Day 4 Read: 1 John 1:8-10
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
Reflect: How were some believers deceiving themselves, according to verse 8?
Consider: In contrast to these fatal errors of rejecting Jesus and claiming personal sinlessness, John makes clear in 1:9 that it is those who confess their sins by believing in Jesus who have fellowship with the Father and fulfill the condition for fellowship. If our identification of vv. 8–10 as dealing with the condition necessary for fellowship with God is correct, John’s point is that the true condition for fellowship is the confession of our sins. Yet John does not dispute their premise of the need for sinlessness. “When someone acknowledges and avows his fault … honestly [neither hiding nor denying his sins], he experiences God’s faithfulness and righteousness in the forgiveness of sins.” By virtue of the cleansing effect of Jesus’ atoning death, believers’ sins are forgiven. In effect, they are sinless in God’s sight (though not in themselves) and fit for fellowship with him.
Respond: If God has forgiven all of our sins because of Christ’s death, why do we need to confess our sins? What encouragement did John give to believers who struggle with sin?
 Daniel L. Akin, 1, 2, 3 John, vol. 38, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001), 74–75.