Formula for Assurance: Confession

Formula for Assurance: Confession - 1 John 1:9

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

The Second Ingredient - Confession

In the last verse, we learned the first ingredient to the formula for assurance - honesty. In verse 9, John gives us the second ingredient - confession.

For Christians to “walk in the light” (1:7), we must do more than just draw an honest conclusion about our sinfulness. We must act upon that personal assessment. 

Confession moves us beyond ourselves and into the realm of others. In this case, confession takes a Christian into the very realm of God. Our honesty leads us into admission and our admission leads God to “forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

Guilt is a very difficult thing with which to live. It destroys our confidence and distracts us from the love of God. Because “God is love” (4:16) and guilt distracts us from Him, guilt is one of Satan’s favorite weapons in an arsenal specifically designed to destroy our assurance. 

Satan really does not care if we apply the first ingredient of the formula for assurance. In fact, he is happy for us to conclude that we are sinners because that alone results in guilt and guilt can cripple us. It is most certainly the second ingredient that Satan fears the most - Christians who act upon guilt by reaching out to God in confession. 

Confident Christians are dangerous and Satan knows that he cannot defeat such an army. On the other hand, uncertain Christians are easily defeated and, through their pitiful example, often drag many others down with them. The blessed assurance spoken of in the book of 1 John is without question one of the most important weapons a Christian can take into his daily battles with Satan.

He is Faithful

Early one morning, I received a phone call telling me that a dear friend had passed on to her reward. I was to be given the honor of speaking at her funeral.

Did you ever sit through a funeral service, hear all the glowing references made about the one who had died, and know in your heart that most of them were just excessive embellishments of the truth? Well, that was not the case for this dear person. On the day I spoke at her funeral, there were no excessive embellishments, there were no over elaborate descriptions. I spoke the simple truth. I told about her example of patient endurance while walking in the light and how it had changed me.

I know where she is and I deeply want to be with her. Because of her example of steadfastness, I know that I too can make it.

Before closing this glimpse into 1 John 1:9, I want you to notice one other important phrase - “…he is faithful.” Do you, like me, find it to be nothing short of amazing that even in that which we least deserve - our forgiveness, and in that which He has every right to withhold - our purification, “...he is faithful.” Since He is faithful, shouldn’t we be also?

Confess your sins. God can be trusted!

Keep It In Context

For assurance to be sure, we must let God speak for Himself. We must be true to the inspired context. After each study, read the entire chapter again taking note to the way today's verse relates to all the verses around it. Due to the colorful, complex nature of the original language, the best translation is multiple translations. Following each lesson, this chapter will be presented in a different translation. Below, we have featured Darby Translation.

1 John 1 (DARBY)

That which was from [the] beginning, that which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes; that which we contemplated, and our hands handled, concerning the word of life;

(and the life has been manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and report to you the eternal life, which was with the Father, and has been manifested to us:)

that which we have seen and heard we report to you, that *ye* also may have fellowship with us; and our fellowship [is] indeed with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

And these things write we to you that your joy may be full.

And this is the message which we have heard from him, and declare to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not practise the truth.

But if we walk in the light as *he* is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin.

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

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

If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

To continue this study, go to:
"Formula for Assurance (Part 3): Application 1 John 1 :10"
"Blessed Assurance Review"

Missed the first nine parts of this study? Check them out! 
"Blessed Assurance: 1 John 1 Introduction" 
"Jesus - Word of Life: 1 John 1:1"
"Jesus - Eternal Life: 1 John 1:2"
"Fellowship With the Father and the Son: 1 John 1:3"
"Complete Joy: 1 John 1:4"
"God is Light: 1 John 1:5"
"Fellowship with Light: 1 John 1:6"
"Walk In or Out of the Light: 1 John 1:7"
"Formula for Assurance (Part 1): Honesty 1 John 1:8"

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