1 John 1:5 – 2:2
I. THE STARTING POINT FOR FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD: “GOD IS LIGHT” (1 John 1:5).
“Neither the writer nor the reader of these words is qualified to appreciate the holiness of God. Quite literally a new channel must be cut through the desert of our minds to allow to flow in the sweet waters of truth that will heal our great sickness. We cannot grasp the true meaning of the divine holiness by thinking of someone or something very pure and then raising the concept to the highest degree we are capable of. God’s holiness is not simply the best we know infinitely better. We know nothing like the divine holiness. It stands apart, unique, unapproachable, incomprehensible and unattainable. The natural man is blind it. He may fear God’s power and admire his wisdom, but his holiness he cannot even imagine.” (A. W. Tozer, Knowledge of the Holy, p.111
“Because God is Holy, he hates sin. Hates is such a strong word we dislike using it. Yet when it comes to God’s attitude towards sin, only a strong word such as hate conveys an adequate depth of meaning. Therefore every time we sin, we are doing something God hates. He hates our lustful thoughts, our pride and jealousy, our outbursts of temper, and our rationalization that the end justifies the means. We need to be gripped by the fact that God hates all these things. We become so accustomed to our sins we sometimes lapse into a state of peaceful coexistence with them, but God never ceases to hate them.” (Jerry Bridges, The Pursuit of Holiness, pp.31-32
“God is the only comfort; he is also the supreme terror: the thing we most need and the thing we most want to hide from. Some people talk as if meeting the gaze of absolute goodness would be fun. They need to think again. They are still only playing with religion.” (C. S. Lewis)
II. HOW TO WALK IN THE LIGHT (1 John 1:6-2:2).
|WALKING IN DARKNESS –
the way of no relationship, no fellowship, with God.
THREE FALSE CLAIMS EXPOSED:
|WALKING IN THE LIGHT –
the way of true fellowship and
renewed fellowship with God.
|FALSE CLAIM #1: Our sin does not break fellowship with God (1:6).
If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness,
· we lie and do not practice the truth.
|THE GOSPEL TRUTH (1:7)
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.
|FALSE CLAIM #2: We have no “sin nature” – no inner propensity to sin (1:8).
If we say we have no sin,
· we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us
|THE GOSPEL TRUTH (1:9)
If we confess our sins,
· he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins
· and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness
|FALSE CLAIM #3: We have not committed any “personal acts of sin” (1:10).
If we say we have not sinned,
· we make him a liar,
· and his word is not in us.
|(2:1-2) If we make it our aim that we may not sin, then 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 whole world
“Still today, it is not uncommon for people to claim fellowship with God who see no necessity either first to go to the cross of Christ for cleansing and forgiveness or thereafter to lead a consistently holy life.” (Stott, p.74)
“It is important to hold these two statements in balance (“that you may not sin” and “if anyone sins”). It is possible to be both too lenient and too severe towards sin. Too great a lenience would seem almost to encourage sin in the Christian by stressing God’s provision for the sinner. An exaggerated severity, on the other hand, would either deny the possibility of a Christian sinning or refuse him forgiveness and restoration if he falls. Both extreme positions are contradicted by John.” (Stott, 79).
“’If anyone does sin’ is very important. It clearly indicates the author’s conviction that acts of sin (the aorist hamarte implies this), as opposed to the continuous sinful habit, are possible in the Christian, which some have thought denied in 3:9 and 5:18. ‘The thought is of the single act (harmarte) into which the believer may be carried against the true tenor of his life, as contrasted with the habitual state (hamartanei, 3:6,8,9; 5:18)’ (Westcott).” (Stott, 80.)