Sources on 1 John 1:9

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Landon Brake | Forum Activity | Posted: Mon, Apr 26 2021 11:03 AM

So this is not to debate just to see exactly what I'm looking for, but recently someone asked me why we should ask for forgiveness if all sin, past present and future are forgiven. This lead me to researching and what I have found is sub par to say the least. It seems a popular wording is positional forgiveness vs relational forgiveness. It also seems that many around me and the teaching around me that's popular is every time you sin you break fellowship with God. By confessing and through forgiveness we reconcile that fellowship. But its almost hard to believe or imagine that constantly through out the day or week we are back and forth out of fellowship.

With that said, does anyone have any great resources, books, articles, anything that can explain why we ask for forgiveness after being saved? Is the consequence of sin breaking fellowship with God? How is this forgiveness different from the forgiveness at salvation.

I hope that was explained correctly and well. Thank you all ahead of time.

Posts 5577
SineNomine | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 26 2021 11:31 AM

Landon Brake:
Sources on 1 John 1:9

I'm going to assume that you've already run a Passage Guide on 1 John 1:9 and looked through everything it brought up.

Have you also checked the Factbook?

Posts 196
Richard J. Ward | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 26 2021 2:38 PM

Benjamin Keach, a Reformed Baptist preacher from the 17th century, has a thoughtful answer to this question in a sermon on the prodigal son. Here is an excerpt from the sermon:

Secondly, Why do forgiven persons, pardoned sinners, confess their iniquities?

  1. God requires this of them, “Only acknowledge thine iniquities that thou hast transgressed against the Lord,” Jer. 3:13.

  2. Pity in us is not opposite, but only subordinate to pity in God. Divine love (saith one) doth not destroy but increase duty; it is a sign of an hardened villain, who being pardoned by his sovereign for the greatest treasons, wipes his mouth as if he had done him no wrong at all; such men seem to be religious, who boast of forgiveness, but think it below them to confess their transgressions.

  3. It flows from the nature of divine love, and sense of God’s infinite mercy, considering well the way by which we come to have remission of sin. O saith such a soul, this pardon comes swimming to me through the Red-sea of my Saviour’s blood; though my pardon is freely of grace to me, yet it cost my Lord dear.

  4. The nature of pardon itself hath this tendency in it; the more pardoning grace God shows, the more humility and confession of sins it produceth in our hearts. “Where much is forgiven, there is much love.” And which way can it be better manifested, but by the tears of hearty sorrow and confession? remember Mary Magdalene.

  5. Because sin is so hateful and odious to God, shall not we confess those sins by which we have so dishonoured him, since such confessions tend to his glory, being so great and many, yet are all forgiven?

  6. Because herein God hath promised us the sight and sense of pardon. “If we confess our sins, be is faithful and just to forgive us our sins,” 1 John 1:9. It may be doubted whether his sins are pardoned, who never confesseth his sins to God; it appears God cannot let us feel the pardon of our sins to the glory of his justice and faithfulness, if we do not confess our sins. Where is there any promise of the sense of pardon, without grace move us to a confession? or was any man thus ever forgiven his sins, that never confessed his sins?

  7. Because it tends to the glory of God, that which makes for God’s glory, we should always greatly study. “Confess my son, and give glory to the Lord God of Israel,” Josh. 7:19.

    1. We hereby acknowledge God’s omnisciency, that he sees and knows all our former and latter sins and wickedness.

    2. Hereby also we acknowledge he is a holy God, and hates sin; we confessing it with utter abhorrence.

    3. It tends also to the glory of his justice; we acknowledge that we deserve his wrath and severe displeasure, though he hath received satisfaction for our sins in his Son.

    4. We give glory to God also, in respect of his infinite love and mercy, by our confessions and acknowledgements of his free-grace, in pardoning all our horrid sins and wickedness committed against him.

  8. Because God doth embitter sin to us, he makes sin to appear exceeding sinful in our sight; he makes us to see the smart of the spear that let out the blood of his Son; we are wounded with him, and cannot but cry out and confess our sin, though our sore is healed.

