But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:7-9, KJV).

Well, There’s Just A “We” Limitation Here Though

We focus attention on verse 9 of our text — If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrghteousness. This sounds almost too good to be true; if we confess our sins, God faithfully forgives us of all of them. Could this actually be true? Well, yes…and…no. Dr. Donald Barnhouse shares the benefit of his insight:

Great embarrassment can arise if you include yourself in a “we”…that has no place for you. “We are going to drive to California,” someone might say, but when you get into the car you will be told that you were not included and that there is no place in the plans for you. I thought of this when I saw on a sign outside a church a part of a great verse: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive” (1 John 1:9). Crowds were passing and I wondered at the possible reaction of individuals to the text. Did some unbelievers get the idea that God was sort of good grandmother who would condone and overlook any offense for a spoiled child would say, “Grannie, I’m sorry”?

And then, in my mind, I reworded the text for use in front of a bank: “If we present our checks, the bank is faithful and just to cash them.” Immediately it is seen that the “we” is not a universal one, but is strictly limited to depositors, and that the promise is limited by certain rules for the cashing…if you are not a depositor, you may not expect the check to be cashed (Illustrating Great Themes of Scripture, 22).

The key to understanding our opening text is the blood of Jesus Christ [God’s] Son cleanseth us from all sin. Prior to accepting Christ as Lord and Savior the Bible teaches us that men and women owe a debt to God that is far greater than any of us could ever pay. And this is one of the greatest themes in Scripture; the wondrous truth of the Gospel of God that the Father chose to forgive sins through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ of Nazareth—God the Son—Who volunteered to come here, and in the power of the Holy Spirit, to live the perfect life required to be in God’s presence. The LORD God will then “impute, reckon, credit” this merit into the “account” of anyone who will completely and fully trust in Christ alone as their Lord and Savior, which is exactly where apostate Roman Catholicism misses the mark.

In the Bible we read — Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness (Romans 4:4-5). When we seek a little further we then find — But God demonstrates His Own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! (Romans 5:8-10). And, to all those who have been given eyes that see, what will clearly become visible here is the grace of our loving God; His unmerited favor toward all those who will accept His free gift of salvation in Christ Jesus.

This is the only way to be included in the “we” which is being discussed in the opening text. The sad reality for those who reject Christ truly is as Barnhouse now concludes:

One of the most important facts in Biblical interpretation is that the Bible is restricted for much of its meaning to those who are definite believers in Christ. Apart from the universal offer of salvation to the lost, there is not a line in the Bible for the Hindu, the Muslim or the unregenerate Protestant. There is not one word of comfort in time of sorrow, of consolation in bereavement, or strength in time of weakness, for those who have not been born again (ibid).

The Road To Be Forgiven Is A Narrow One

The lying spirit of universalism behind much of this man-centered ecumenical Emergence rebellion against Sola Scriptura; the lie of the “easy-believism” so prevalent within the apostatizing evangelical camp today, does not take into account many verses in the Word of God such as Psalm 78:2 where we are told of Messiah — “I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter hidden things, things from of old.” We need to remember what Christ Jesus of Nazareth would later tell His true followers — “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them” (Matthew 13:11). Once we grasp what the Master, with such veracity, is telling us here , then we are able to more fully appreciate Matthew 13:35, which informs us that when our Lord Jesus Christ taught in parables He was simply fulfilling — what was spoken through the prophet: “I will open my mouth in parables, will utter things hidden since the creation of the world.”

So let us properly meditate upon this truth, and then combine it with what we learn in Proverbs 1 — the wise listen and add to their learning, and — someone who is truly hearing from God will be discerning and seeking to — get guidance—for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise (vv. 5-6). And now we should find ourselves emerging with a proper purpose, a true word of faith, and the recognition that, so much Biblical truth is currently missing from the presentation of these centered on the self seeker sensitive non-gospels. The fact remains that, if they don’t repent, even teachers of a counterfeit Christianity like e.g. Rob Bell and Joel Osteen and PDL Pope Rick Warren are themselves going to find out the real purpose driving the Lord’s growing wrath concerning all these lies right now being taught in His Name.

And it is at this point as well that we will see why more people aren’t coming to genuine salvation in our generation. We need to understand that the Bible is written to those people to whom God is calling to Christ through His Spirit and it is not most definitely not a universal message as is, all too commonly, portrayed today. This is not to get into the Calvinism-Arminian debate because both camps agree that there is an elect, which is what I am speaking about here. The Word of the Lord to all those who will not repent and believe the Good News is actually a very stern warning and rebuke. It is not one of unconditional love as the ever growing legion of false prophets are proudly proclaiming; but rather, the LORD God says to the impenitent — If you had responded to my rebuke, I would have poured out my heart to you and made my thoughts known to you (Proverbs 1:23).

The Bible clearly teaches that some will respond to the true Gospel presentation, but unfortunately, most will not. The truth is that we finite human beings cannot fully understand on what basis the Lord will then say to all those people who will not respond to him — you rejected me when I called (v.24). But it is not for us to try and help God to become more “appealing.” It is not for us to lie to people because we are afraid the true Gospel message is too “offensive” and tell them that anyone can choose come to Christ through their own decision. No, we also need to stand ready to let the world know that our loving Father in Heaven says to all those who refuse to accept His Gospel — “since you ignored all my advice and would not accept my rebuke,…when distress and trouble overwhelm you. Then they will call to Me but I will not answer; they will look for Me but will not find Me (vv.25,27,28).

Men and women there is still time, and we remain thankful that—for now—there is still a way to be forgiven. Can you hear Christ today as He tells you about a small gate and a narrow road? Why don’t you pause for a moment from your aimless and pointless walk along that broad road of religion to listen carefully as Jesus says — small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it (see—Matthew 7:13-14). You see Holy Scripture informs us about the only way to start back toward that small gate, though which, we enter onto that narrow road to be forgiven — The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge (Proverbs 1:7). And so, now you know. Now you have the knowledge. Are you wise enough to fear Almighty God? If so, now you will understand what the Lord means as He says to you — All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and whoever comes to Me I will never drive away (John 6:37).

So then, what about you; do you want to know how it feels to really be forgiven?