Confessing Our Sins, One More Time

Q. Re: Losing fellowship with the Lord when we sin and the need to confess. I know that confession of sins is a standard take on the Bible that is taught even in my church, but recently the Lord has given me a powerful revelation on his incredible GRACE. I now believe that Chapter 1 of 1 John was written to both believers and non believers. Or, it was written to believers who felt that once saved they no longer sinned (Gnostics). I have read both of these interpretations and they make sense. I don’t believe he was telling believers to confess to restore fellowship. First of all, God promises to never leave or forsake us. Second, we actually sin much much more than we realize. I think if we break our fellowship with him every time we sin then we will not have hardly any fellowship with him until we die.

A. You should ask yourself if the Lord gave you “a powerful revelation” about 1 John, or if you developed your own opinion from reading several varying interpretations, because both the interpretations you refer to conflict with God’s word. John repeatedly calls the recipients friends, or dear children, and uses inclusive language when speaking to or about them. He didn’t use this kind of language with non-believers. (See 1 John 2:18-19 for the contrast.) And in His concluding remarks he wrote, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:13).

The opinion that he wrote the first chapter to non-believers but the rest of the letter to believers makes no sense at all. Do you start a letter or e-mail to one person and without explanation suddenly begin writing to another person in the same document?

Neither does your conclusion that we sin so much we’d be out of fellowship most of the time negate the need for confession. What better reason to ask His forgiveness? Also, research shows that the overwhelming majority of those who call themselves born again spend most of their time in exactly the situation you mention, still saved but out of fellowship with God.

I’ve never understood why people resist confessing their sins, especially since forgiveness is automatic (1 John 1:9).

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