Accept God’s FORGIVENESS through the BLOOD of CHRIST: “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 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 1:7-10)
Apostle John is clear about one fact – we all have the element of sin in our lives, and we can never deny that we have not sinned before God. Apostle Paul had already declared this matter in his epistle to the Romans: “There is none righteous, no, not one...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:10, 23). Sin is all about ‘missing the mark’ that God has set in His righteousness, and as long as we are housed in our lowly body that bears the elements of sin, we commit sin in some form or another, whether in our thoughts, words, or action.
It is interesting to note that Apostle John makes a distinction between sin (v. 8) and sins (v. 9). Sin refers to our corrupt, evil nature. Sins refer to evils that we have done. There are ‘sins of commission’ (doing the evils that we are not supposed to do), and there are ‘sins of omission’ (not doing the good deeds that we are supposed to do). Then there are also sins of thought, sins of act, secret sins, and public sins. Our Lord Jesus Christ has died both for our sin and our sins. We may appear righteous on the outside, but God knows our hearts and the wickedness inside (Jer. 17:9). When we are sensitive to His interactions and the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, we cannot deny either that we have not sinned or that we do not commit sin.
However, the good news is that we can receive forgiveness from God from our sins when we boldly and unashamedly confess all our sins to Him. This is a crucial element in receiving forgiveness from God. Confession is agreeing with God about our sins and receiving forgiveness from Him. Unless we openly confess our sins, we cannot receive forgiveness from God. There are many among us today who do not feel the need to or, do not feel convicted enough to confess our sins before God. When there are unconfessed sins lurking in our lives, we have set up a barrier before God, and God cannot hear our prayers as the Psalmist says: "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear" (Ps. 66:18). On the other hand, if we cover our sins we will not prosper “but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy” (Prov. 28:13). To confess our sins is thus a prerequisite to receiving the God’s forgiveness and cleansing.
King David is a prime example of someone who tried to hide his sins initially, but God took note of it and send His prophet Nathan to confront David (see 2 Sam. 12:1-13; Ps. 32:3-5). Upon realizing the extent of his depravity, David pleaded for mercy from God, and his outpouring is detailed in Psalms 51. David realized three truths from this experience: his sin was an affront to God; he deserves judgment from God for his sins; and he need to get forgiven and cleansed of his sins by God. Our Lord Jesus has taken all our sins and our due punishment for our sins upon Himself by dying on our place. So, He can create in us a “clean heart” when we cry out to Him (Ps. 51:10). We have the blessing of confession and forgiveness from God that will lift us up when we are down.
So, we should accept God’s forgiveness through the blood of His Son Jesus Christ today. When we do that, God accepts us as righteous because He imputes to us the righteousness of His Son Jesus Christ. Instead of living in the shadows of yesterday, we need to walk in the light of today and the hope of tomorrow. The only way that we can cope from defeat and disappointment is to ask God to forgive us. God’s pardon and forgiveness will enable us to start again with a pure heart as we focus on today’s opportunities and move forward in our journey of life.