1 John 1:8-10 (NET) 8 If we say we do not bear the guilt of sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar and his word is not in us.
1 John 2:1-2 (NET) 1 (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 One, 2 and he himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for our sins but also for the whole world.
• In the previous passage, John corrected the false teaching that there is no need for a professing Christian to live a life of holiness, in other words, there is no need to walk in the light. Now in this passage John confronts two more false teachings.
If we say we do not bear the guilt of sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.
• This is the second of three ‘if we say’ statements that John uses in this passage to correct false teachings.
• This phrase, ‘if we say we do not bear the guilt of sin’, or as other English translations say , ‘if we say we have no sin’ means John is correcting those Christians who believe they currently no longer maintain a sin nature and no longer sin. This is the heresy known as perfectionism.
• Paul also teaches against perfectionism. Romans 7:21 (NET) So, I find the law that when I want to do good, evil is present with me.
• John goes on to say that the person who says he no longer is in a sinful state or no longer sins is lying to himself and he is void of the truth.
• If a professing believer thinks they are perfect, then what does that say about their knowledge of God’s holiness?
• How can thinking you are sinless harden your heart toward the Holy Spirit’s convicting work in your conscience?
But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness.
• Above, the false teaching was a person who says he has no sin, but the correct response is not to deny the presence of sin but rather to confess it.
• Though not mentioned, this confession should be with repentance. A person who confesses sins with no intention to change is confessing falsely.
• God is ‘faithful’ to forgive and cleanse us of unrighteousness because of His faithful and reliable nature. God keeps His word.
• God is ‘righteous’ and justified to forgive and cleanse us of unrighteousness because His wrath and judgement on man’s sin has already been executed on His Son.
• Notice the continual nature of the forgiving and cleansing. This is a life long thing, not a one time thing.
• How would explain to a new believer how to confess their sins to God?
• What parallels can be drawn when confessing faults between parents and children and God and His children?
If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar and his word is not in us.
• In the previous false teaching, the heresy was the professing Christian believed they were currently sinless. But in this false teaching, John refutes the false teaching that we have never sinned in the past.
• Instead of lying to self as in the last false teaching, here John says the person is lying to God. God knows all of our sinful thoughts, words, and deeds. God knows our past sins of commission and past sins of omission.
• Have you ever met a person who proclaimed they have never sinned? What do you think is lacking in their understanding of God’s righteous standard?
(My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin.)
• This is parenthetical statement because it is between the ‘if we say’ and ‘but’ verses as is the pattern in this passage.
• My little children may mean John is old at the time of this writing or that those he is writing to are his disciples or his spiritual children.
• John provides another purpose for his writing all the things in this letter. He writes to instruct believers not to sin.
But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous One-
• Although John writes that believers should not sin, yet he provides hope if anyone does sin.
• The believer’s hope is that Jesus Christ is their advocate before the Father.
• Webster defines advocate as…one who pleads the cause of another; specifically : one who pleads the cause of another before a tribunal or judicial court.
• Jesus Christ, our advocate, is called the righteous One. It is not a sinful man who pleads our case, but the righteous One. The case that he pleads is we have received His righteousness and He has received our wrath as mentioned next.
• John Gill says beautifully, he allows in court all their sins, with all their aggravated circumstances; nor does he go about to excuse or extenuate them; but he is an advocate for the non-imputation of them, and for the application of pardon to them: he pleads in their favour, that these sins have been laid upon him, and he has bore them; that his blood has been shed for the remission of them, and that he has made full satisfaction for them; and therefore in justice they ought not to be laid to their charge; but that the forgiveness of them should be applied unto them, for the relief and comfort of their burdened and distressed consciences…
• How do you feel knowing Jesus Christ is pleading your cause before the Father when you sin?
and he himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins-
• Keeners Bible background commentary says…an atonement, a way to appease or satisfy the wrath of a God whose standard had been violated; it alludes to the sacrifices offered for atonement in the Old Testament.
and not only for our sins but also for the whole world-
• Meaning Jesus not only died for the sins of His Jewish disciples – see verses 1:1-4, but also for God’s elect throughout the world.
• John 1:29 (NET) On the next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
• John 17:20-21 (NET) 20 “I am not praying only on their behalf, but also on behalf of those who believe in me through their testimony, 21 that they will all be one, just as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. I pray that they will be in us, so that the world will believe that you sent me.
• Knowing Jesus’ sacrifice was for the world, what do you feel is our responsibility to tell the world of this good news?
Listening Prayer method – a method where you write what you think God would say to you after meditating and studying a Bible passage.
Are You Confessing Your Sins?
Since the time of Adam’s sin, men are born with a sinful nature. Though you have been redeemed, sin is still present with you.
Resist sin, and walk in the light. Yet if you sin, confess your sins. Confess them quickly and frequently. Don’t let them build up a wall between us. Be transparent. I know all, so there is no need to hide anything. Confess them with repentance. Don’t confess and go right back to it. Fight against it. Forsake it. Flee from it. Walk in the Spirit.
My Son, Jesus, is pleading your case before Me. He has made atonement for you with His life. My wrath is satisfied by His death on the cross for sin. You are forgiven and cleansed.
Go and tell the world the good news of what my Son has done and what He is doing.