(1 John 1:9)
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrigh- teousness.”
THE GOSPEL OF THE BLOOD IS A HALF GOSPEL
Can we enter the kingdom of heaven only with the gospel of the blood?
Never. We have to believe in the complete gospel (the gospel of the water and the Spirit).
1 John 1:9 applies only to the righteous. If a sinner who was not yet redeemed tried to atone for his daily sins according to the words of this passage and confessed his wrongdoing, his sins would not be expiated. Do you see what I’m saying here? This passage does not apply to sinners who are not born again.
There are many in this world who are not yet born again, but they take this passage from 1 John chapter 1 and pray and repent for their sins, hoping for forgiveness.
But can one who is not born again be redeemed completely of his sins through prayers of confession? This is an important point we have to consider and clarify before going any further.
Before you read 1 John, you have to decide whether the apostle John was a righteous man or a sinner. Let me ask you the following question. Was the apostle John a righteous man who was born again by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, or was he a sinner?
If you say the apostle John was a sinner, you are biblically incorrect in your belief. If the apostle John was a righteous man who was born again when he believed in Jesus, it becomes clear that his faith was different from yours. You have to have the same faith as the apostle John.
Let me ask you another question. Was the apostle John writing those letters to the righteous or sinners? The apostle John was writing the letters to the righteous.
Therefore, if sinners who are not born again cited the words of 1 John 1:8-9 and applied them to themselves, it would be wrong. If you are to become righteous, confess your sins before God and believe the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Then the Lord will wash away all your sins with the gospel that has already cleansed the sins of the world.
The apostle John’s faith is like this. In 1 John chapter 5 he says that he has faith in “the water, the blood, and the Spirit.” Do you believe in Jesus Christ who came by water, blood, and the Spirit? Do you believe only in Jesus who came by the Cross, or by His baptism, His blood, and the Spirit?
Can you enter the kingdom of Heaven by believing in the gospel of the blood only? If your faith is only in the gospel of the blood on the Cross, you understand only half the gospel. If you believe only in the blood on the Cross, no doubt you find yourself praying for forgiveness every day. The chances are that you believe your sins can be washed away simply through prayers of repentance.
But can your sins be washed away when you believe only in the blood on the Cross, repent and pray for forgiveness of your daily sins? If you are one of these people, then your sins will remain in your heart, because no one can wash away his sins through faith in the blood on the Cross alone, or daily prayers of repentance. If you are one of these people, then you do not yet know the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and your faith is incomplete.
The apostle John was born again because he believed in the gospel of the water and the blood and the Spirit. But you believe only in the blood on the Cross. When you do not have a clear idea of the gospel yourself, how can you lead others to salvation? You are not born again yourself, but are trying to atone for your sins through prayers of repentance. This path will never lead anywhere.
No matter how hard someone prays and repents, his sins cannot be washed away from his heart. If you feel sometimes that your sins have been washed away, it is only your imagination and the power of your emotions. If you pray and repent, you might be able to feel refreshed for a day or so. But you can never become free of your sins in this way.
Sinners pray and repent, hoping to be saved from their sins. That is why they are still sinners even after believing in Jesus for a long time. They do not know the gospel of the water and the Spirit. If you believe in Jesus but have not yet been born again, you might be one of these people. If you are trying to atone for your sins by praying and repenting every day, that is a clear testimony that you are not yet born again. You have to decide whether to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit as the Apostle John did, or to put your faith in your own thoughts and emotions. One is the clear truth, and the other is untruth.
The true gospel according to the Bible is that Jesus was baptized and took away the sins of the world once and for all and received the judgment for all sinners on the Cross. If someone believes in the baptism of Jesus and His death on the Cross, he shall be saved at once from all his sins. On the other hand, if someone tries to wash away his transgressions with prayers of repentance, he will never become free of his sins. Do you think you can remember all your daily sins? Does God take care of sins for which you have not repented? Are prayers of repentance a clear solution to the problem of daily sins? The only answer to these questions is no.
TRUE REPENTANCE AND THE PURPOSE OF CONFESSION
What are the limits of confession and good works?
Although we have to confess our sins throughout our lives, we can never be saved simply by confessing to our transgressions and doing good deeds.
Repentance in the Bible means turning back from the wrong faith to the true faith, and for the righteous, it means acknowledging one’s wrongdoings and coming back into the light of the gospel.
If you are a sinner now, you should make a confession like the following: “Dear God, I have sinned and I deserve to be sent to hell. But I long to be saved from my sins. Please save me from all my sins. I am not yet born again, and I know am bound for hell.” This is a correct confession.
Then what kind of confession should a born-again make? “Dear God, I have committed the sin of following my flesh. I believe that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and saved me from all my sins, even the sins I have just committed, whereas I should have had to die for my sins. I thank the Lord that He has saved me with the water and the blood.” The confessions of the born again and those not born again are different.
