“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
to forgive us our sins
God does two things based on His character:
Forgive the sins we confess and
Cleanse us from sins we forget to confess.
Forgiveness is the result of God’s faithfulness and justice. Forgiveness is also conditional – upon “confession.” The word “forgive” means to cancel, remit, pardon, send away, dismiss. Sin always incurs a debt to God. The idea then is that God removes our guilt for wrongdoing when we confess our sin.
Mt 26:28, “For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission [forgiveness] of sins.”
The forgiveness here is instantaneous (aorist). God forgives in a moment of time and once for all. He does not throw the sin you confess in your face to taunt you with it.
God forever dismisses our sin upon confession of the specific sin.
There are two kinds of forgiveness in the New Testament:
Eternal forgiveness, which all of us receive at the moment of salvation.
Temporal forgiveness, which we receive at the confession of specific sins.
We find eternal forgiveness in Ephesians 1:7.
Eph 1:7, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace…”
Temporal forgiveness restores the believer to fellowship with God (our verse). We “grieve” the Holy Spirit by not confessing sin (Eph 4:30). We can also “quench” the Spirit by not yielding ourselves to God’s will (1 Th 5:19).
God dismisses our sin upon confession. Forgiveness is a form of forgetting. If God forgets our sins, then we must forget them as well. We cannot allow a guilt complex to haunt us after God forgives us.
Php 3:13-14, “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”