II. Christ is salvation (V8-9).
Marshall poses an interesting observation here. We know John was writing to the believers in the area, and that there appeared to be those among them that were causing trouble in the congregation. He confronted them with the light and darkness analogy to bring to the forefront the foolishness of their ways and their inability to see the trap that Satan has for them. Now apparently they have denied sin altogether. This denial is where John levels his concerns now.
Don’t fall prey to this attitude that, because you have Christ you now have no sin, or worse yet, “I’ve never done anything wrong, so I’m no sinner”. Consider whether or not you have ever lied. Go back to James 2:10 and consider that if you have lied just one time in your life you are guilty of the whole law. You are then a liar you are then liable to Revelation 21:8 and will have your part in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.
Brothers and sisters, let’s look into what God has for us in these next verses.
A. We are sin filled creatures (verse 8).
Normally in a court of law if you admit, before you testify, that you are a convicted criminal, especially a perjurer, your testimony is completely tainted and you will be discounted or greatly diminished as a credible witness. Here John is once again displaying an opposing reality in the Word of God as opposed to the earthly realm. Here if you first admit to your sin: lying, cheating, stealing, adultery, or fornication whatever it is, you gain credibility. You are able to gain light and integrity, admission to God means you want to rectify your condition. You want Him to work on your condition to help you glorify Him.
The terms here are both active with respect to the self-deceit and a past completed statement with respect to sin. This indicates we are all capable, and many are currently, deceiving ourselves because we have all sinned in the past. If you said you are sinless, you are deceiving yourself. It’s that simple. The applicable portion of this verse is in the end that condemns our actions. If you are deceiving yourself then the truth is not in you. Since God is truth (Deut 32:4), we can correlate the fact that if the truth is not in someone, God is not in him either. Note that this is not saying that you cannot sin, but if you continually and completely deny that you have sinned, or do sin, or have sin in you, that is the yardstick. Your self-denial is the determinant.
Clearly, do not claim to be sinless. If you do so, you deceive yourself and are a liar. Don’t endeavor to do this, even and especially after you accept Christ as your Savior. If anything, this should serve as a reality check. You should consider how wretched you really are and thank the Lord for sending His son to bear your sins on the tree.
Now – look at the promise we have in God if we are truthful, if we see ourselves as we truly are and confront this with the truth of God.
- B. Confession brings forgiveness (verse 9).
Interestingly enough, the Greek word here for “confess” is more frequently used with phrases discussing confession of faith; a public affirmation of association. Baptism is a form of this with the public affirmation and association with Jesus Christ’s death burial and resurrection. The term normally used is has a different connotation of a confession. Instead of just a public announcement of allegiance, it is simply more of an agreement. Therefore in this case John is not saying from confession of sins we receive forgiveness, but more literally “if we confess our sins”…D. Edmond Hiebert explains it best I think when he says, “Such a confession is more than a general acknowledgement… We must honestly confront and frankly confess the sins we are guilty of without defending ourselves or excusing our sinful deeds.” The Greek here is also in the present tense meaning it is a continuing, active and current action. You should be doing it now, every day, any time you experience sin. This all means then that the confession part is only the required initiator of forgiveness. The actual forgiveness is the cleansing.
The word used for cleansing is the ceremonial cleansing of disease. Like in Psalm 51, this cleansing is to relieve you from burdens associated with the disease. That is isolation, pain, disassociation, lack of fellowship, all of which a leprous individual would suffer because of their disease.
There is much more to this verse such as studying the fact that God will always perform this cleansing (“faithful”) and He is right in doing so (“just”) and looking at the full implications of this statement.
Remember keep your slate clean. Wipe off the chalkboard and then wash it down. Where this example fails though is that when we cleaned the chalkboard and scrubbed the erasers there was always residue. When Christ performs His act of cleansing, that specific sin is gone and he also deposits the capability to not sin. This is more akin to Rainex than anything I guess. You wash your windshield then you put Rainex on it. Now, it may get dirty but the dirt comes off easier now, and when it rains water slips off quickly. Mud, if liquefied, comes off easier.
Confess your sin and get the assistance of Christ and the Holy Spirit in your life. When you have truly accepted Him, you will experience a rejuvenated life that is like being healed from some great disease as the weight of sin is removed from your life. Accept Christ, reach out to Him and take His cleansing power in you!
We now enter into the final conditional statement. If you deny sin altogether you find yourself opposed to God completely.
III. Denial is sin (verse 10).
Would it be foolish for any one of us to deny that they are a person? That you are human, that you were one day some time ago–some longer than others–born? Would it not be foolish to deny that you at one time had a father? Only Christ was born of Spirit and woman; we were all born of normal copulatory activity. If I blatantly denied I came into this world in anything other than the normal fashion you might either think I was surely kidding around or just plain crazy. That is the situation in this verse.
Many commentators see little difference between verse 8 and verse 10. Lets read the first part of these verses together. First verse 8 – notice, “have no sin.” That means we do not have it with us currently. That indicates rather clearly that do not have any sin. Now, everyone has sin. You should consider your first lie. Do you remember it? The earliest one I remember is at 6 years old. But I had been on earth 6 years before my real earliest memories. What sins have you asked forgiveness for? This is a reference to that period. Now lets look at verse 10 – notice, “we have not sinned.” This is a denial that any sin ever took place. Once again this is a different issue. One seems to indicate that they have not currently sinned that they may know of; one seems to indicate that they are claiming never to have sinned. I’ll tell you, in the Greek this could never be clearer here and they are two different phrases in Greek. This one in verse 10 uses the verb form of sin. Sin is the action. In verse 8 the word for sin is a noun meaning that sin is a thing. We have the same thing in English, and, just like in English, these two words look a lot alike. We could say, “Look at that dog.” Dog is a noun. You can also say, “Don’t dog me out.” Where dog now is a pejorative verb, you talk bad about someone.
The Bible is replete with references to man being a sinner, and that no man escapes this great feat associated with our nature. 1 Kings 8:46 states “no man that sinneth not” and Psalm 14:3 reads “there is none that doeth good, no, not one”; Job 4:17 reads “;” and Job 15:14-16, and Proverbs 20:9, Ecclesiastes 7:20; Isaiah 53:6; 64:6 and of course Romans 3:23 which is a culmination of all this scripture. Therefore it is no stretch to say at all that if anyone claims to have never sinned, they are a liar, and they attempt, through this claim, to make God a liar.
Don’t attempt this. It is pure arrogance and foolishness. No one will ever believe you. Even the most pagan of all of us knows that people do things wrong and need to be held accountable for it. They would not even accept you. Jesus Christ the righteous can cleanse you from sin, but you will never be sinless, you will always be a sinner.
Let us quickly review what we have learned. First, God is light, not like light, not close to light, but He is light. His essence is light; His being is light. Second, Christ is salvation. Christ is the one who provided for, was born for, dedicated His every breathing day for your salvation and preparation to enjoy eternal life with Him. Third, denying any of this is sin. The scriptures record the sinfulness of man from the beginning at birth, even in the womb in Psalm 51:5.
Let us together today begin a walk in the light. If you have not asked Christ into your heart, do so today. Lets begin a walk down the road of assurance in Jesus Christ and His salvific provision for us. Together let’s do this. May God be with you and you be with Him.