Spiritual Cleansing

1 John 1:8-9 (NLT)

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.


Let’s be careful that the teaching on walking in the light does not unnecessarily shake your assurance of salvation or get you to base your assurance on your efforts at holiness. After all, it is the blood of Jesus that cleanses us from all our sins, not our works. We are justified by faith in his blood. Besides, walking in the light is precisely that – a walking, a journeying, not yet an arrival. And in the course of walking there will inevitably be some missteps. Also, it is precisely because we walk in the light that our imperfections are exposed, the result of which is that we are convicted of our sins. This leads us to our message for today: Spiritual Cleansing. Walking in the light leads to confession of sin.

1. The Premise of Spiritual Cleansing: Perfection is a lie (v. 8).

While we are in this body we will always be struggling against sin. There will be times of victory and sometimes defeat. The reality that we are not perfect and are still capable of sinning makes spiritual cleansing necessary. But when the Lord returns, we will receive glorified bodies which will no longer be capable of sinning. Then our victory over sin will be complete (see Phil. 3:12-14; Rom. 7:14-25; note that Rom. 7:25 is similar to 1 Cor. 15:57).

2. The Practice of Spiritual Cleansing: Confession is a must (v. 9a).

If we don’t confess our sins, we will be miserable. But if we confess and forsake them, God will restore the joy of our salvation (see Proverbs 28:13; Psalm 32:1-4; Psalm 51:7-12). Sin does not break the believer’s relationship with God, but it does break his fellowship.

But if we have already been cleansed of all our sins, why do we still need daily cleansing? Answer: John 13:2-10. We no longer need to “bathe” again. We have been completely justified by faith in Christ’s blood. But as we walk in this world, our feet become dirty and need to washed.

3. The Promise of Spiritual Cleansing: Forgiveness is assured (v. 9b).

God is faithful: What he has promised, he will fulfill. It is in keeping with God’s character to forgive those who repent: Numbers 23:19; Jonah 3:10; Isaiah 1:18; 2 Chronicles 7:14; 2 Chronicles 30:9; Joel 2:12-13; Psalm 51:17. His faithfulness also has to do with his covenant to forgive (Jer. 31:34).

God is just: For him to still condemn us after we have been justified by faith in Christ’s blood would be a case of double jeopardy (Rom. 8:32-34). The Lord Jesus on the cross cried, “Tetelestai!” It is finished! Christ has fully paid for our sins. God cannot withhold forgiveness from those who sincerely repent and put their faith in Christ.


1. Let us not be deceived by the teaching of sinless perfection in this life.

2. Let us be convicted but not discouraged by our sins; instead, let us be encouraged to confess our sins.

3. Let us not doubt rather let us believe in and be assured of God’s forgiveness. I believe in the forgiveness of sins.

©Dennis M. Cortes 2022

Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash


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