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::Devotional:: ’1 John 1:9, My Life-Preserver’

June 11, 2010

Recently I watched Morning Light, a documentary about 15 teenagers who trained and raced in the TransPac (Trans Pacific) sailboat race.  Covering 2,300 miles from Los Angeles to Honolulu it is one of the premiere racing events in the world.  One of the drills in their training dealt with a man overboard scenario.  The first step in that drill was to toss out a life-preserver because it would be several minutes before the boat could turn around and come back.  Without the life-preserver, the crew could literally lose the man in the water.  Thank the Lord for the life-preserver!

I used to really hate admitting to my mistakes and my faults; and probably to a fault I am more at ease admitting them now. See. Haha!  I used to think that admitting to those things made me weak and exposed my failures (every man’s fear), but I’m realizing now that doing so testifies to the glory of the Lord.  Now I’m not talking about airing my dirty laundry.  There are moments of weakness, acute and chronic, that I pray only the Lord ever knows about.  The reality is that we all fall short of God’s glory and we are all in need of forgiveness on a daily basis.

My life often resembles the training scenario in Morning Light.  Many days and even many times during the day I am the man overboard.  I become the little speck in the vast expanse of the open ocean and I’m in desperate need of rescue and forgiveness.  I praise God he has place a life-preserver there for me in those moments.  1 John 1:9 is my life-preserver.

8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.  1 John :8-10

The key to that verse is the verb confess.  It’s the conditional action that we must perform in order for the Lord to do his part.  Notice in verses 8 and 10 the verb is not confess but claim, or say in some translations.  That’s a big indicator that there is something very special about the word that is different from the others.

The Greek word that is translated as claim or say is lego (click for pronunciation) literally meaning to say or speak.  In the context, there is a very real sense that this type of saying brings with it a large degree of untruth and doubt.  Another of example of this same word can be seen in John 19:21 where the Jewish leaders were instructing Pilate on making the sign to hang above Jesus on the cross.

21 The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.”  John 19:21

It is obvious in that context that the leaders did not believe Jesus’ claim.  Just like in 1 John 1:8&9, there is serious doubt if we claim we are without sin or have not sinned.  So the word confess, in 1 John 1:9 stands exposed in contrast.

The Greek word translated as confess is homologeo (click for pronunciation) literally meaning to say the same as another.  In other words to agree with what someone else says about the issue at had.  In the context of 1 John 1:9, that other person is the Lord and the issue at hand is our sin.

In paraphrase, 1 John 1:9 says that if we will agree with the Lord on what he has already said in his word about our sin(s) he will be faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  Often times it is humbling, embarrassing, and especially shameful to confess my sins to the Lord.  But it is absolutely necessary.  It is my only condition to receive the daily forgiveness from the Lord.

Pg. 2276 of my NIV study Bible may be worn out by the end of my life because that’s where 1 John 1:9 falls and I spend a lot of time there.  It’s my life-preserver.

-Stay Rooted Col. 2:7-

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