Sunday, August 24, 2008

First John 1:9

Confession of sin is an important part of the daily Christian life. It is both an OT and NT principle.

In the OT the confession of sin came along with the sacrifices. Lev. 5:5 “When anyone is guilty in any of these ways he must confess in what way he has sinned and, as a penalty for the sin he has committed he must bring. . . .”

In the OT the confession of sin could occur before or without a sacrifice as with David confessing his sin with Bathsheba to Nathan the prophet. 2 Samuel 12:7-14, “Then Nathan said to David, ‘You are the man! . . . Then David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’ . . . Nathan replied, ‘The Lord has taken away your sin. . . .’ ” This point was made clear to me this last summer at the gift shop of an orthodox Jew down by the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Some one asked him how the Jews could be forgiven of their sins without a temple to make sacrifices. He said that in their scriptures (our OT) forgiveness came first through confession of the sin.

Confession or naming the sin is the attitude behind Psalm 32:3-5, “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away . . . For day and night your hand was heavy upon me. . . .Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’ – and you forgave the guilt of my sin.”

Proverbs 28:13, “Whoever confesses and renounces them (sins) finds mercy.”

The principle is also found in the prophets when Jeremiah says in Jer. 3:12, 13, “I will not be angry forever. Only acknowledge your guilt.”

In the NT the principle continues. Paul commands us to examine ourselves in 1 Corinthians 11:28 when he says in the imperative mood (the mood of Command), A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.” The word “examine” is the Greek word “dokimadzo” which is:
· present tense meaning do it now and keep doing it, calling for a repeated action
· the active voice which means you do it (and it does not mean someone is doing it to you),
· and, of course, the imperative mood which makes it a command and not potential, or a wish or an event that is a fact.
· “dokimadzo” means “to examine, to approve after examination”
See the Tense, Mood, Voice here:

In 1 John 1:9
The word “confess” comes from two Greek words. The first means “to speak” and the second means “the same”. Together they make up the Greek word “homologomen” which is the present tense, subjunctive mood, active voice of the word “homologeo” (“homo” = “the same” and “logeo” = “to speak”)
Present – (see above)
Subjunctive mood – is the mood of potential. Meaning it could happen potentially. This explains the class of “if” used in 1 John 1:9
Active Voice – means you do the action. Again, it is not something that is done for you or to you as would be the case if it were in the middle or passive voice.
The four classes of “if” in the Greek are:
First class – “if and it is true”
Second class – “if and it is not true”
Third class – “If and I don’t know”
Fourth class – “If and I wish it were, but it is not”
See more explanation of the Greek “if” here

Confusion may come when we do not recognize the difference between:
1) our eternal position in Christ attained through faith in Jesus
2) our temporal fellowship with Christ maintained by “walking in the light as he is in the light”

I do not believe a believer can loose #1.
I do believe a believer can (and often does) loose #2.

Our daily sin can not affect our sonship.
Our daily sin does break our fellowship.

We enter into sonship once at our new birth.
We are constantly breaking (by sin) or restoring (by confession) our fellowship. This is seen in the context of both the OT and NT and in the verb tenses in the Greek.

At the last supper Jesus told Peter, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet.”
The bath is salvation for eternal life. Washing the feet is the confession of our sins for daily fellowship.

Indeed, I agree with you. The early stages of Gnosticism were developing. Church history records John having to deal personally with Cerinthus, a early Gnostic.

I also agree with you that you can thank Jesus that your sins are forgiven and that by “naming them” or “confessing” them you are saying the same thing as he is and thus restoring your fellowship. Failure to call you personal and daily violations of his word as sin would mean you were not in agreement with him and so you would not have fellowship. You would be a Son of God that was out of fellowship with your Father.

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