“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 1:5-2:2
Sin. I hate that word. I hate that I am a sinner and that I sin. I battle and struggle against it every day. I am not the shining light that I think that I am. I fall and give into sin more than I know I do. Sometimes I wonder how God being the perfect shining light that He is, can love me even though I am a wretched sinner. I have broken His laws and I deserve the wrath of God. I know that left to myself I would do nothing but sin and revel in it. Oh, how I hate what my Lord hates. Sin often makes me cry. I often ask what can I do. Maybe you are like me. You hate that you are a sinner. Maybe you wonder that you are even saved.
The book of 1 John was written to answer your question if you are saved. 1 John is one of the three epistles written by John. An epistle is just a fancy word for a letter. The Holy Spirit moved John to write three letters to different churches to 1. Remind them of the gospel, 2. Encourage them in the faith, 3. to strengthen them against heresy, 4. to solve personal matters these specific churches were dealing with. When interpreting an epistle we need to remember:
- The author that is writing the epistle, John.
- The audience they are writing to, a church.
- The reason for writing, to assure believers of their salvation.
When we keep these things in mind, we will be able to interpret the letter clearly. We also need to look at the surrounding context of the passage we are studying before we dive in to the passage. John starts out the passage with his credibility as a witness of Jesus Christ and the eternal life that He brings. Then he says that he wrote those thigs to make the reader’s “joy complete”.
Then he transitions into proclaiming the Gospel message. First point is that God is perfect, “that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1Jn 1:5). God is holy and without sin. Some of the best preachers I know say they start their gospel presentation with the terrifying bad news, “God is good and we are not.” If we want to have fellowship with Him, we must walk in the “light.” We must live in His goodness and revealed truth. If we do that through Jesus Christ, we are “cleansed from all sim”. That is awesome.
Since in Him there is no darkness at all. He cannot fellowship with darkness. Yet the passage also says, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” Here is where we came from in the beginning. We are horrible wretched sinners and we cannot get rid of our own sin. We cannot have fellowship with God on our own even with a little bit of Jesus help. We cannot work our way to heaven. Like George Whitefield said, “Works, Works, a man can get to heaven by works. I would sooner try to climb to the moon with a rope of sand.”
Here is the beauty of the passage, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” The verb confess is in the present active subjunctive first person. It means to continually and presently confess our sin to God. This is repentance, we turn from saying we are not sinners, to agreeing we are sinners, and stop trying to live in sin, but live in the revealed truth of God and of Jesus Christ. That is a mouthful there and a big concept to get around but it is like walking. You get closer to your destination with every step you take.
You might ask yourself what if I screw up again. Well, you cannot work your way to heaven. If fact, if you try to do this without the grace of Jesus you will fail again often. What do you do if you fall of the horse? You get back on again. That is why he wrote this so that we do not sin. He continues on to say, “But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”(1 Jn. 2:1b). Jesus has our back. He will still hold us up. He will still cleanse us. He will always keep us in perfect relationship with God the Father. After all, we are helpless without him.
How does he do that? He has once for all paid the debt for all of our sin. “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” Propitiation means a blood sacrifice that appeases wrath. He once for all, through his sacrifice on the cross, satisfied the righteous wrath of God for all of our sin. This is available to anyone in the world through repentance and faith.
Do you hate your sin? God hates it more. He hates your sin so much that you deserve to spend an eternity in Hell under the holy wrath of God. He is light and in Him there is no darkness at all. He has provided you shelter from His wrath in Jesus propitiation on the cross. Walk in the shelter of His grace, love, and peace. Daily confess your sin, repent of your sin, and trust in Jesus. Then you will be a light to others in this dark horrible world. Jesus has covered your lying, thieving, blasphemous, adulterous heart by the blood sacrifice on the cross, and cleansed your every sin. Love and trust the savior.
I hope that this has blessed you. Please feel free to comment in the comment section. Please no cursing for pornography. Also feel free to share this post to your friends who need it, or like it. If you want to contact me, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any question you want. Also please feel free to look at the resource page to look at The Using Hermeneutics Series. Lord bless you.