Lastly, because not to confess our sins, is to hide them. “He that hides his sin shall not prosper, but he that confesses and forsakes them shall have mercy,” Prov. 28:13. Hiding of sin is here set in opposition to a confession of it. “I have hid my sin, as Adam.” Sin is covered, saith Mr. Caryl, when it is not confessed.

(Benjamin Keach, An Exposition of the Parables and Express Similitudes of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, 396.)

Posts 2459
David Thomas | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 27 2021 7:03 AM

Landon Brake:
anything that can explain why we ask for forgiveness after being saved?

So as not to go down a theological rabbit-hole, I will only offer a relational observation. [since this is not a "Logos Resources" reply, it may be blocked by moderators]

When my wife and I married, we covenanted that divorce would never be an option. There is NOTHING she nor I can do that would make divorce a viable option (even if either of us were to do something that would provide Biblical grounds for divorce, we have covenanted to pursue reconciliation). However, there have been MANY times when I had to ask her forgiveness for the sake of our "fellowship". Although our "position" of being married is never threatened, our "fellowship" (a.k.a. unity/harmony) has often been broken by my offenses.

Making Disciples!  Logos Ecosystem = Logos8 on Microsoft Surface Pro 4 (Win10), Android app on tablet, FSB on iPhone, [deprecated] Windows App, Proclaim,, FaithlifeTV via Connect subscription.

Posts 155
Pastor Cleghorn | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 27 2021 7:11 AM

Andrew Farley explains it well for believers in this age of grace. He has other books not yet in Logos format.

The Naked Gospel

Relaxing With God 

Posts 19401
Forum MVP
Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :) | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 27 2021 6:44 PM

Landon Brake:
With that said, does anyone have any great resources, books, articles, anything that can explain why we ask for forgiveness after being saved? Is the consequence of sin breaking fellowship with God? How is this forgiveness different from the forgiveness at salvation.

Search idea: ("break fellowship" OR "reconcile fellowship" OR "intimate fellowship" OR "positional forgiveness" OR "relational forgiveness" OR controversy) WITHIN {Milestone <1J1.9>}

Inverted image:

1–3 John—Fellowship in God's Family (Preaching the Word | PtW) includes illustration:

   Picture this Sunday morning scene. A mother says to her little boy, “We are getting ready to go to church, so do not go out and play because it rained last night and the ground is muddy.” But the little boy slips outside when his mom’s back is turned to get a little play time in before they go to church. He slips and falls in a mud puddle while wearing his Sunday best and gets mud all over him. He comes into the house crying and says, “Mom, I’m sorry. I fell, and I got mud all over my clothes. I’m sorry.” At that point what does his mother say? She says, “I forgive you.” That takes care of his guilt. Her child is still her son. But then what does his mother do? Does she send him to church wearing the stained clothes? No, she cleans him up and changes his clothes. That is what God is saying to you. God will take care of your guilt, and God will take care of your stain.

 David L. Allen, 1–3 John: Fellowship in God’s Family, ed. R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2013), 45.

Keep Smiling Smile

Posts 578
David P. Moore | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 27 2021 7:26 PM

Landon Brake:
does anyone have any great resources, books

Landon, for questions like these, I usually like to start with one of my favorite reference resources in Logos:

Got Questions Ministries. Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2002–2013. 

It provides thoughtful answers for many such questions, such as:

"Why do we need to confess our sins if they have already been forgiven (1 John 1:9)?"


"Do Christians Have to Keep Asking for Forgiveness for Their Sins?"

There is a companion website at 

Your verse/question is also treated in:

Kaiser, Walter C., Jr., Peter H. Davids, F. F. Bruce, and Manfred T. Brauch. Hard Sayings of the Bible. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1996. 


Harris, Murray J. Navigating Tough Texts: A Guide to Problem Passages in the New Testament. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2020. 

Hope this helps!

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