I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgive for his name’s sake (1 John 2:12).

Preparing for this coming Sunday’s sermon has once again provided opportunity for the sermon to prepare me!  I have come across Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ Studies in 1 John called “Life in Christ” and his comments on 1 John 2:12 are particularly worthwhile.  The following quote summarizes the confidence for every true Christian:

But let me rather put it in this practical form–and I do not hesitate to put it like this: if you are uncertain about the forgiveness of your sins, that in itself is sin.  I want to be ruthless about this because there are people who feel that an assurance of forgiveness of sins is presumption, and they rather give the impression that they are being humble and modest.  They say, ‘I would not like to say my sins are forgiven, I do not feel good enough to say that, I am so conscious of my own unworthiness.’  …

The simple reply to that is that if you speak in that way there is only one explanation of it, and that is lack of faith, …it is no mark of saintliness to be uncertain that your sins are forgiven, it is to deny and doubt the Word of God.  The certainty of the New Testament is that your sins are forgiven you; you have been forgiven for His name’s sake.  If you, therefore, do not know that, it is because you are not clear about the doctrine, because you are still relying upon yourself, because you are not relying upon the finished, complete work of the Son of God for you upon the cross.  It is because you do not realize the merit and the power of His blessed name.  That name pleaded before God immediately assures pardon–the name that is above every other name, the name in whom all fulness dwells, that name that gives an entry to the courts of heaven and to the very presence of God.

…What is the point of my saying to myself, ‘Well, from now on, I am going to live the Christian life, I am going to try to keep the commandments,’ if I am uncertain about my past sins?  Though I may live a good life from now on, the past guilt remains.  How can I go on until that has been dealt with?  And the only way to deal with it is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.  You cannot undo what you have done, you cannot go back and erase your past–it is impossible.  But it has been done in Christ…

Are you clear about it?  Do you know that the Lord Jesus Christ has borne your sins and has died your death and risen again to justify you, and are you relying utterly and absolutely upon Him and upon Him alone?  If so, you can say that you know your sins are forgive you.  That is the first thing that every Christian should know.