1 John 1:9 has become the “Christian’s bar of soap” but very few have actually studied the verses before and after (as we should always do) to put the verse in context.
If you apply the antithesis rule to the verse, you will see it is obviously not for Christians….”If we DO NOT confess our sins, He is NOT faithful and just to FORGIVE our sins and to CLEANSE us from all UNRIGHTEOUSNESS”.
All our sins HAVE been forgiven past, present and future. As Christians we cannot ask Jesus Christ to do something He has already done.
John 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
Jesus HAS taken away our sins. The sin issue has been dealt with.
John was addressing a group of people where there were both saved and lost persons. There were Gnostics who believed that Jesus hadn't come in the flesh and was an apparition and that they were without sin – John was correcting them. He did that in 1 John 1:1 "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and our hands have handled, of the Word of life. He then explained in 1 John 1:8 that they were with sin “if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us”…… He then explained in 1:9 how to get saved. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness". He then followed up in verse 10 " if we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us".
This whole notion of Christians asking for forgiveness is incorrectly based on 1 John 1:9. There is not ONE verse in Scripture where this is commanded. Don't you think the writers of the New Covenant would have mentioned what a Christian should do after they had sinned? There is no mention of it because they understood the finished work of Christ on the cross. Jesus said "It is finished".
Read Hebrews and it becomes clear. God remembers our sins no more. The Holy Spirit doesn't convict believers of their sins - how can He when you read Hebrews 10:11-18
11 "And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices which can never take away sins: 12 But this man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever sat down on the right hand of God; 13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. 14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. 15. Wherefore the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, 16. This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts and in their minds will I write them; 17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. 18 Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.
Of course a Christian must acknowledge when he has sinned and agree with God that his actions are wrong but nowhere in Scripture is the believer told to confess his sins in order to be forgiven.
People equate the word "confession" with asking for forgiveness. Confession simply means to"agree with".
We often hear about “parental forgiveness” and “judicial forgiveness” as relating to “breaking of fellowship with God” when we sin. This is a man made teaching and is nowhere to be found in Scripture. 1 Cor. 1:9 (fancy that) says we have been brought into fellowship with God through Jesus Christ. We are brought into fellowship when we get saved – never to be broken.
We cannot go in and out of fellowship neither can we go in and out of light and darkness. Light in Scripture always refers to salvation and darkness always to a lost condition - every single time these words are used they refer to that -WITHOUT EXCEPTION.
How can we, by our actions make ourselves more acceptable to God? That’s works. We didn’t WORK to get our salvation and we can’t WORK to keep it.
The teaching that 1 John 1:9 is for Christians, keeps Christians in a state of confusion and does not allow them to “enter into the rest”.
What do they do about the sins they have forgotten about and don’t “confess”? They live in a constant state of worry – I used to do that. I would start my prayer time with “Lord, please forgive me for the sins I’ve committed knowingly and unknowingly…..”. That’s just not Scriptural. The Lord HAS forgiven our sins. Thinking like this is not believing in the finished work of the cross.
What I have found when sharing this with Christians is that they put forward all sorts of arguments/points, none of which are based on Scripture.
I hope this will help some Christians out there like it helped me.