WHY I HATE THE DOCTRINE OF ETERNAL SALVATION (DOCTRINAL CONFUSION PART 6 -1 John 1: 9)
These series have been the narration of an encounter with a believer who sees the doctrine of eternal salvation as false. In the previous session, we explained Hebrews 10: 26. We explained that, willful sinning in that context is not about conscious sinful acts of believers but the willful rejection of the gospel of Christ or the rejection of the truth that Jesus is the only sacrifice for sin and apart from him, there is no other sacrifice for sin.
The explanation of this verse was clear to him and he had no cause to oppose it. However, in the course of the discussion, he raised the issue of forgiveness of sin. To him, a believer can only be forgiven when he recognizes the sins he has committed, feel sorry for that sin, pray to God for forgiveness (Confession) and repent from that sin. He referred to 1John 1: 9.
According to him, anything short of the conditions above cannot earn the believer forgiveness. He then added that if that believer refuses to change his ways or repent and dies in his sin, God will punish him and he will end up in hell.
In this part 6, we shall find out if confession of sins is a condition for the forgiveness of sins of the believer. Do we need to confess our sins to God before we are forgiven?
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. A good bible student will not just pick out the verse 9 and run with it. It is therefore good for us to read in context. We shall consider the whole of chapter one of 1 John 1: 1-4
”That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” The book of 1 John was written to believers to address some of the prevailing false teachings at that time.
In it was a message to warn the believers about these false teachers and their teachings. Let us see some of the things John wrote regarding these false doctrines and their teachers who were unbelievers. John called them antichrists.
1John 2: 8 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
1John 2: 22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. 1John 2: 26 These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. 1John 3: 7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.
1John 4: 1-3 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
In chapter one, one of these false teachings was addressed. It was the teaching that man was born with no sin in him and that man does not need salvation from any sin. This teaching was a deception that was gaining grounds and John had to write a letter to the church to counter this wrong teaching, a false doctrine that is being taught by some even in our generation.
1 John 1: 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 1 John 1: 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. Two things here, John is saying that If we say there is no sin in us as humans, we are only deceiving ourselves. Then he says in verse 10, if we say we never commit any sin, or as some say, sin is dead and so whatever wrong we do as humans is never sin, we make God a liar.
John then in verse 9 told them how a man gets saved. A man gets saved by acknowledging his sinful state and sinful acts and after that making the choice to rely on the faithfulness of Christ Jesus to cleans him from all sin. 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. In verse 3, John indicated how these false teachers can become saved and share in the same fellowship they have.
1 John 1:3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. Clearly in verse 3, he was addressing people who were yet to be in fellowship with them and Christ. That is a description of people who were unsaved. From verses 8 to 10, we can see that the message was about the unsaved or the false teachers.
1 John 1:8-10 If we say that we have no sin (hamartia: Greek), we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins (hamartia: Greek), he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
Therefore 1 John 1: 9 is not about believers and hence it is NOT telling believers to confess their sinful acts before they can be forgiven.
It is also vital to know that the Greek word for sin used in 1 John 1: 9 is “hamartia” which is a noun. The noun form of sin is mostly used to describe a sinful state or condition. The verb of sin in Greek is “hamartano” which is a doing word often used for an act or committal. 1 John 1: 9 is only telling the unsaved or the false teachers to acknowledge the sinful state of man (hamartia: Greek).
The Greek word for saying or confessing your sins out with the intention to be forgiven is “exomologeo”. However, homologeo was used in 1John 1: 9. They are not the same. Exomologeo was used in James 5: 16 and Mark 1: 5. James 5: 6 Confess (exomologeo: Greek) your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
Mark 1: 5 And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing (exomologeo: Greek) their sins. There is nowhere in the New Testament homologeo was used for sinful acts. It is mostly used by John in relation to Jesus and his work. (Check all the references John used the word confess).
1John 1: 9 is a salvation scripture for the sinner to get saved by acknowledging the faithfulness of Jesus to forgive sin and to cleanse him from all unrighteousness.
So, if 1 John 1:9 is not addressed to believers, how then do believers obtain forgiveness of sin when they commit sin? In the Epistle of First John, the author makes a clear distinction between the saved and the unsaved. The saved he called "my children".
Let's see what he tells his children regarding sin. 1 John 2: 1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: Here, John addresses them as my little children, that means we have no doubt he is talking to the saved. He went further to tell them not to commit sin (hamartano: Greek)) but if they sin, this is what they should do??
That they should confess and ask God for forgiveness? Is that what he said? No!! That is not what he said. He said when they sin, they should remember they already have an advocate with the Father. Who is this advocate? Jesus. And how did he become our advocate? When he took our place on the cross and paid the full price of every sin we will ever commit in our lives with his perfect blood.
John says whenever you sin remember this perfect sacrifice of your advocate, be conscious of it, that your forgiveness has been purchased by him, lest the enemy can outwit you and make you feel God has not forgiven you and that can affect your fellowship with the Father. In verse 12 he still addressed the believers as little children and assured them that their sins are already forgiven.
No condition spelt out for the believer to fulfil before he can be forgiven. You only have to know you have forgiveness of sin by being in Christ. 1 John 2: 12 I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake.
In conclusion, the man born again does not need to tell his sinful acts to God before he can be forgiven. Forgiveness of all his sins has already been given to him by being in Christ.
When you notice you are doing something wrong or you notice you did something wrong, this is what God expects of you: He expects you to repent or change your mind. To stop the wrong and do what is right or what is consistent with who you are in Christ. Regarding forgiveness, God has chosen to forgive us unconditionally in Christ.
God does not forgive us because we confessed our sins to him-No. The shed blood of Christ already purchased our forgiveness. Therefore, when it comes to forgiveness, we do not have any unsettled issue with God. All he desires is that, stop the wrong and do the right.
# Disseminating the truth
# Bringing freedom
# Perfecting the saints