“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
On October 31, 1517, a monk named Martin Luther hammered his list of 95 theses to the door of the castle church in Wittenberg, Germany, lighting the fire of the Protestant Reformation.
As he questioned abuses in the Catholic Church at the time, his first point was this: “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ‘Repent’ [Matt. 4:17], he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.”
It’s easy to acknowledge the need for repentance in an established institution. It’s a very different thing to admit the reality of sin in ourselves. Luther was right, and his statement applies to every one of us. We are all sinners in need of a Savior, and his name is Jesus.
If you will not admit you are dirty, you cannot be washed clean.
It’s in the middle of this condition that the gospel comes to us in 1 John 1:9. The image is that our sin, as well as the sin committed agains us, stains us, and makes us dirty. The good news is that, through Jesus, his death and resurrection, we can be forgiven and washed clean.
However, the cleansing is contingent on our confession. If you will not admit you are dirty, you cannot be washed clean. This process of admitting you need a Savior, confessing your sin, and being washed clean is what we call repentance. Where do you need to acknowledge your sin in confession to Jesus? Where do you need to accept and live in light of his cleansing forgiveness?
You may have heard this gospel message and believe in it intellectually but until it brings you to acknowledgement of your sin it has not taken root. In the words of the old hymn, “sin has left a crimson stain, he washed it white as snow.”
All of life is repentance. Jesus’ cleansing is real. Turn to him today.