We should all have the same faith as the apostle John. If you try to hide your sins behind the confession that is for the righteous, then you will never be saved from death, which is the wages of sin.
All sinners who are not born again should stop hiding behind prayers of confession and start believing in the true gospel of the water and the blood and the Spirit. They should learn the faith of the apostle John and thereby earn salvation.
Sinners do not realize how terrible the judgement for their sins will be. The most terrible sin before God is not to believe in the gospel of being born again of water and the Spirit.
All those who believe in Jesus but are not yet born again should confess before God, “Lord, I am a sinner to be thrown into the burning fires of hell,” while refraining from saying, “Lord, please wash away my sins.” When a sinner takes into his heart the gospel that Jesus saved him through His baptism at the Jordan and His blood on the Cross, he can be freed from all his sins. This is a the kind of confession a sinner should make in order to be saved from all his sins before God.
A sinner has only to confess that he has not yet been born again and believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Then he will be saved at once. By the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the salvation of all sinners was completed. “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). God saved all sinners from their sins by having His Son, Jesus, baptized by John the Baptist and die on the Cross.
The Lord washed away all the sins that people commit with their flesh and their hearts from their birth to their death. We have to believe in the true gospel to be saved. It is the only way we can be freed from all our sins and become truly sanctified. We can become righteous once and for all when we believe in the true gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Jesus was baptized, took away the sins of the world, paid for them on the Cross with His life, was resurrected on the third day and now sits at the right hand of God. This is the ultimate truth.
We should all make this confession. “Lord, I cannot help but sin till the day I die. I was born a sinner from the womb of my mother, and owing to all the sins I have committed, I should be thrown into the burning fires of hell. For this reason, I want to believe in Jesus, who came by water, blood, and the Spirit and became my Savior.”
Just as it is written in Matthew chapter 3, Jesus took away the sins of the world, including all the sins we commit until the day we die, when He was baptized at the Jordan River. “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).
If Jesus saved us only from original sin and told us to solve the problem of our own sins by ourselves, we would be in constant agony. But Jesus freed us from all our sins with His baptism and blood. What do we have to be worried about? When we believe in the baptism of Jesus and His blood on the Cross, and thank the Lord, the Spirit dwells in our hearts.
Do you believe in Jesus? Do you believe the Spirit dwells in you? All your sins were passed on to Jesus when He took away the sin of the world with His baptism. He was later judged for our sins on the Cross, freeing us from eternal damnation. This is the true gospel.
THE CONFESSION OF THE RIGHTEOUS
What is true confession of the righteous?
To confess that they sin every day but to have faith in the fact that Jesus washed away their daily sins about 2000 years ago.
1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” This means that someone who decides to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit must confess his sins, saying, “Lord. I cannot help but sin all my life but I know I can’t be saved from all my sins through prayers for forgiveness. I believe the wages of sin is death and nothing except the baptism of Jesus and His crucifixion could wash away all my sins. I confess I sinned today but I believe Jesus already washed away the sin that I committed today at the Jordan 2000 years ago.” If such a person prays in this way, the problem of sins on his conscience will be solved at once.
Those who are already born again have only to confess their sins. They only confirm that Jesus has already washed away whatever sins they commit. Because Jesus was baptized and died for sinners 2000 years ago, no matter how weak they are, all their sins were completely washed away.
The text we have read today is a very good one for the righteous. But if a sinner takes this verse and uses it in the wrong way, he will end up in hell. Nonetheless, it is one of the most frequently misused passages in the Bible. It has for a long time caused great misunderstanding among Christians.
There is a saying that an inept doctor may kill his patients. When an inept doctor tries to do more than he is capable of, he may end up killing his patient.
It is a rule of life that someone has to be well trained and become experienced to perform his duties well. It is the same with the world of faith. Those who teach the word of God have to convey the truth as it is written both accurately and clearly, and those who learn from them should have faith in what they are taught.
If preachers teach their followers wrong doctrines, or if believers learn the Bible incorrectly, it will only result in judgment and hell for both of them. Only the born again can teach the Bible correctly. Even good medicine can kill patients if it is prescribed incorrectly, and it is the same with teaching and learning the word of God. It is as essential as fire in our lives. But just as it would bring on disaster if fire were put in the hands of children, the word of God can bring terrible disaster in the wrong hands.
We have to discern the difference between confession of the righteous and that of sinners. 1 John 1:9 is for the righteous. When a righteous person confesses his sins before the Lord with faith, he is freed of them because Jesus already washed away all sin about 2000 years ago.
It is wrong for sinners to believe their sins are washed away every time they pray for forgiveness. When one is not born again, can his sins be washed away just by confessing?
God is just. He sent His only begotten Son to this world and had Him take away the sins of the world through His baptism and save all those who believe in the water of His baptism and His blood on the Cross. Therefore, when a righteous person confesses his sins, God tells him that Jesus already took away all sin about 2000 years ago. Such a person thus confirms that he has no sin in his heart, even though his flesh still sins.