A gracEmail subscriber writes:
“I hardly know what to do. I love God and trust in Jesus as my Savior. I try very hard not to sin, and I sometimes go for long periods without intentionally doing anything that I know displeases God. But then I always stumble and do something that I know is wrong. I am so ashamed of myself, confess my sin to God and ask his forgivenness. Is there any hope for me?”

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You are not alone–if we are truly aware and honest, we all can say the same. It is just this situation that John describes early in his first epistle. There are two easy but wrong ways of dealing with this that we must always avoid. The first is to pretend that sin is okay. “God is light and in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). If we say we walk with him while choosing sin as our way of life, we lie (1:6). The second wrong way is to deny that we ever sin, which is false and self-deceptive (1:8).

Our hope and our victory is in God’s promise: “If we walk in the light . . . we have fellowship with one another [us and God], and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1:7). Our “walk” is our usual way of life, our chosen path. Even when we choose to walk with God, we occasionally sin–and when we do, Jesus’ sacrifice atones for our sin. Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Jesus’ atonement is ever-present, and as our high priest in heaven, he ensures that it never fails in its purpose. “If we confess our sin, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1:9). This is the truth of the matter, and it is all about Jesus Christ who is eternal life, and through fellowship with him we have fellowship with God the Father (1:1-4). This, not sin, is the path to fullness of joy (1:4).