Summary: There are many precious privileges that come with being a child of God. Sadly, most of these privileges remain unclaimed by Christians.


I Jn. 1:9-2:2

INTRO. When you came to Jesus Christ for salvation, not only was your eternal destiny secured but you were granted the greatest privilege ever afforded to man. You were promised by God that if you would confess your sins He would forgive them. Most Christians do not fully understand exactly what this means. Many either do not take full advantage of this great blessing or they try to abuse this privilege by misusing it.

God has not left us to deal with sin in our lives the best we can. He has made provision for us. Tonight we will look at this wonderful provision.


John uses two terms for Christ -- Advocate and Propitiation. It’s important that we understand these two titles because they stand for two ministries that the Lord performs.

A. Propitiation.

1. Webster -- to appease someone who is angry.

a. A mean picture of God. Sure God is angry at sin but this pictures Him angry at the sinner or worse, Jesus.

b. "God so loved the world"

2. A better definition -- the satisfying of God’s holy law.

a. "God is light" and cannot close His eyes to sin.

b. But "God is love" and wants to save sinners.

3. How can a holy God uphold His own justice and still forgive sinners?

a. At the cross God in His holiness judged sin. But, in love, he offered Jesus Christ to the world as Saviour.

b. God was just in that He punished sin, but He is also loving in that He offers free forgiveness through what Jesus did at Calvary.

1. (I Jn. 4:10 and also Rom. 3:23-26)

2. Note the Sept. uses this word for

"Mercy seat".

B. Advocate

1. Christ is the Sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, but He is Advocate only for believers.

a. See 2:1 -- "We have an advocate"

b. A legal term applied to lawyers.

c. {paraclete} - Used for the Holy Spirit in John 14:16,26; 15:26. Means "one called alongside".

2. Jesus finished his work on earth but his work continues in heaven. He represents us before God’s throne.

a. Romans 8:34 -- When we confess our sins to God, He forgives us because of Christ’s advocacy.

b. (Illus.) Zech. 3:1-7

c. This is the advocacy of Christ. The merits of his sacrifice make our forgiveness possible. All he asks is that when we have failed we confess our sins.


A. Confess means more than to "admit" sins. It actually means "to say the same thing [about]." That is, to say the same thing about our sin that God says about it.

1. (Illus.) A counselor was trying to help a man who had come forward during an evangelistic meeting. "I’m a Christian," the man said, "but there’s sin in my life, and I need help." The counselor showed him I Jn. 1:9 and suggested that the man confess his sins to God.

"Oh Father," the man began, "if we have done anything wrong--"

"Just a minute!" the counselor interrupted, "Don’t drag me into your sin! My brother, it’s not ‘if’ or ‘we’ -- "If you want forgiveness for your sin, you had better get down to business with God!"

2. Confession is not praying a lovely prayer or making excuses. It is naming sin -- calling it what God calls it: envy, hatred, lust, deceit, etc.

3. Confession means being honest...completely honest. It means judging sin the way God judges it.

B. Forgiveness

1. When we confess our sins, God promises to forgive us. (Vs. 1:9)

a. But this is not a "magic rabbit’s foot" that makes it easy for us to disobey God.

b. (Illus.) -- "I went out and sinned," a student told his pastor, "because I knew I could come back and ask God to forgive me."

"On what basis can God forgive you?" The pastor asked, pointing to I Jn. 1:9.

"God is faithful and just," the boy replied.

"Those two words should have kept you out of sin." "Do you know what it cost God to forgive your sins?"

The boy hung his head. "Jesus had to die for me."

The pastor zeroed in. "That’s right -- forgiveness isn’t some cheap sideshow trick God performs. God is faithful to His promise, and God is just, because Christ died for your sins and paid the penalty for you. Now, the next time you plan to sin, remember that you are going to sin against a faithful loving God!"

C. Cleansing.

1. David prayed, "Create in me a clean heart O God."

2. When our confession is sincere, God does a cleansing work (1:9) in our heart. He uses His Spirit and His word to do this.

3. The greatest mistake King David made was in trying to cover his sins instead of confessing them. For perhaps a whole year he lived in deceit.

CONCLU. When should we confess our sin? Immediately when we discover it! (Prov. 28:13) -- "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper; but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy"

By walking in the light, we are able to see the "dirt" in our lives and deal with it immediately.

This leads to a third way to deal with sins: we can try to cover them, we can confess them, or we can conquer them.