[CF Devotionals] 2011-12-27 - 1 John

The Epistles of John ~ Part 11

Man's Self-deception and the Necessity of Seeking Forgiveness

Verse 8: John answers the claim the second claim which boils down to:

"immoral conduct does not issue in sin for one who knows God" 2

As believers, since we walk in light, we must tell the truth. Truth is that we are not without sin. When a believer says that he never sins, he lies, because he does sin. It is a little like receiving a medal for humility. As soon as you receive it, you lose it - because by taking it - you are no longer humble.

The Necessity of Seeking Forgiveness:

Verses 9-10: John answers the next claim, which Baker describes as:

"the knowledge of God removes sin as even a possibility in the life of the believer." 3

But John has a solution for the sin in our lives. He says we are to confess it. If Christians don't sin, why do they need to confess? When we confess, God not only forgives the specific sin repented of, but those of which we are unaware.

Now I have heard it said that Christ died on the cross, our sins are forgiven, and we therefore no longer need to ask for forgiveness because the penalty for our sin has been paid. But John says we sin and must ask forgiveness. Why?

First John says that fellowship is a product of walking in light. Truth is proof of light. Lying is proof of darkness. Darkness prevents fellowship with God. Therefore, if we denying our sin, if we don't confess it, we are out of fellowship with God.

Apparently, some of the false teachers, whom John was contracting, taught that "Christians" are without sin. Unfortunately, there are some well-accepted teachers today who essentially make this same claim. The argument is that since we are forgiven and have eternal life, than why do we need to ask forgiveness? They even reject a proper understanding of this passage. They ignore the difference between positional and practical perfection. But John says the very claim to sinlessness is a claim that makes God a liar. God says we do sin. Keep in mind that this passage is not written to the unbeliever. It is written to believers.

  1. Barker, Glenn W., The Expositor's Bible Commentary, Vol. 12, 1,2,3 John, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI, 1981, pg. 309.
  2. Ibid.

To be continued.

Additional studies by Geoff
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