1 John 2:1-6
Last week, as we looked at 1 John 1:5-10, we were excited to learn that, though the light illuminates our sin, it penetrates our hearts and provides us with total cleansing! When you read 1 John 1:9, it can seem like John was giving people permission to live however they want. After all, they can confess their sin again and again and again and always have joyful assurance regardless of how they are living. Right? WRONG!
This mindset has been a flaw in our baptist churches for decades. Admit, believe, confess, and you are good to go. Pray the prayer, go through the baptistry, join the church, be a good boy or girl and you are good regardless of what your lifestyle says about you.
John sees this potential abuse coming, so he makes a very clear statement in these verses. 1 John 2:1-6 read, “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 2 and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. 3 By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; 5 but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: 6 the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.”
The Purpose v1a
Just in case you think that John is advocating being tolerant of sin in your life, he makes it pretty clear right here that that is not his purpose. He writes in verse 1, “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin.” Far from tolerating sin, I would have you to aim at being sinless. In fact, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin! This is not unique to John.
Genesis 17:1-2 Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; Walk before Me, and be blameless. “I will establish My covenant between Me and you, And I will multiply you exceedingly.”
God had already approached Abram in Genesis 12 where he told Abram to follow him to a land that He would show him. He had approached him in Genesis 15 and in verse 6 declared him righteous by faith!
But now, he approaches him again and commands him to walk blameless. Abram could have said, “I am already blameless! I was counted righteous by faith back in Genesis 15:6.” He would be right! But, now that he has been declared positionally righteous before God, he must become practically righteous before God. Walk blameless!
This is not unique to Genesis 17. Jesus says in Matthew 5:48, “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” You are already perfect because of what Christ has done for you on the cross by grace fi you are true believer. You are positionally perfect. Now, be practically perfect. In Ephesians 1:4 Paul writes, “even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.” Again, you are holy and blameless because of Christ: positionally holy. Now become holy and blameless practically! Become practically what you have been declared positionally. In other words we must become what we already are by faith: holy, blameless, and perfect! You might be thinking, wait just a minute! Are you saying that we are to strive to be entirely sinless? No, but John is. “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin."
Do we agree today that one sin is too much sin! If you hide one rebel in your house, are you not a traitor? Thomas Watson said, “If there is only one nest egg, the devil can brood on it. One dead fly will spoil the whole box of precious ointment. A drop of poison will spoil a whole glass of wine. One disease is enough to kill. One millstone will sink a man into the sea as well as 100.” A soldier that has one gap in his armor, can be shot in that spot and killed. He may as well have no armor on at all. One sin is too much sin. Robert Candlish summarizes John’s intent in this verse well with the following: “Let it be deliberately set before you as your fixed and settled purpose that you are not to sin; not merely that you are to sin as little as you can; but that you are not to sin at all.” There is much more to this text that we will be seeing this week, so stay tuned! Until then consider the following:
1. Are you certain that you have been made righteous by faith? Are you positionally righteous? If you are unsure you can learn more about how to be made right in God’s eyes here.
2. Is it really your goal to live an absolutely sinless life? If so, what are you doing to practically pursue that goal? If not, why do you believe your standards for living are lower than John’s?
3. Do you believe that one sin is too much sin? If so, what measures are you taking to fight sin in your own life. You can learn listen to a message on putting to death sin here if you want to learn more.
4. Meditate on Robert Candlish’s quote above and on 1 John 2:1. Fill in the following blank to help you apply these truths to your life. In response to what I have learned today I will __________________.