I grew up reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous short stories of Sherlock Holmes. I loved trying to discover with him who were the bad guys. In hindsight that fun exercise helped me with reading comprehension and Bible study. It taught me to ask good questions and to look beneath the surface.
That is what we are doing as we read I John. The reason why he was writing was to encourage a struggling people whose church had just come apart. They were confused, wondering if they had believed the wrong thing. The really smart people were leaving the church. They needed encouragement to continue the journey God had set before them and to do it with joy.
Today the question is, what happens when we finally confess individual sins?
· God promises to forgive us of our sins.
· The basis of this promise is God’s character. God is faithful in the sense that he’s dependable; he’s dependable to keep his promises.
· This means that God isn’t going to change his mind about forgiveness, he’s not going to look at you and say, “Oh that’s a terrible sin, there’s no way I can forgive that one.” God’s made a promise to always forgive any sin that’s confessed, and his character is such that he’s dependable to keep that promise.
God is also “just” or “righteous” to forgive us. Now we usually think of God’s forgiveness as an act of mercy, not as an expression of God’s justice. Yet John is telling us that it’s morally right for God to forgive our sins. Forgiveness is not a matter of God compromising his righteousness, but it’s an expression of his justice. This is only true because Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay the penalty for all of our sins–as we’ll see in more detail in a minute–and because of the cross it’s just for God to forgive our sins.
When we confess our sins, God forgives and purifies.
· The word “forgive” is a legal term that describes God breaking down the barrier between God and us because of our sin.
· The word “purify” describes a removal of the stain caused by sin, a washing away of the defilement caused by our rebellion.
Notice that John is writing to people who are already followers of Christ, the churches of Asia Minor.
What does this have to do with being a Sports Chaplain? You have the privilege to share this truth with athletes that really think that no one could ever forgive them. They desperately need this gospel. Believe it for yourself – you are not 99% forgiven – you and your athletes can be 100% forgiven today!
The Biblical Chaplain told me to tell you!