The Believer and Sin
“If we say that 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 that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation of our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” -1 John 1:8-2:2
John starts a short discourse on the confession of our sins. This is not dealing with a nature that is just bent towards sin but in dealing with certain acts that are sinful. John is going through a list of conditional statements (if, then) concerning the believers life. The second part of the list deals with the individual sins of believers who fall into the entrapments of moral and spiritual failure. John makes sure that people do not weasel their way out of confession by acting as though they have a sinless perfection. John reminds us that we have constant need of God’s grace in this life even though He has given us the power to live above sin. We do sometimes find ourselves sinking back into a previous lifestyle and habits. The devil can make snares that entrap even the most seasoned disciple.
There are two things that can take place when a believer has the opportunity to confess their fall. They can either deny it or they can confess it and receive forgiveness. To deny a moral failure, a sin, a lapse of judgment, is to boast of arrogance of a sinless perfection. Only Christ lived a life of sinless perfection that did not contain any failures of any sort. We on the other hand are prone to wander. Christ gives us strength and the Spirit indwells so this should not be commonplace. John even explains that the reason he writes is, “that ye sin not” (1 Jn. 2:1). So in the instances of sin, hidden and public, we are to confess our sin and need of forgiveness. Jesus is our “advocate,” (2:1) our supporter, the one we can lean on. He is “faithful” (1:9) to forgive us because He is our “propitiation” (2:2) for sins, our peacemaker.