1 John 1:8-2:2
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. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
Some people take offense so easily these days, as though they are constantly on the lookout for any little social indiscretion or poorly chosen turn of phrase that somehow wounds their sensitive hearts. There’s even a term for these tiny, often unintentional violations of someone’s social sensibilities: micro-aggressions. Opinions, ideas, beliefs or even the words we use in casual conversation can now be deemed offensive, aggressive or socially violent. As if the real problems and tragedies of our world weren’t enough to worry about. Do you know what offends God? Do you know what wounds God’s heart? Each and every sin committed by you, me and everyone in this world. Sins include all the things we do to hurt God, hurt other people or hurt ourselves. Sins are violations of God’s rules. All of our sins offend the holy, righteous, glorious God who grieves over the ways we contribute to the mess of his good world.
John wrote these words to other followers of Jesus, good church-going, Bible-believing Christians. As the letter goes on, we will read beautiful words about God’s love and the wonderful new life we experience through Jesus our Savior. But first, John reminded his readers, including us all these years later, that we are sinners. You might claim to be a good person, but you can’t honestly say that you have never done anything wrong. You might want to ignore the bad stuff you do, think and say, but don’t forget that God sees it all and, yes, takes offense at your sin. That’s the hard truth, and then comes the wonderful good news: if you confess your sin, God will forgive you and wash you clean. What’s even more amazing is that God, who takes offense at your sin, sent his own Son to become the “atoning sacrifice,” the offering that paid the price to put things right in your life and mine. Amazing grace!
These words call us to do two things. First, we are invited to confess our sins. We don’t need to be afraid of God. We shouldn’t try to make excuses or act like God hasn’t noticed the bad things we do. No, we should honestly, humbly confess and ask God to wash us clean. I am a sinner. Please forgive me. And you know what? He will! He already has through Jesus’ death and resurrection. Second, we are called to stop sinning. Whatever temptations you face, whatever moral struggles you have, God asks you to change your behavior and your attitude. Turn away from sin and selfishness. Turn instead to God and the wisdom of his word.
Father, forgive me for my sin. I know I have hurt You and hurt the people around me. I am sorry, and I need Your grace to wash me clean. Thank You for sending Jesus to put things right in my heart. Help me to turn from sin and to follow You. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Pastor Mike Mirakian