Focal passage: 1 John 1:5-2:2
My daughter, Liv, now almost two years old, has a small but ever-growing vocabulary: mama, dada, up, bite, more, bubbles, yes, show, baby, shark and a mix of animal sounds. Every day, it seems, she quietly picks up new words. Recently she has started using the word “help” when she gets stuck or frustrated.
“Help?” She’ll look up with her sock halfway on, grunting and struggling, “Help?”
She’s always been independent, busily working at her sensory table or pulling books to read with no need for reassurance, so when she says, “help,” I know she needs me. “Help?” she asks. Do you see me? “Help?”
And do you know what I do when I hear her ask for help? I help her. She’s my child – my sweet, goofy girl who confidently puts her shoes on the wrong feet and loads up her arms with bracelets and bags – and when she calls out to me for help, I help her.
In John’s first epistle, he opens with some of the most rhythmic and concrete assertions: “heard … seen … looked upon … touched with our hands.” But then he quickly moves to more abstract ideas – light, darkness, truth and lies. As he sends words of encouragement and clarity to his churches, in the midst of false teachers aiming to reframe who Christ is and thus what fellowship with God requires, he includes some very straight-forward claims.
“If we confess our sins, [God] is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8). So simple, so clear. When we confess our sins, we don’t have to wonder how God will respond to us. The work of Jesus in life, death, resurrection, and even now in heaven secures a positive response from God for those who have put their faith in Christ. We confess our sins, and God forgives us. No wondering if He is going to waver or turn away and say no. “Forgive me?” we ask our Father in heaven, and, because of Jesus, His answer will be yes – always yes.