Daily Devotional

1 John 1:9 - “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (ESV)

There are two mistakes we can make in the Christian life that are equally dangerous: we can be too hard on ourselves, or we can be too easy on ourselves.  

The second mistake leads to a life of unrestrained sin and flagrant disregard for the grace of God.  The apostle John clearly condemns such an attitude (1 John 1:6, 8).  

The first mistake entangles believers in a web of guilt and shame, and robs them of joy and energy.

To correct those two mistakes, John gave us a third option—which is a humble, honest assessment of ourselves combined with a radical reliance on the grace of God.

Confessing our sin means saying the same about it that God says.  We admit it honestly, despise it thoroughly, turn from it quickly…and then receive God’s gift of undeserved grace.

Because Christ paid the insurmountable debt for our sin, he is able not only to forgive us (to remove our guilt), but to cleanse us (to wash away our shame.)

And yet many Christians remain tangled in their web of shame.  If that’s your particular struggle, I pray this illustration by D.L. Moody will help snip the threads:

“We greatly dishonor God by bringing up our sins after he has forgiven them.  Hundreds of Christians are doing this all the time.  Suppose my little child has disobeyed me, and comes to me and says, ‘Papa, I did what you told me not to do; I want to be forgiven.’  She has deep and genuine repentance.  I kiss away her tears and forgive her.”

She then comes to me the next day and wants to talk about it.  ‘No,’ I say, ‘it is all forgiven.’

The next day she says, ‘Papa, won’t you forgive me for that sin I did two days ago?’  I think that would grieve me!  Suppose she came to me every morning for six months: Would it not grieve and dishonor me?

God has not only forgiven our sins, but has removed them for time and eternity.  Ought one to grieve and dishonor him by bringing them up before him every day?”

If you have truly repented of your sin and received the grace of God, it’s time to let go of the past.  Don’t be so hard on yourself!
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
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