by Mike Ratliff
9 ἐὰν ὁμολογῶμεν τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἡμῶν, πιστός ἐστιν καὶ δίκαιος, ἵνα ἀφῇ ἡμῖν τὰς ἁμαρτίας καὶ καθαρίσῃ ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ πάσης ἀδικίας. 1 John 1:9 (NA28)
9 If we confess our sins , He is faithful and just, that he may forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)
When the focus of “Christianity” is moved from being God-focused to Man-focused confusion is the ultimate consequence. We see this with so-called Christian leaders like N.T. Wright who is nothing more than an intellectual “Christian” liberal who is attempting to redefine the Gospel or “Good News” along the lines of those who follow Jesus asserting Christ’s kingdom here on earth. On the other hand, there are multitudes of other aberrations of Christian doctrine in which so-called Christian leaders with no understanding of the Sovereignty of God and His Grace who attempt to dismantle Christian doctrine and redefine it along the lines of Pelagianism, Semi-Pelagianism, and Arminianism.
What are Christians to do when they sin? False teachers insist that they lose their salvation. However, that teaching is inconsistent with the Biblical principle of “eternal salvation” (Hebrews 5:9), which is taught throughout the New Testament.
Read the passage I placed at the top of this post. What did the Apostle John teach us in that verse? If we do sin, we are forgiven by confessing our sin. The words, “we confess” translates ὁμολογῶμεν (homologōmen). This is a compound word made up of λέγω (legō), which means “to say,” and the prefix ὁμο (homo), which means “same.” Combined, ὁμολογῶμεν gives us the meaning, “to say the same words.” Therefore, what does it mean here? To confess sin means “to say the same thing about sin that God says,” that is, “to call sin, sin.” The same word, ὁμολογῶμεν, is used in Romans 10:9-10.
9 ὅτι ἐὰν ὁμολογήσῃς ἐν τῷ στόματί σου κύριον Ἰησοῦν καὶ πιστεύσῃς ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ σου ὅτι ὁ θεὸς αὐτὸν ἤγειρεν ἐκ νεκρῶν, σωθήσῃ· 10 καρδίᾳ γὰρ πιστεύεται εἰς δικαιοσύνην, στόματι δὲ ὁμολογεῖται εἰς σωτηρίαν. Romans 10:9-10 (NA28)
9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. Romans 10:9-10 (NASB)
In other words, to be saved, we must say the same words about Christ as Scripture, that He is God and that He is the only way to salvation.
So, to confess is to join the ranks of David who said, “I have sinned” (Psalms 51:4). To confess means that we do not make excuses, we do not blame others, but rather we “acknowledge” our sins (v3) with “a broken and contrite heart” (v17), When we do truly confess our known sin what does God do? He cleanses us from all sin. Now that is grace, Amazing Grace! We no longer require redemption, only cleansing. Confession shows a relationship, a relationship of a child to a Father, and we can rejoice in that wonderful relationship.
Soli Deo Gloria!