First we must acknowledge that we are all imperfect and we all commit sin.
1 John 5:17 All unrighteousness is sin…
1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
1 John 1:10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
We learn more from 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
Acknowledgment… confession… cleansing… light…
It is so wonderful to know that God has provided a means by which we can have forgiveness and be washed clean from our sins, and dwell in light, if we but follow these steps.
We know that sin is not a onetime event and so we read in 1 John 1:7 that the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin. And to “walk in the light” doesn't mean that we don't ever sin, rather it means that we are doing our best not to, while we fully trust in the blood of Christ to cover our imperfect behavior, our shortcomings and failings. When we “confess our sins” it is like shining a big spotlight on the shadowy areas of our life and that acts like a disinfectant and demonstrates to God our humble recognition of our failings. By these steps Christ cleanses us from sin, if realizing our imperfections we continually make application for forgiveness.
Clearly we all continue to sin after we accept Jesus as our Savior and actually there is no more serious condition for the Lord's people to fall into than to imagine that they are perfect in the flesh, for that is pride, which thing “the Lord hates.” (Proverbs 8:13) It implies blindness to one’s own failings.
But sin can come in different forms. There is “inherited”… “willful”… and “partially willful” sins. “Inherited” describes that which is attributable entirely to our fallen Adamic condition and we may not even be cognizant of these sins. And then there is “willful sin” which we knew was wrong and did it anyway. “Inherited sin” may play a role here too due to weakness of our flesh and so we have the “partially willful sin” category. All of these sin conditions are forgivable under the Lord’s provisions in Christ. The difference we experience in resolving these sins however can be related to the degree that the sin was “willful.” A high degree of “willfulness” may result in the Lord bringing trying experiences to purge out our sinful tendencies. The Lord will discipline us to teach us to not repeat that sin.