If my sins are paid for, and I'm forgiven, why do I need to confess sins? How does 1 John 1:9 "fit," if Jesus paid for all of our sins on the cross?
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)
This is a wonderful verse, but it's often misunderstood and frequently misquoted (out of context).
Let's start with what we know to be true. Jesus paid for all of our sins on the cross. When He declared, "it is finished," He meant that. Past present and future sins were nailed to His cross and His blood was shed to make atonement (payment) for them. This was confirmed by Paul in his letter to the church at Colossae.
Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross. (Colossians 2:14)
When Paul spoke of the "...handwriting of ordinances that was against us" he was speaking of a handwritten certificate of debt, which was an acknowledgment of debt, signed by the debtor. Paul was speaking in reference to the Mosaic Law, which revealed to man his guilt and served as the ordinances against him. Jesus fulfilled the Law by keeping it perfectly (Matthew 5:17, Hebrews 8:13) and canceled that certificate of debt by nailing it to His cross and making payment with His blood. Then He stamped it, tetelostai, meaning it is finished. Ancient tax receipts have been found with this single Greek word written across them, indicating the debt has been paid in full.
Knowing that all of our sins are fully paid for, this raises the question about 1 John 1:9.