Warning Signs | Don't Sin Willingly, Day 3
1 John 1:5-2:2
Your attitude toward sin can give you assurance with God or take it away.
Verse of the Day
And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; Hebrews 10:15 ESV
Name three issues you would expect a Christian to feel strongly about.
Why are there certain expectations you have about the attitude of believers on those issues?
What are some reasons why someone who claims to be a Christian might not feel strongly about those issues?
A main goal for 1 John is to create joy in the readers.
The proclamation of the reality of the Gospel produces fellowship in eternal life and in turn, fellowship in eternal life produces joy.
The author specifically addresses the relationship between a believer and sin.
To counter the false teachers who deny the existence or importance of sin, John affirms its reality. Those who deny the reality of sin demonstrate their lack of genuine salvation.
Read 1 John 1:5-7
'This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 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.' 1 John 1:5-7 (ESV)
What did John mean when he wrote that there was no darkness in God?
In Scripture light and darkness are very familiar symbols.
Intellectually “light” refers to biblical truth while “darkness” refers to error or falsehood.
Morally “light” refers to holiness or purity while “darkness” refers to sin or wrongdoing.
The heretics claim to be the truly enlightened, walking in the real light, but John denied that because they do not recognize their sin.
“No darkness at all,” with this phrase, John forcibly affirms that God is absolutely perfect and nothing exists in God's character that impinges upon His truth and holiness.
Read 1 Timothy 6:16 and James 1:18
[God] who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. 1 Timothy 6:16 ESV
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. James 1:17 ESV
Why is walking in darkness and having fellowship with God impossible?
The topic of fellowship again took center stage as John challenged false teachers who apparently stressed that one could possess an intimate relationship with God, yet live a lifestyle of his or her own choosing.
In spite of their claims to enlightenment and although the false teachers may have claimed fellowship with Christ, they're walking in darkness refuted such claims, and consequently demonstrated their lack of genuine salvation.
Instead, John stressed God as the ultimate standard of holiness. Those who truly possess fellowship with Him reflect His nature and character by avoiding sinful lifestyles and purposefully seeking fellowship with other believers.
Read John 8:12
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 ESV
According to verses 6-7 in 1 John 1, what are some benefits of walking in the light?
Genuine Christians walk habitually in the light (truth and holiness), not in darkness (falsehood and sin).
Their walk also results in cleansing from sin as the Lord continually forgives His own.
Since those walking in the light share in the character of God, they will be habitually characterized by His holiness, indicating their true fellowship with Him.
A genuine Christian does not walk in darkness, but only in the light, and cleansing from sin continually occurs.
To “walk in” is to live and act or behave; to pursue a particular course of life.
Read John 12:35-36
So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them. John 12:35-36 ESV
What other benefits can you think of that aren’t listed here?
Our obligation is to “walk in the light as He is in the light.”
We make a conscious, continuous decision to live life in conformity with the revelation of God, who is light.
When we live in the light, we have fellowship with one another.
Implied in verse 7 is that fellowship with both God and other believers is contingent on habitually aligning our lives with the nature and character of God.
Read 1 John 1:8-10
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. 1 John 1:8-10 ESV
Not only did the false teachers walk in darkness but went so far as to deny totally the existence of a sin nature in their lives.
If someone never admits to being a sinner salvation cannot result.
Not only did the false teachers make false claims to fellowship and disregard sin they are also characterized by deceit regarding sinfulness.
Read Romans 3:23
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23 ESV
What does John say we must do when we sin?
Continual confession of sin is an indication of genuine salvation.
While the false teachers would not admit their sin, the genuine Christian admitted and forsook it.
The term “confess” means to say the same thing about sin as God does; to acknowledge His perspective about sin.
Confession of sin characterizes genuine Christians, and God continually cleanses those who are confessing.
Rather than focusing on confession for every single sin as necessary, John has especially in mind here, a settled recognition and acknowledgment that one is a sinner in need of cleansing and forgiveness.
How does John describe those who think they have no sin?
God’s entire plan for the redemption of humankind is based on the fact of human sin.
Those who claim never to have sinned do not have God’s Word in them. They have not accepted the Gospel. Their character and conduct has not been changed by God’s power.
JD explains, “The clearest sign you’re growing in grace is not that you no longer sin. The clearest sign you’re growing in grace is that you’re more aware of how much sin actually pervades your heart.”
Does this mean true believers should continually beat themselves up over their sin? Explain.
The Holy Spirit gives us guilt, in order to make us aware that what we are doing is wrong and to turn from it, i.e. repent, so as to restore our fellowship with God.
Satan and our flesh give us shame which drives us further away from God and further into sin.
Have you ever felt like your sin is too great for God’s forgiveness? What caused you to feel that way?
When we confess our sin, we can be confident God has forgiven us. Apart from our confession, nothing is required of us for God’s forgiveness. He does so because He’s “faithful” and “just.”
After our confession of sins, God will do two things based on His faithful and just character.
First, He will forgive us our sins—He will cancel the debt!
Second, He will cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Read 1 John 2:1-2
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. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 1 John 2:1-2 ESV
Propitiation: Appeasement or satisfaction.
The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross satisfied the demands of God's holiness for the punishment of sin.
What is John’s hope and expectation for believers?
Although a Christian must continually acknowledge and confess sin, we are not powerless against it.
Fulfilling the duty of confession does not give license to sin.
Sin can and should be conquered through the power of the Holy Spirit.
What assurance about God does John say we should have in relation to that hope and expectation?
What reason does a Christian have to be confident before God?
Jesus is our Advocate before the Father, to intercede for us on our behalf.
An advocate is one who pleads another's cause before a judge, a pleader, counsel for defense, or legal assistant.
Perhaps a modern concept of the term would be a defense attorney.
Although Satan persecutes believers night and day before the Father due to sin, Christ's high-priestly ministry guarantees not only sympathy, but also acquittal.
The only one in history who could be the advocate between humanity and God is Jesus, who is both Son of God and Son of man, in order to fully represent God and fully represent man.
Jesus had to represent two natures, the nature of man and the nature of God. Indivisibly united, but not combined, to form a third nature.
Read John 1:1, 1:14
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 ESV
Assess your attitude toward sin. Are you the kind of person who wants to justify his or her sin? Are you the kind of person who can’t imagine God could really love you that much? Are you the kind of person who regularly confesses sin before God, resting in the finished work of Christ? What does your attitude tell you about your relationship with God?
Do you cherish conviction and repentance, or do you bow up a little bit whenever you get close to the light? How can you learn to love conviction and repentance?
What would it look like for you to move closer to the light of Christ in regard to sin this week?
We must make a concerted effort every day in our lives to turn from sin and do what is right by the power of the Holy Spirit. If necessary we must remove objects or people from our lives that cause us to fall back into sin. Those who do not love the LORD will not help you serve the LORD. You may think you can just get rid of “big sins” and be fine, but that is far from the truth. Every sin is in some way linked together like an unseen spiderweb. The longer you let “little sins” linger the more you will find yourself caught in the web. The only freedom is found in Christ and following His example.
Read 1 John 2:3-6
And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. 1 John 2:3-6 ESV
Thank God that He can have no part in sin. Thank Him that because He loves and wants to take part in you, He made a way for your sins to be fully paid by Jesus on the cross. Invite the Lord to show you areas of your life where you have resisted coming into the light and for the courage to stay within His presence. Come to Him with a heart of repentance.