If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
This is a verse we recite just about every Sunday. But do we understand what it is really saying? Many of us are caught up in the sin cycle – sin, repent, repeat! This verse contains a wonderful promise from God to wipe our slate clean whenever we ask and this is wonderful but the cycle isn’t over simply because our sin is forgiven. Unless the source of the sin is dealt with, it will come up again and again.
In dealing with our sin, God promises more than a “get out of jail free card”. He doesn’t just wipe the slate clean – He deals with the root. But we have to co-operate with the process for it to be effective. His promises in 1 John 1:9, to not only forgive us but also to purify us. Our confession can be as simple as an acknowledgement that we need forgiveness but it should be much more than that. It should be a statement of our utter dependence on His Spirit to work out His righteousness within us.
Knowing God’s desire to deal with the root of our sin leads to a glaring question: why doesn’t He? Why do we still have sins that so easily plague us time after time? The answer is implied in verse 6: only real, deep, lasting fellowship with His Spirit can transform us. Superficial confessions and forgiveness can’t. We have to be immersed in the Holy Spirit to live like Him.
God is zealous about our inner transformation and thankfully, in His mercy He is also very patient about it. His only solution for repeated cycles of sin is to insert Himself thoroughly into the process. For our new nature to actually function as a new nature, we need to submit the deepest core of our being to His work. Don’t be satisfied with simple confessions. Invite Him to radically change you from within. Because He is faithful and just, He will.
The renewal of our nature is a work of great importance, it is not to be done in a day. George Whitfield
Adapted from a devotion by Chris Tiegreen in the “Wonder of the Cross” Devotional