Bible Study

1 John Bible Study, Day 5: Confess Our Sins

Today’s passage: 1 John 1:8–10

Focus verse: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

As a young teen, I had a Sunday school teacher who claimed he sometimes would go an entire day without sinning. Granted, he didn’t claim to be without sin, only that he had some days where he avoided it. 

Though he was a godly man and I respected him deeply, I questioned if such a thing were possible. At least I doubted it was for me.

It could be I was too sensitive to sin or wrongly confused temptation with sin, but I wondered if I could even go one hour without sinning, let alone twenty-four.

Today’s trio of verses addresses sin and our attitude toward it. This passage opens and closes with parallel verses that restate the same idea: if we claim to live a life without sin, we delude ourselves. (My teacher only claimed to be sinless for a day, not a lifetime.)

Scripture says that everyone has sinned and falls short of God’s expectations (Romans 3:23). Therefore, if we claim we’re sinless, we make God out to be a liar and do not accept his truth.

Fortunately, we don’t need to wallow in our sinfulness. Sandwiched between these two verses about our sin-filled nature, we find a most encouraging promise. 

John says if we confess our sins, God will forgive them, purifying us from our unrighteousness, that is, from our wrong behavior. We can count on it.

John also writes that Jesus died for the sins of the entire world (1 John 2:2), but we don’t automatically receive his forgiveness. Through this sacrificial death, Jesus has prepared the gift of salvation for everyone. But until we receive his present it’s not ours. 

We can receive Jesus’s gift of salvation when we admit our faults. But to do that, we must first acknowledge that our sins need forgiving.

When we confess our sins, that is, admit our faults to Jesus, we can have confidence in his response of forgiveness. This is because he’s already died for our sins to make us right with Father God.

He will be faithful to forgive. And his forgiveness is because his death satisfied what justice demands. This is what it means when John writes that Jesus is faithful and just.

When we confess our sins, we will receive his forgiveness. This purifies us from all the wrongs we have done and all the wrong things we will do. 


  1. How do you define sin?
  2. Why does the world oppose the word sin?
  3. Have you confessed your sins to Jesus and received his forgiveness? 
  4. What does confession look like to you?
  5. How should we live our life knowing that he has purified us from our unrighteousness?

Discover more about confession in Psalm 32:5, Proverbs 28:13, and Acts 19:18.

Tips: Check out our tips to use this online Bible study for your church, small group, Sunday school class, or family discussion. It’s also ideal for personal study. Come back each Monday for a new lesson.

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Discover practical, insightful, and encouraging truths in Love One Another, a devotional Bible study to foster a deeper appreciation for the two greatest commandments: To love God and to love others.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

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