In last week’s sermon, I argued from 1 John 1:9 that the resurrection of Jesus Christ changes everything, including giving believers a new cycle of sin, confession, and forgiveness. Because of Christ’s death and resurrection, Christians depart the cycle of repeated sin with no confession and forgiveness. They receive a new cycle of sin, confession, and forgiveness.
But a question arises from 1 John 1:9, which states: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” The question is this: why do Christians have to confess their sins and receive forgiveness if God has already forgiven Christian’s sins past, present, and future (Col 2:13-14)? Why do we even need 1 John 1:9?
We need to confess our sins because it shows that we have been forgiven! Christ paid not only our forgiveness of past and present sins but for our confession and subsequent forgiveness of future sins. Thus, confession is not the grounds for our forgiveness but the means of our forgiveness. Confession is a trait of a believing heart.
So, are my future sins forgiven? It depends on what you mean by the question. In one sense, our future sins have been atoned for by the blood of Christ. In another sense, the atonement and resurrection made it possible for us to confess those sins and receive forgiveness.
The best (though imperfect) analogy I can use is that of an earthly father and son. When a son sins against his father, he needs to ask forgiveness: the relationship has been wounded. But the son’s sin does not obliterate the relationship: the father and son are still in a relationship even after the sin. And it is based on that relationship of the father and son that the future sins of the son can be forgiven by the father when the son confesses and ask for forgiveness. So it is with God.
When we sin, our relationship with God is wounded. But this does not mean we lose status as children. Our relationship with God is secure. He forgives our future sins when we confess our sins based on the relationship that we have with him because of the work of Jesus.
Therefore, whatever sins you have committed today in thought, word, or deed, go to your heavenly Father (and anyone else you have sinned against), confessing those sins to receive forgiveness. He promises to forgive your sins based on the salvation secured by Christ’s death and resurrection through the means of your confession.
In case you missed the recent sermon, please listen here.