This morning I found myself in I John for my Bible study. I was actually in a hurry to read these verses, answer my devotional question, and move on to the next one in Lies Women Believe. But I found myself drawn to I Jn 1:9, and the more I read it and thought about it, the more it came to life. Now, I'm no Bible scholar (that would be my husband :) or commentator but I do know what I gleaned from this passage.
I Jn 1:9 - If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unfrighteousness.
I think the reason this caught my attention is because it seems to have elements of contradiction in it. Knowing that the Bible is infallible and that it is truth, I took a closer look. The words "faithful" and "just", at first glance, appear to be opposites. Faithfulness, when it come to forgiving sins, tends to imply unconditional love and favor toward us who are undeserving. "Just" or justice, when it comes to sins, tends to imply punishment and getting what we deserve. I have read this verse so many times yet never stopped to dwell on each adjective. It was almost as if I read them together so many times and so fast that they became a new word" 'faithfulandjust"! But seperating them back out brought them new life to me.
So how can God be faithful and just when it comes to sins? In order for Him to be faithful to forgive our sins, He had to bring about justice through someone else. God's supreme character demands (and I say deserves!) holiness. In His sovereignty, He set forth a universe with the sole purpose to glorify Himself unto that holiness. That universe turned its back on Him and left Him unglorified. A price had to be paid for that eternal mistake. And since we were the offenders, we should be the ones to pay. "But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved." Eph 2:4-5. God offered up His son as a payment for the price of that eternal mistake. God's wrath toward our mistakes was satisfied in the punishment of Jesus Christ - namely his death. There is the "just" component of our verse.
With Jesus having taken our blame through his substitutionary death ("and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world." I Jn 2:2), God can now show His favor toward us through the redemption of our souls (salvation), eternal life, and forgiveness of sins. There is the "faithful" component of our verse.
Though at first this Scripture may have seemed "old hat" to me, I found (once again) that there is life in every verse. "For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul and spirit, joints and marrow, as it judges the thoughts and purposes of the heart." Hebrews 4:12