When we look at the scripture in 1 John 1:9 and meditate on it, it's interesting to see how John uses the introductory 10 verses of this letter to preach the Gospel and point non-Christians to Christ.
"1 John" having been written by John who was an Apostle to the Jews would be tailored to those who have a Hebrew mindset and so it's interesting to see what John had to say to them as he taught them about Jesus and indirectly what he says to us today.
Let's have a look at the passage now.
1 Joh 1:8-9 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Here John tells the Jews that he is writing to that if they claim that they are without sin then they don't know the truth about themselves, and that once they know the truth if they confess their sins God is faithful to forgive our sins and cleanse us from ALL unrighteouness.
So, to whom is he writing this? Who are the objects of his desire to see in the kingdom of God? Let's go back to verses 1 - 7 and look at the context within which verses 8 & 9 should be placed. Was John writing this to believers or un-believers?
There is a saying that, "A text without a context is a pretext". So let's look at the context!
1 Joh 1:1-4 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard,
which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our
hands have touched - this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.
The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim
to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared
You will see from this section that John in writing these opening verses is preaching the Gospel to people who are not in fellowship with God. They are un-believers! He wants these people to know how they can come into fellowship with God and make his (John's) joy complete. John is proclaiming the word of life to them.Next John goes on to tell them what has been revealed by God and Jesus in this new age to enlighten those coming to him. Ie. The Gospel.
1 Joh 1:5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.
We see that John is declaring to these readers something that he has heard and which they need to know.
John could have continued talking to them as being outsiders but instead he includes himself as a caring father would when talking to his children. So he says to them...
1 Joh 1:6-8 If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by 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, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
So, as a loving father when speaking to his children might say, "If we hit our friends that is not the right way to behave is it? And, we cannot expect to have them like us if we do that, can we?".
Because he says "we" does not mean that he, 'the father who is speaking to the child', is hitting his friends! He is simply making it easier for his child to listen to and accept the correction because he is saying that the behaviour model applies to him as well!
John in similar manner tells them that if they have fellowship with God they will walk in the light; they will also have fellowship with one-another and the blood of Jesus will take away their sins.
So having given his audience as easy a way of accepting the correction as possible, John then goes on to tell them how they can also (like him) come into fellowship with the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
1 Joh 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Now, once we confess our sins we will be forgiven and purified from ALL our unrighteousness and as we walk in the light after that the blood of Jesus will continually purify us from ALL sin.
On the other hand if we continue thinking that we are "good people" who do not have to accept Jesus' sacrifice for sin but rather because of our "good lives" we are not sinners like other people, then we make God out to be a liar and the truth is not in us.
1 Joh 1:10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
So if you have not yet given your heart to the Lord, then as John says in in this first letter, Chapter 1, verse 9, confess your sins to God and come under the blood of Jesus.
Then all the benefits of a child of God will apply to you.
Rom 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under Law, but under grace.
You will have the inbuilt Spirit of Jesus Christ enabling you to live a life pleasing to God. As you submit to the Holy spirit's leading Jesus will live His life in you....
Gal 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Grace will empower you to live a holy life as Paul pointed out to Titus in Chapter 2, verses 11-15 of his letter...
Tit 2:11-15 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
We have a great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession.
Rom 4:8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
Or, as Paul put it another way in Rom 8:1-4...
Rom 8:1-4 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Let's believe and trust Father God, Christ Jesus, and Holy Spirit to do what they promise in their word to do through us. We do not have to continually be confesing sins like they did under the Old Covenant. We ARE overcomers!
Php 2:13 for it is God who is working in you, both to will and to do for His good pleasure.