Faithful & Just
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” -1 John 1:9
This verse is perhaps one of the most comforting of all verses in the Scriptures for the believer, and it’s one that should be memorized and meditated upon frequently. Think about it. As frail humans we delve into sin on a daily basis and without the ability to have a daily cleansing from our unrighteousness we would be absolutely miserable. In fact, maybe you’re miserable right now because of sin in your life but you are too scared or too condemned to confess it to God. I hope this devotional encourages you, because I want you to know that we have a God who is faithful to you and who is just to forgive you as many times as it takes before you enter His presence forever.
I don’t know about you, but in my experience of meditating on this verse over and over again, I often find myself oversimplifying what the words mean. For a while I began to interpret this verse like an equation.
Confession + His Forgiveness = Cleansing.
While that is in many ways true, and while we should grasp onto the power of how simple this verse is, we must also not overlook two very important words that make this entire truth a reality. He is faithful and just.
Wait, wait, wait. What? He is faithful. He is just. Let’s talk about these two attributes for a moment in light of our forgiveness.
- He is faithful. In a verse like this, God’s faithfulness means everything. Without His faithfulness, we could never come to God in confidence that He would forgive us. We would never be able to know for sure that He would remain at our side. But the truth is, He is faithful to you Christian. He is not a man that He should lie to you. He is not a man that He should lose patience with your addictions and forsake you altogether. He is not a man that He should get fed up with your pesky sins and run from you. We must understand faithfulness as it is defined by God, not by us. Because He is faithful He will always forgive you when you come to Him confessing your sins.
- He is just. This is the most amazing nugget of truth in the whole verse. God is just to forgive you. How does that work? How does that make sense? How could it ever be just for God to just forgive us without penalty for our sin? It’s possible because of the cross. The redemption of Jesus Christ has now made it a matter of justice that God would forgive you everytime you need it. Don’t miss this. This means that God not only wants to forgive you because He is faithful, but He has to forgive you because He is just. Wow. Let that rock your world for a moment. God chose through the cross to put Himself in a position where He must forgive you because He is just. He cannot not forgive you Christian. Unforgiveness not only works against His very loving character, but it works against justice itself which God has defined and is defined by. The brutal death of Jesus on the cross has made a route of justice toward your forgiveness, and God will follow through.
This is redemption in a nutshell — God wants to forgive you and God has to forgive you because God wanted to have to forgive you by the cross. So the next time you’re scared to go to God for forgiveness, shake it off because you do not need to be scared. He is there ready as ever to forgive you and restore you to Himself. That never changes.