Liars from 1 John
The second and third most used scriptures to defend sin in a believer’s life are practically in the same place, so I’ll do them together: “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8) and “If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and His word is not in us” (1 John 1:10). Here’s the thing: a lot of honest Christians are bad at reading context. If we would read and attempt to understand context more often, I doubt so many lies would creep into the church. So let’s make sure we get the correct context and go back a few verses starting at 1 John 1:5.
- “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all” 1 John 1:5.
- “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth” 1 John 1:6. Wow, there’s another great scripture to show we shouldn’t live in sin any longer.
- “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” 1 John 1:7. It seems like John really expects us to be able to walk in the light. Would you say that continuing to sin is walking in the light as He is in the light? Also, notice that it says Jesus cleanses us from all sin.
- “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” 1 John 1:8. Most people use this scripture to say, “See, I do have sin.” But the problem is that the verse before this one is saying that Jesus cleanses us from all sin. Then I would ask, “Did Jesus cleanse you from all sin or not?” This scripture is very clearly stating that everyone has sin in their lives before they begin to believe in Christ. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Those who are deceived are those who believe that they have never sinned before. Let’s keep reading to get more context though.
- “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” 1 John 1:9. What’s the first step to someone being born again? Confessing their sins and being cleansed by the blood of Jesus. After that, Jesus is faithful to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Pay attention to the next verse because it further clarifies verse 8.
- “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” 1 John 1:10. Again, this is clarifying verse 8. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We all need His Son as a sacrifice! Now just as Romans 7 and 8 were linked, we’re going to keep reading and you’ll see that 1 John chapters 1 and 2 are linked also.
- “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin” 1 John 2:1. You see? John is writing this letter to the church so that the church will not sin! So why do we continue to declare that we are sinners and we can’t help but have sin in our lives?? I think John would disagree with that teaching!
- “And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” 1 John 2:2. This verse shows that even if we do sin after we have been born again, which is possible but usually only happens when a well-meaning believer gets sucked into one of the devil’s stupid traps, God will still forgive us because Jesus sits at His right hand as an Advocate for us—wonderful!
- “And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world” 1 John 2:3. Amen!
I believe that it is much easier to understand 1 John 1:8 and 1 John 1:10 if you read the two scriptures within context. As you can see, John is clearly not telling us to live in sin, despite what those who do not have renewed minds may want to believe.