Word for the Day
The blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (First John 1:7-9)
Pastor Spencer - Very often the "conditional" nature of these verses causes great confusion and even consternation among Believers. At first glance it looks as though God's forgiveness is based on something we do, namely, confession. But there are actually two ideas at work in forgiveness. One is acknowledgement of certain truths; that we have gone against God's perfect will for us, in other words, sinned. The second is that we look to Him for complete pardon, in other words, faith; and other passages of the Bible make very clear that this faith too comes only from God and by His working in us, NOT something we "do." So, in a way, there is a condition on forgiveness, in that we must believe, but God Himself fulfills that condition by creating saving faith in us through the Gospel in Word and Sacraments. Now, I have never known anyone, even the rankest atheist, who thought he never sinned, even if he didn't use that word. No one has ever claimed to be perfect, at least no one who is of their right mind. So, what John is saying here fits perfectly with this condition of faith. Thus, if someone does not acknowledge going against God - which, of course, they would not do if they did not believe in Him in the first place - and does not go to Him in faith for forgiveness, they do not have forgiveness. It's just as simple as that. This does not mean their sins were not fully paid for by Christ on the Cross - not at all! What it means is that they deny this payment, and thus insist on paying for their sins on their own. This, God is willing to let them do, by sending them to hell forever. So, don't let the "ifs" in this passage bother you. God has given you faith, and will see to it that you keep it - to eternal life!