Day 83: I trust you, Lord. Reading with understanding. 1 John 1
One thing you must understand is that most of the New Testament books were written to the church (members of the Body of Christ). The apostles would identify something that showed that the group of people (not the building/temple) were doing against the teachings of Christ and they would address it in written form to encourage the people to continue with God or turn from their wicked ways. Sure, these letters were written forever ago, but they are still applicable today if you are in the same state the people where when the letter was written.
First John is one such letter. In this letter, John was addressing a state of people who were in sin. He opened by reminding them that the Word was from the beginning of time and walked, talked, ministered, ate, and the like, with them. He’s reminding them that he is only sharing what he was taught so that they may all fellowship in likeness with the Savior, Jesus Christ. He wanted them to know that God is light and if they claimed to be in Him and walked in darkness (sin), they were liars.
Verse eight is the kicker. This verse has been thrown around for ages to help people feel comfortable in their continued state of sin.
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 1 John 1:8
Think of this: if you sin and have not confessed your sin, aren’t you a sinner? If you say otherwise, you are in a serious state of denial.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
BUT if you confess your sins, God is faithful. He promised to forgive you and He does just that. He will wipe the slate clean and you are no longer considered a sinner (remember the book of judgment though).
If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. 1 John 1:10
BUT if you have not confessed and say you have no sin, then you are calling God a liar. You haven’t kept His Word hidden in your heart. You have departed from the Light and are walking in complete darkness.
How is it that we can be assured that this chapter isn’t basically saying that we all sin and if we say we don’t, we are liars? Go back to verse seven.
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 1 John 1:7
Right there! That’s how you know. If you continue in the Light, His blood has cleansed you of all sin. One cannot be clean and dirty at the same time. If you sin and confess, you are clean. If you sin and don’t confess, you are dirty. You are one or the other and both states are possible to maintain forever. If you continue to read this book (letter), John also discussed deceivers and people who have taught false doctrine (teachings of Christ). Knowing that he touches on this subject shows that the people who claim to be followers of Christ were in fact deceived. Through this deception, someone taught them that they can continue in sin and claim to be in the Light. This indeed has led the readers of this letter to be liars.
Doesn’t that sound like today? If you sit and listen to pastors today, you will be so confused. One says you can’t be sin free, but you can sin less, while another may say that you can be completely sin free. There are so many doctrines being touted around, you can easily get lost in the mess. But rest assured, you have His Word in your life and thankfully, people of His time, before and after were inspired by the Breath of God (the Spirit) to not only document His life but also provide sound, Godly guidance for you today.
You don’t have to walk around in a confused state. That is not of God, for He is not the Father of confusion or disorder (1 Corinthians 14:33). He has made His Spirit and great guidance available for you. Read it. Understand it. Use it. Trust it. Follow it. It’s no great mystery. It’s there plainly. You just have to receive it.