Human history is full of cover-ups. Your personal history probably has a few as well. Cover-ups are those hiding tactics that we use to conceal the things of which we are ashamed. We do not want our failings to be made public. So we cover up.
We can conceal with bravado. We suppose that if we look good, people will think that everything is good. We can be experts at the fake smile, as if everything is ok, or with that little lie “fine” in response to “how are things?” They aren’t always “fine,” by the way, but you don’t want to say so, and you are dead sure you don’t want the other person to hear the whole story. We come across people concealing a cancer diagnosis who say, “fine,” or who are about to be foreclosed, and they say “fine.” It’s the human practice of cover-up.
1 John 1 confronts us with the contrast between the truth and cover-ups. In verses 6,8 and 10, John says, “if you say …” something that is not true, then you are a liar, and the truth is not in you, and you are actually making God a liar. But in 1 John 1:9, John offers us another word, But “if we confess …” To “confess” means to agree with God. It means to agree with God about what is right - like God’s perfections, including His righteousness and purity and goodness; and it also means to agree with God about what is wrong - those things that we have been lying about - the things you have been covering up. The verse goes on to say that “if we will confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” That brings us to cover-alls.
Cover-alls are used by painters and mechanics to keep the worker clean from paint and grease. Theoretically, you can work all day in all kinds of slop, and then peel off those coveralls at the end of the day, and you’re clean as a whistle. Yes, the illustration suffers from frequent failures.
But the cover-all that God provides in Christ is not a protection from the outside in, but rather a cleansing from the inside out. “He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Completely covered.
In the Old Testament, God would look down on us His people through the mercy seat of the ark of the covenant, the kphr, or covering. In the New Testament, God looks upon His people through the righteousness of Christ, as we place faith in Him. And according to His promise, we are completely “cover-all-ed” by Him, left with no need to cover-up.