This question is vital to answer. What does the Bible say? Those who teach the truth on this matter have been misrepresented and their doctrine has been assumed rather than studied truly. I have seen friends get "called out" for teaching that Jesus' blood continually cleanses the Christian from his sins (1 John 1:7). My aim in this article is to help us examine what the Bible says so that we may have confidence in our salvation. Let us examine this together.
First, let us examine what the Bible does not teach. The Bible does not teach that when one becomes a Christian that he can never lose his salvation. There are several passages that show this. "See to it brothers, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “TODAY,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end, while it is said, “TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS, AS WHEN THEY PROVOKED ME.” (Hebrews 3:12-15 LSB). The book of Hebrews is filled with warnings and conditions. One cannot ignore the need to "walk in the light". We do not "sit" in the light. The Bible likewise does not give us an excuse to continue in sin. Paul wrote, "What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?" (Romans 6:1-2 LSB). Sin is a serious matter and we should be mindful of this fact.
Second, let us examine what the Bible does teach. Should the Christian live life as if God is holding a lightning rod ready to strike the first time he makes a mistake? Can we be certain of salvation. Let John the apostle answer this. "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life" (1 John 5:13 LSB). Is John telling us something that we cannot do or know? Absolutely not! That would contradict his statement that God's commands are not burdensome (1 John 5:3)! In fact, Peter wrote something similar. Notice this: "Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and choosing sure; for in doing these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you" (2 Peter 1:10-11 LSB). Is Peter giving something that's impossible? Of course not! We can be sure about our salvation. We can know that our sins are cleansed. Those who teach that at the moment a Christian makes a mistake that he is lost and needs to come back contradict clear teaching of scripture! Steve Higginbotham wrote, "If a step in the wrong direction constitutes a walk in darkness, then would a step in the right direction constitute a walk in the light?; While walking in the light, our sins are forgiven, thus indicating that walking in the light is not a state of perfection, but an ongoing progression towards God. This cleansing given to those in the light is ongoing and absolute.” John wrote, "but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:7 LSB). In the KJV, the word "cleanseth" is used. Just as "believeth" in John 3:16 of the KJV denotes continuous action, it is continuous in 1 John 1:7.
Let us answer those who deny the continual cleansing blood of Christ. Those who deny the continuous cleansing of Christ's blood contend that in the context of 1 John 1, one must confess his sins before he can be forgiven. That is true and we teach that. They also contend that repentance is needed. That is true and we teach that as well. No one denies the need for repentance (Acts 2:38, 17:30). It has been assumed by deniers of the continual cleansing of the blood of Christ that we believe one can be forgiven without repentance. That is FALSE! We do not believe that. However, the Bible does NOT teach perfection. It clearly teaches progression. One who does their best and walks in the light, and confesses their sin are forgiven by the blood of Christ. They also say that we call God a liar by saying the blood continually cleanses because that is equivalent to saying that we have no sin. That is NOT the case! The gnostics lived as if they were above sin. They denied that Christ came in the flesh. John is answering these false teachings. The one who ignores sin and lives as if he/she can do whatever he wishes, then he is a liar and the truth is not in him. The one whose motive or goal is walking in the light is cleansed AND has Jesus as the advocate (1 John 2:1-2). Another "proof" that deniers use is Isaiah 59:1-2. They assert that one sin seperates man from God AFTER he becomes a Christian. Let us consider the context. Isaiah 59 is in the Old Testament which is NOT in force today. Isaiah is writing to an apostate nation (Isa. 1:1ff) who is not in covenant relationship with God. Christians are NOT an apostate. So Isaiah 59 does NOT apply to the Christian. Doing so would be taking the text out of context! They also refer to Simon the sorcerer in Acts 8 to make their point. Acts 8 is a great example that one can fall away from Christ. Does it apply with 1 John 1 in regards to continual cleansing? Let us be mindful that Peter told Simon that "your heart is not right before God" (Acts 8:21). Was Simon "walking in the light" with a pure motive to do good and simply "made a mistake"? The obvious answer is NO! His heart was not right with God. Simon's intent was not right. He had to repent and turn again. The Christian who walks in the light is cleansed absolutely from his sins. Let us be careful not to take passages out of context to teach a doctrine that we may have assumed. Those who contend that we cannot know for sure regarding salvation deny Peter and John. In fact, they deny God (2 Peter 1:20-21)!
It is a joy to be assured about our salvation. It is heartbreaking to see others deny the continual cleansing of the blood of Christ (1 John 1:7). I've seen a few in pulpits who "call out" publicly those who teach what the Bible teaches regarding assurance. If you are reading this and you are guilty of doing such, I plead with you to repent love like Christ. I plead that you consider what is being said and not assume what is not being said. If you fail in this, it may just cost you your soul. Nonetheless, we can be sure about our soul's destiny as long as we "walk in the light" (1 John 1:7).