CONFESSION or CONVERSION… The Truth About 1 John 1:9
There’s a lot of confusion and controversy within the Church today concerning a single verse that the apostle John wrote in a letter to the Church.
Many, or even most, have taken the verse out of it’s proper context as a way to falsely prove that our forgiveness is dependent upon our ability to remember and confess every sin or transgression that we commit in order to receive God’s forgiveness from those sins until the day we go to join Him in Heaven…. let me say that first of all if this doctrine was correct, then NO ONE would go to heaven, because NO ONE can possibly confess every sin they commit, much less even remember each sin… Now let’s examine the verse in question by breaking it down and using the original Greek to make more sense of it’s meaning.
“If we confess our sins, He (God) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” -1 John 1:9
At first glance this verse appears to say that Christians must keep confessing their sins before God in order to be forgiven or exonerated from those sins; making it seem that failure to do so will lead to a loss of their promised eternal salvation and leave them in a state of eternal punishment in the Lake of Fire for simply forgetting to confess and repent of one or more transgressions of the flesh that they knowingly or unknowingly committed against God… Nothing could be further from the truth! Now, I’m not saying that the Bible is wrong in this verse; but rather that the popular English interpretation of it by other men is incorrect.
First of all, Jesus said that out of the mouth of two or three witnesses the Word shall be established (Mat 18:16). Now aside from 1 John 1:9, the doctrine that you must confess and repent of each individual sinful act to be forgiven of that sinful act is NO WHERE to be found any where else within the New Testament teaches concerning the New Covenant of Christ. Every other doctrine of Christianity is mentioned throughout the New Testament at least two or more times, establishing them as sound doctrine within the written Word of God… So, since the doctrine of having to confess and repent of every sin to be forgiven of that sin is NOT even mentioned any where else in the Word of God; this alone, according to Jesus Christ, is enough to disqualify that belief as being sound doctrine. Every real New Covenant doctrine must be consistant throughout the written Word… and this one is not.
Now lets examine the Greek text…
The word SINS used in 1 John 1:9 is the Greek word, HAMARTIA, which is a NOUN, not a VERB.
To refresh your memory, a NOUN is a PERSON, PLACE or THING… While a VERB suggest an action or a sense of doing something or committing something… The Greek word for SINS that suggest an action or a transgression is the word, PARAPTOMA, which is a VERB, and is NOT used in 1 John 1:9… Also, if you notice that in verse 8 how it says, “If we say that we HAVE no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us”… The word HAVEsuggest that the sin which it is referring to is also a NOUN and not a VERB, meaning that it cannot be the act of sinning, but the Sin Nature inside.
Now since HAMARTIA is a NOUN, it CANNOT mean the act of committing a sin or transgression against God, but rather it can ONLY suggest that the sin which it refers to is a THING; not meaning somthing that you DO, but rather meaning something that youHAVE, such a one’s SINFUL NATURE that they were born with at birth through Adam’s sin… Romans 5 confirms this.
“Therefore, just as through one man (Adam), sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men.” – Romans 5:12
“For as by one man’s (Adam’s) disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.” -Romans 5:19
Since the word HAMARTIA is a NOUN that is referring to your sinful nature that you were born with, and NOT your sinful actions that you do; then there is no need to continue to confess and repent of it over and over again as a way to continually receive forgiveness from it…. But rather, the verse is showing the reader that confession of SIN (singular) is aONE TIME THING. Though the book of 1 John was written TO believers, in this verse John is talking ABOUT unbelievers and the process in which they must obtain salvation by…. Therefore, it is not expressing sin Confession by the Saved, but rather the process ofConversion by the Unsaved… Confessing, or acknowledging that they have SIN that they were born with so that they will see the need for a savior to remove and forgive that sin nature which was embedded within them since birth because of Adam.
By acknowledging their SIN, or sin nature within, the unsaved person has came to the realization that they need a savior and is therefore actually acknowledging Jesus Christ so that they can receive the forgiveness from that sin nature, and not merely admitting their personal sinful acts.
If 1 John 1:9 were originally written in English, it might better be written like this, which better represents the original Greek text…
“If we confess that we are SINNERS by Nature, then He (God) is faithful and just to forgive us our sin nature and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
This version of 1 John 1:9 better describes the point of the verse while dispelling the misconception that Christians must continually confess and repent of each new sinful act every time they sin in order to be forgiven of that sin… it also better confirms the security of our eternal salvation, and how trangressions have no power to effect our rightousness and salvation which has been sealed within our born again spirit-man until the day of redemption. (2 Cor. 1:22 & Eph. 4:30)
I would also remind you that in the very same letter, the apostle John confirms that our salvation is secure and cannot be effected by sinful acts because in the eyes of God a believer does not and cannot sin…
“Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.” – 1 John 3:9
Not to mention that Romans 4:8 tells us that God is not even imputing or counting our sins against us any more, which dispells the need to confess them to God in order to gain forgiveness… So, if God is not counting your sins, then why are YOU? And why are you reminding Him of the sins that He has already cast into the sea of forgetfulness at the cross and refuses to remember?
If you are looking to confess something to God, then stop confessing that you’re a sinner, which is what the devil says you are… and start confessing what the Bible says you are… The Righteousness of God in Christ! (2 Cor. 5:21)
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