1 John 2:1-6
“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. 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.”
If We Sin
When Jesus died on that cross for our sins, he who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God. He shed his blood for us to buy us back for God that we might now honor God with our lives and with our bodies (1 Co 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:15, 21).
He died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us. And, he died that we might be delivered from our slavery to sin, so we now become slaves of his righteousness (1 Pet 2:24; 2 Co 5:15; Rom 6:1-23).
The faith in Jesus that we must have to receive salvation from sin and eternal life with God is God-given (Eph 2:8-9) and it is divinely persuaded, thus it submits to Jesus as Lord, it dies with Christ to sin, and it lives to Christ and to his righteousness (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9).
Faith in Jesus Christ, in other words, is not an emotion, or an experience, or a religion, or a confession, or an acknowledgment of who Jesus is and of what he did for us in dying for us and in rising from the dead. It is dying to sin and it is living to righteousness, empowered by God’s Spirit (Eph 4:17-24).
The goal of our salvation from sin is that we not sin. But, we do still live in flesh bodies, so we still have a propensity to sin. We will still be tempted to sin, too. But Jesus made the way of escape for us out from under temptation to sin when he put sin to death for us on that cross.
Through faith in Jesus Christ, we should no longer be under the control of sin. Sin should no longer rule our lives. It should not have dominion over us so that we continue to yield to its control. So, our salvation from sin is not free license to continue living in sin. And, what we read here in 1 John 2 is also not permission to keep living in sin (Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24).
So, this is meant to be a mere acknowledgment that, as human beings, we are still living in flesh bodies, we still have the propensity to sin, and we may sin from time to time, but if we do, we have not lost our salvation. But, this in no way is free license to keep living in sin now that we are “saved.”
If We Keep Them
When we study the Scriptures, we must study them in the context in which they are written. So, we can’t pull out verses 1-2 and build a doctrine of salvation around them. Verses 1-2 must be read in the context of the whole of 1 John and in the context of verses 3-6.
So, although we may sin occasionally, no longer as a matter of habit or practice, yet if we are not obeying the Lord’s commandments (under the New Covenant), then we don’t know the Lord. For, if we claim to know Jesus, but we are not in the practice of obeying his teachings, we are liars.
But if we, by the Spirit, are in the practice of obeying the commandments of God (under the New Covenant), then God’s love is perfected in us, for that means we are growing to maturity in our walks of faith, and that we are learning what it means to love God and to love others, too.
And, what are his commandments? They can be summed up in the same way in which Jesus summed up the ten commandments. We are to love God with our whole being – hearts, minds, spirit, bodies, and strength. And, we are to love other people as we love and care for ourselves.
So, if we love God in this way, we are not going to habitually sin against him willfully, knowingly, and premeditatedly. We are not going to take his grace for granted, thinking his salvation gives us permission to live in sin. For, sin also hurts other people, and that is not loving others as ourselves, either.
And, this is how we know that we are in Christ: If we are living (walking) in Christ, if we are continuing in him, and if we are remaining steadfast in him, in his truth, and in his righteousness, then our walks should be in the same manner as how Jesus walked.
Obviously, we can’t claim that we are sinless like Jesus was, but in what ways can we, as his followers, emulate him? We ought to love people like he did, considering their legitimate needs above ourselves. And, we ought to humble ourselves by serving others as Jesus did.
We need to be healers in the way that we talk with and treat others, too, but this is not in the sense that the world would consider being healers. For, we don’t lie to people just to make them feel good about themselves while they are living in sin. We speak the truth in love to them, as Jesus did.
So, what truth did Jesus teach? He taught that if we want to come after him we must deny self and daily we must die with him to sin, and we must walk in obedience to his commands. He said if we hold on to our old lives of sin we will lose them for eternity, but if we lose our lives (die with him to sin) for his sake, we will have eternal life with God (Lu 9:23-26).
Over and over again he taught the cost of being one of his disciples. It means to leave everything to follow him wherever he leads us. And, this leaving everything is not necessarily physically leaving, but mentally, emotionally leaving (giving up) all to follow (obey) Jesus.
So, what this looks like is we surrender it all to Jesus, and we let him decide where we live and what we possess, but it is his, and we have to truly see it all as belonging to him, so that when he says “give to this person” we give, for we don’t see it as ours to begin with.
And, if he says to pack up our bags and move, we move, and we go with him wherever he leads us. We speak to whom he leads us to speak, and we willingly say whatever it is he gives us to say, even though we know it is going to get us hated and rejected in return.
Basically, we don’t consider our lives our own, for we are now God’s possession, and thus we are to glorify God with our lives in doing what he has called us to do, which is to be like him.
A Believer’s Prayer
An Original Work / July 31, 2012
With my whole heart, Lord, I pray
To be Yours, and Yours always.
Lead me in Your truth today.
May I love You and obey.
Lead me in Your righteousness.
When I sin, may I confess;
Bow before You when I pray;
Live for You and You always.
Love You, Jesus, You’re my friend.
Life with You will never end.
You are with me through each day,
Giving love and peace always.
You will ne’er abandon me.
From my sin You set me free.
You died on that cruel tree,
So I’d live eternally.
Soon You’re coming back for me;
From this world to set me free;
Live with You eternally.
Oh, what joy that brings to me.
I will walk with You in white;
A pure bride, I’ve been made right
By the blood of Jesus Christ;
Pardoned by His sacrifice.