It could be said that John 3:16 is the most important Bible verse for unbelievers. After all, what’s more important than understanding the gospel message–that eternal life with God is possible through the saving blood of Jesus Christ? However, if that’s true, then what’s the most important Bible verse for believers–those who have already experience the saving grace of Christ Jesus?
The most important Bible verse for believers could well be 1 John 1:9, which says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Although a believer’s eternal fellowship with God is never in question, his temporal fellowship can be quite volatile while still in this fleshly life. We can think of this as two concentric circles where the outer circle is our eternal fellowship, and the inner circle is temporal fellowship. Upon salvation, we’re moved from outside both circles to within the inner circle, where we can bring the ultimate glory to God through our spiritual gifts. At this point, we will never move outside of the outer circle again. However, in our daily walk, we can still sin, and sin can knock us out of the inner circle.
So, if we have eternal salvation, yet sin is keeping us from the ultimate experience of daily fellowship with God, we have a problem. How can we get back inside the inner circle? 1 John 1:9 gives us the answer. We must simply confess those sins which have formed a temporary barrier.
So, what’s the deal with confession? What does it mean, and who do we confess to? We simply admit to our sins by naming them to God. This clears the way, and we’re immediately back in temporal fellowship with Him. In addition, there are further benefits for us:
Regular confession can actually help us to sin less. It’s like weighing every day–we subconsciously turn down those desserts because we know that we will be weighing again tomorrow (by habit).
Confession also helps us to avoid depression, without those lingering unconfessed sins hanging around to cause guilt (another sin).
Finally, confession renews our liberty. We restore the freedom of our salvation through Christ Jesus our Lord.