If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
—1 John 1:8-9
Our lives are lived in a most uncertain world. We grow accustomed to the uncertainty of parts be out of stock and appointments being cancelled that such things do not come as a surprise. Uncertainty is a result of the effects of sin on a fallen world. While someone coming down with the flu and cancelling an appointment is a common occurrence, it flows from the terrible havoc that sin wreaks on God’s perfect creation so that things do no operate according to the design of the Creator. So we live with uncertainty.
But that is not the way that God works. God never leaves His people in doubt when it comes to His Word, His gifts, His Son. Where this is critically important is in relation to the sin that burdens the conscience of one of God’s saints. When we are overcome with guilt and sorrow over sin, we need not worry or doubt where to turn. There is never a time where God fails to deliver. There is no “out-of-stock” or “called-in sick” excuses from our forgiving Father. When it comes to our sin, God enables us to live in the certain hope that when we confess our sins, He will forgive us. We can trust God’s promise to be sure and true.
We are certain of God’s forgiveness even when we do not feel forgiven. We place our trust and our certainty in His certain Word. Our feelings can betray us and try to cause us to doubt what His Word says is true. God’s message to us is, “Your sins are forgiven for the sake of My Son, who took the punishment that you deserved.” Our certainty comes from God’s Word that tells us that we are forgiven. Our certainty clings to the promise given to us through the water and the Word in Holy Baptism. When we confess our sins in worship, we hear the words of Absolution spoken by the pastor that give us certainty that we are forgiven.
Many years ago the LCMS produced a tract that people would use in witnessing called, “You Can Be Sure.” It was just a simple explanation of the Christian faith and a reminder that salvation is a gift from God through faith in Jesus by the working of the Holy Spirit. While the tract would seem outdated by today’s standards, people are still looking for something in which they can be sure. May God give us more opportunities to tell people about the certainty of God’s forgiveness and our hope in Christ.
Prayer – Almighty God, we praise and thank You for the sure and certain hope that You have given us through Your Son, that we may be forgiven of all of our sins and live and reign with You in heaven for all eternity; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.