The sinner of 1 John 1:9

1 John 1:9 is one of the most assuring verses for those of us who are saved.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

It is not hard to understand; it is easy to find rest and comfort from its promise of forgiveness and cleansing.

The people included in 1 John 1:9 are all sinners, but saved sinners. King David is a good Old Testament example of what this sinner of 1 John 1:9 looks like. He sinned in all the normal daily ways like you and I do; he even sinned in big public ways. But what made him a 1 John 1:9 sinner and not a 1 John 1:8 or 1 John 1:10 sinner is that he was a sinner who habitually:

  • confessed his sins,
  • accused himself of his sinfulness,
  • maximised his sin in Biblical proportions,
  • and understood what true forgiveness looks like.

Psalm 32 and Psalm 51 were written after the same event in King David’s life. Both are written by a sinner who had just been convicted for a number of sins. The main sin was adultery, which was followed up with deception, conspiracy, and even murder. But what made David different to both convicted criminals and cultutal Christians, was that he confessed his sins, and was truly forgiven for his sins.

If you find that the confession of Psalm 32 and Psalm 51 is something you are familiar with, but you struggle to experience the same confidence and joy that David experienced in light of forgiveness, then it might mean you do not fully understand and trust God’s forgiveness.

For you the Apostle John has this to say:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

God is faithful. God is just. If you confess your sins, no matter how many they be, no matter how great they be, God is faithful to forgive. God is just and has paid for your sins in full. You can be assured of forgiven sins, of a cleansed heart.

The sinner of 1 John 1:9
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