THE SINS OF A CHRISTIAN
1 John 1:8-10 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 just to forgive us our sins, and to 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.
As John said in the verse preceding the lesson text, it is the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, (which) cleanseth us from all sin (Vs. 7b). He then tells us in the lesson text that if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth in not in us. Paul said the same thing in his letter to the Christians of Rome when he wrote, For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). Considering these passages alone it is plain to see that all men and women are sinners, and all need the blood of Jesus Christto be reconciled to God, and to have the consequences of sin removed, in order to have a hope of eternal salvation. We come into contact with the blood of Jesus when we are baptized into His body, which is the church of Christ, for the remission of our sins. This fact Jesus Christ, Himself, assured us when He instituted the "Lord's Supper" before His death (See Matt. 26:26-29). It was also confirmed on the Day of Pentecost, when Peter, along with the other apostles preached, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:38).
The fact that all mankind capable of understanding the nature of sin, are sinners in the sight of God, is not a new revelation found only in New Testament scriptures. Notice what the writer of this Proverbs stated with this rhetorical question: Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin (Prov. 20:9)? The answer is, No One! All are sinners, and without the shedding of blood, no heart can be cleansed from sin. In the Book of Ecclesiastes, we find the inspired wisdom of its writer saying, For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not (Eccl. 7:20). The prophet, Isaiah wrote this of all mankind. First he says that All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way. Then he ties the Old and New Covenants together with this prophesy of the sacrificial blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ when he wrote, and the Lord (God) hath laid on Him (His Son, Jesus Christ) the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6).
Can mankind be deceived into believing that he or she is without sin? Indeed, they can! This is the exact warning found in the lesson text. It warns us to be on guard; to be watchful at every turn in life, that we not allow ourselves to be deceived by Satan into believing that the enjoyment of sin has no eternal consequences. The extent of this self-deception is made perfectly clear when we read 1 Cor. 3:18, Gal. 6:3, 2 Tim. 3:13, James 1:22 & 26, and 2 Pet. 2:13. The fact that one becomes a Christian does not forever remove the possibility of sinning in the future. Rather the lesson text assures that this will occur. But John follows this fact with assurance that, If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.This is New Testament forgiveness by God, that is available to each Christian through repentant prayer.
In this portion of the lesson text, it is good to notice that the forgiveness of a Christian's sins requires the earnest confession of those sins. Since the apostle John is writing to children of God, the forgiveness spoken of here would apply only to Christians. Sinners, those outside the body of Christ, have no biblical assurance of such forgiveness. God only hears the prayers and confessions of those that have been reconciled to Him. The same blood of Jesus Christ which cleanseth us from all sin (Prev. Vs. 7b), is the same blood by which we are reconciled to God (See Eph. 2:13-16). It is by baptism that one comes into contact with the sacrificial blood of Jesus, and in doing so, one is added by God to the church of Christ. Therefore, a Christian must approach God with a sincere confession of all sins. Then, and only then, will our merciful and righteous God forgive ...our sins, and ...cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Verse 8 is restated with more emphasis in verse 10: If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. No one is wholly free from sins and perfect in the eyes of God. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). This is God's word as revealed by the inspired apostle Paul. All Christians are sinners - All Christians need Jesus Christ as our Savior.