1st John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
This passage of scripture literally guarantees forgiveness to all who truly confess their sins to God. Not only is forgiveness assured, but also the very important work of cleansing from all unrighteousness, a feature of the process of forgiveness that is not nearly understood as it ought to be. It's of critical importance for us to understand that repentance, forgiveness, and cleansing are not activities that are ever initiated by the human agent, for God is the one who not only sets these processes in motion, but also brings them to completion if we choose to cooperate with Him in the entire process of salvation.
In the beginning when Adam and Eve sinned it was God who came looking for them in the cool of the day. It was God who offered the very first sacrifice for them and who also made coats of skin to cover their nakedness, the coats being a symbol of His own righteousness with which he covers every believing person. Thus it becomes evident that repentance and forgiveness both begin and continue with God. Let's read:
Acts 5:30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. 31 Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.
However, it is also very important for us to know that there are spurious forms of repentance which do not lead to a cleansing from all sin. After Judas saw that Jesus would not deliver Himself from the treachery of betrayal on his part, he repented and confessed that he had sinned in betraying innocent blood, and even carried out a form of restitution by returning the thirty pieces of silver that were given him as an inducement to betray Christ. However, Judas' form of confession and repentance was self-generated and therefore could not work for him the cleansing that always follows true repentance, for the Bible states that he went out and hanged himself. Let's read:
Matthew 27:3 Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. 5 And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.
This brand of confession and repentance is fundamentally based on sorrow for results rather than sorrow for sin, because, as a rule, the repentance and forgiveness that comes from God never ever lead to suicide. Never! God sent His Son Jesus Christ into the world to give us eternal life, not to take our lives from us, and thus it is of the utmost importance that we respond in the affirmative to the pleadings of the Holy Spirit when He stands ready to wipe away our transgressions from our lives.
The words "If we confess" therefore mean that forgiveness is predicated on our willingness to accept God's salvation when it is offered to us, and we should always avoid putting off for another day, this important decision just as Judas did.
We therefore end with a passage of scripture reminding us that we do not have forever to decide to choose Christ, for the days of our probation are indeed hastening to a close. It's therefore incumbent upon us to accept God's forgiveness without delay so that the good work of cleansing might begin in our hearts today, if we so choose. Let's read:
2nd Corinthians 6:2 For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
We sincerely hope and pray that we all will avail ourselves of God's salvation today, for He is still watching, hoping, entreating, and waiting for us to be saved in His kingdom. May this experience be ours today. God bless!