“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8)
“If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1 John 1:10)
Since Jesus is “the Truth” and since Jesus is the Word (Logos), then to say that we have no sin means that Jesus is not in us. This wonderful contradiction should be a source of peace for each of us. It is not the perfect person in whom Christ dwells; it is the broken, the sinner, the misfit, the outsider.
This doesn’t mean that we ought to sin, as if to prove John’s point, but it does mean that we don’t have to pretend. We all have our problems and struggles we deal with. Being transparent and honest about our struggles (i.e. confession; 1 John 1:9), is a sign of humility and brings us all together as one.
Confession isn’t an opportunity for shame or hiding behind trees in the garden; it is a sign of a healthy church, healthy relationships, and a healthy view of God.
Here’s a short story from the life of Jesus to illustrate this point:
And as he sat at dinner in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and were sitting with Jesus and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when he heard this, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous but sinners.” Matthew 9:10–13