John wrote five books of the New Testament. In his First Epistle, he sought to clarify the issue of the security of the believer: “These things I have written to you . . . that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 Jn 5:13). He explained how to know you are saved and also how to recognize if you are lost.
One of the “signs” of a lost person is found in 1 John 1:8: “If we say that we have not sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” Most people think they are “good.” Even murderers blame circumstances or other people for their crimes.
Almost everyone believes his “good” outweighs his “bad.” We can only get someone to admit he is a vile sinner—-one who is guilty of breaking God’s rules and is therefore lost—-when the Spirit of God brings His convicting power. Jesus said, “When He has come, He will convict the world of sin” (Jn 16:8).
One of the most uncomfortable commands in Scripture is to “confess your sins one to one another.” If we are transparent before God, we can be transparent with each other. It is emotionally and spiritually healthy to confess our sins to one another.
When we stop pretending to be better than we really are, the principle “love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Pet 4:8) can be practiced in the congregation. We must learn to say, “I’m struggling with greed or lust (and so on). Will you help me by praying for me and make me accountable?”
Sin is most dangerous when it is kept secret. It ferments and rots from within until it destroys its host.
The surrounding text indicates that healing can be accelerated when guilt is relieved by open confession. The word healing (Gk. iaomai) can mean God’s forgiveness as well (Matt 13:15; Acts 18:27).
Peter used this command to illustrate God’s forgiveness, making repentant believers spiritually whole again (1 Pet 2:24). Small groups may be an ideal platform for learning to confess to one another.
“Dear Jesus, please send into my life people who love You and are able to help me through the tough days when I fall into sin. Help me to be willing to confess my sin, find forgiveness in You, and rest in Your promise of being ‘cleansed from all unrighteousness’” (1 Jn 1:9).