False Assurance and Self Deception
. . . the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 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 1:7-10 NASB).
Often religious people somehow are oblivious of their personal sins. They fail to see their perpetual offense of a holy God. Yet they are acutely aware of the failures and sins of others. They are often quick to point out how they have been offended in their lives by those “sinners” around them. The Bible makes it clear, that these attitudes are signs of self-deception and a false conversion!
True conversion according to First John points out an unawareness of personal sin is a sign of self-deceit. The self-deceived generally minimize personal sins, but readily points to the sins of others. God says “If we say that we have no sin” or minimize our sins “we are deceiving ourselves” and “the truth is not in us” (1:8). True converts to the contrary have no problem to “confess [their] sins” because they know their God who “is faithful and righteous to forgive” (1:9) their sins and to cleanse them “from all unrighteousness” (1:9). True converts are honest about personal failures in keeping God’s perfect standards. However, in their honest self assessments they also know where to run to receive pardon and purification.
Therefore, as followers of Christ we are cautioned against denying, or even minimize our personal sinfulness. When we regularly transpose our sins to others who are “greater” sinners we may indeed be self-deceived and saving “truth [is] not in us” (1:9). When saved by the grace of God, we readily recognize our sinfulness but eagerly acknowledges our need for forgiveness, “cleansing” and “healing” (James 5:16).