FORGIVENESS THROUGH CONFESSION
We must never neglect God’s side. However, we must never forget our side either. It is true that the Lord Jesus is presenting His blood and His accomplished work before God continually. But if we sin intentionally, continuously, and without repentance, repudiation, or an inclination to deal with our sins, the work of the Lord’s blood will lose its effect and efficaciousness for us. The work of the Lord’s crucifixion is not just for us, but for the whole world also. The one work of the Lord Jesus has included everyone. But this work of the Lord can be realized only in those who believe in Him. Christ’s work of advocacy is the same in principle. It is continuous. Regardless of whether a Christian will confess and repent of his sins or not, the cleansing work of Christ is continually effective. But how this can be realized in the believers is another problem.
First John 1:7 tells us that a Christian is forgiven of his sins before God because of the work of Christ. On the other hand, verse 9 shows us what we should do on our side. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." First John 2:1 tells us that the Lord Jesus is our Advocate. But 1 John 1:9 tells us that on our side we have to confess our sins. This does not mean that it is our confession that grants us forgiveness. If confession itself can earn forgiveness, the forgiveness is unrighteous. Suppose that I stole a hundred dollars from a brother, and I go to him and confess my sin. If he forgives me on account of that confession, is he righteous? If that were the case, I could steal another hundred dollars again and could confess again. If confession alone can earn us forgiveness, this is the most unrighteous thing there is. If that were the case, we could not say that God is faithful and righteous. We would have to say that God is an unrighteous, sloppy God, who overlooks our sins.
Why does John say that God is righteous to forgive? It is because the Lord Jesus has become our Advocate. His blood has cleansed away all of our sins. Our sins have been judged and condemned in Christ. Therefore, when we confess our sins, God is faithful and righteous to forgive us. If I have stolen money from a brother and someone has paid it back for me, then confession will indeed bring me forgiveness. Without the blood of the Son of God, God’s forgiveness would be unrighteous. Today the blood of the Son of God has been shed. The Son of God has become the Advocate before God. God has to forgive us now. If He does not forgive, He will be unrighteous. Today when I confess my sins, God is faithful and righteous to forgive my sins. The Word of God tells me that the Lord Jesus has died. God has to be faithful to His own Word. He also has to be righteous regarding the work of the Lord Jesus. That is why He has to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
God’s forgiveness of our sins is based entirely upon the blood of the Lord Jesus. The sins of the sinners are forgiven through the blood of the Lord Jesus. The sins of the Christians are likewise forgiven through the blood of the Lord Jesus. Because the Lord Jesus is the Savior, God can forgive the sins of the sinners. Because the Lord is the Advocate, God can forgive the sins of the believers. In the Lord Jesus’ being both the Advocate and the Savior, it is His blood that grants us forgiveness of sins and justification.
(Gospel of God, The (2 volume set), Chapter 25, by Watchman Nee)