not only learn information, but to benefit from examples of faith and failure, and seek to apply God’s Word to every day life. Together, let’s transition from only studying theories of doctrine, to applying God’s truths in a practical way every day. May God use these studies to help you find daily transformation."