I John 1:7 promises - "But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin."
1. There is the blessed assurance of the cleansing blood of Jesus.
Christ's blood cleanses us from all sin. That is a plain truth of the New Testament. We were purchased with His blood (cf. Acts 20:28). It is His blood that justifies us (cf. Rom. 5:9). We are redeemed by it (cf. I Pet. 1:18,19). Revelation 1:5 teaches that Jesus "loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood." Did you notice what kind of sin Jesus' blood cleanses us from? John says from "all sin." And all sin means all sin--sin of every kind and degree. Of course there are conditions, and we'll consider them soon, but I want to make it clear that there is not one sin that the blood of the Lamb cannot remove. Isn't there a blessed assurance in knowing that any sin can be forgiven?
John says that Jesus' blood "cleanses." This word comes from a Greek verb that indicates the idea of ongoing, continuous action. The point is that the blood "keeps on cleansing." It is an ever-flowing stream. It is not a fountain that is continually being turned on and off. It is always available, and it is always effective. We know that when a penitent believer is baptized, all his past sins are forgiven (cf. Acts 22:16). But, the cleansing power of the blood doesn't stop there! It keeps on cleansing; it is just as effective in forgiving our sins from day to day and from hour to hour as it is in washing away the sins of an alien sinner when he is baptized into Christ.
Let me show you a beautiful scene. John saw it in Revelation 7. In the vision he saw there was a multitude; they were too many to be numbered. What John was seeing in the vision were all the redeemed of all the ages. They were all clothed in white robes. They were the ones who had "come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (Rev. 7:14).
Notice that he didn't say: "These are the ones who came straight up from the baptistery and then died." Neither did he say that these were people who were sinless and didn't have to deal with wickedness and sin. No, these people came out of a great tribulation. This tells us that they had lived in a world where there was persecution, and temptation, and that they had lived in the flesh in the midst of a sinful world. The point is not that they were in heaven because they had no problems and shortcomings. It is not that they had committed no sins, but that their sins had been washed away! They had been cleansed by the blood of Jesus. They had washed their robes and made them white in His blood.
Our Lord wants us to feel confident about forgiveness. Those who doubt that they have been forgiven, even after they have obeyed the Lord, are carrying an unnecessary burden.
We will have more to say on I John 1:7 in our next lesson.