"If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us." (1 John 1:8-10)The Gospel is not about ferreting out who has sinned and who has not, for all have sinned. Jesus did not come to "check us out," or to give us a "sin test" to see who was naughty and who was nice. He already knew and the verdict is that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) The Gospel came not to judge us but to provide a way to forgive us.
The one malady common to the whole human race is sin. We may be rich or we may be poor, we may be great or we may be base, either way, not matter who or what we are, we are all sinners. Sin unites us all in common brotherhood and a common need for forgiveness and salvation. We are all sinners.
This understanding, and the acknowledgment of its truth, are the first steps towards reconciliation with God. Until we acknowledge our sin, we cannot even begin our journey towards salvation. Jesus often ran into the religious elite of His day who, although knowing the law, still believed themselves to be righteous according to the law. They refused to believe that they too were sinners like the rest, but Jesus told them, "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, 'We see,' your sin remains." (John 9:41) Their inability, or unwillingness, to acknowledge their sin disqualified them from the grace and forgiveness Jesus had come to bring. We cannot side step the issue of sin, we cannot wink at it and ignore it as if it isn't all that bad. We must face it head on and acknowledge it and our need for help in expunging ourselves from its stain. Only then are we ready to face our maker and our savior.
When our first ancestors sinned, God asked them this question, "What is this you have done?" (Genesis 3:13) He did not ask them to shame them or to condemn them, but He was offering them an opportunity to be forgiven. He is ever standing ready to forgive us of our sin if we will but confess it to Him. David knew this and said, "I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the Lord'; and You forgave the guilt of my sin." (Psalm 32:5) Jesus is not only faithful to forgive us of our sins, but He is also just in forgiving us of our sins. Paul says, "This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus." (Romans 3:25-26) Jesus is both the just and the justifier of our sins.
Moreover, He not only forgives us but also cleanses us from our sins. There was forgiveness in the Old Testament, but it was a forgiveness that still left a stain. "'Although you wash yourself with lye and use much soap, the stain of your iniquity is before Me,' declares the Lord God" (Jeremiah 2:22) They were forgiven but the filth of their hearts remained. However, when we are forgiven by Jesus, He proceeds to cleanse the filth from our hearts and from our souls. He not only remits our sins, but begins a process of removing them from our lives. This process is called sanctification and is one that continually brings us closer in agreement to His nature and image. What glorious news that, not only can we now be forgiven, but our sin and the evil that lurks with in us can be washed away by the precious blood of the Lamb.