Receiving God's mercy
If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts. 1 John 1:8-10 NLT
When the Lord Jesus Christ taught His disciples how to pray, it included asking for forgiveness of sin: “and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us” (Matthew 6:12). The Lord knows that believers, though they are His children, are not perfect and will commit sin. This is what James is asserting from the text. “If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth” (1 John 1:8). If we say that we have no sin, we are misleading ourselves. Furthermore, the truth of God’s Word is not in us. In our spiritual blindness, we go against the plain teaching of Scripture. “All have turned away; all have become useless. No one does good, not a single one” (Romans 3:12). God will judge us by the words we have spoken, for our own words will condemn us. But when we realize that we sin and we are willing to confront our sin, God “is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness” (1 John 1:9). We honestly and openly admit to God our sin and His promise is that we will receive mercy. “People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy” (Proverbs 28:13). Our God who does no wrong and just is faithful to forgive us of our sins. All He wants from us is to come to Him in humility and confess. “And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins” (Jeremiah 31:34). Our sins hinder our fellowship with God. And God requires His children to be in constant fellowship with Him. This is why God fulfills His promise that if we confess our sins, He will “forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” God already took the initiative to provide us salvation so we can experience real fellowship with Him. All He wants from us is to constantly draw ourselves to Him for we are His children who were forgiven and in the direction towards holiness. “‘Come now, let’s settle this,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool’” (Isaiah 1:18). Those who do not believe God will assert that they are not sinners. By doing this, they are making themselves equal with God, for He alone is perfect and sinless. When we remain in this attitude, the Word of God will have no place in our hearts, we will not believe His message of salvation, and we deceive ourselves. Our hardened hearts will prevent us to draw ourselves to God, “For this good news—that God has prepared this rest—has been announced to us just as it was to them. But it did them no good because they didn’t share the faith of those who listened to God. For only we who believe can enter his rest” (Hebrews 4:2-3).