1 John 2:1 New Living Translation
“My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous.”
This letter from the Apostle John was sent as a pastoral letter to several Gentile congregations. It seems that false teachings had infiltrated these churches and John was seeking to reassure the body in their faith while countering the false teachings. The two main teachings that ran contrary to scripture were 1) the reality of sin, and 2) the denial that Jesus was the Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament. Elsewhere in the letter John states that if we continue in sin we do not belong to God.* The operative word there is ‘continue’. He also says that if we believe Jesus was God in the flesh and trusted him to forgive us of all our sins then we would be children of God.** It should be noted that is a conditional statement. It’s called an ‘If - then’ clause. The unspoken follow up to that is ‘if we do not believe Jesus was God and that he died for the forgiveness of all sin’ then we will not only not be considered children of God, but live apart from God, potentially forever unless we have a change of heart.
The whole notion that once you’re a Christian you never sin and if you do sin you aren’t truly a believer at all is rubbish. John’s own words specifically state “if anyone does sin”. In a perfect world no one would do anything displeasing to Almighty God, but this isn’t a perfect world, therefore some folks will struggle with sin and the temptation associated with sinning. You slipped up. It’s not okay, but you won’t go to hell because of a mistake or the use of poor judgment in a situation. If you have a sincere and contrite heart, as in a heart that regrets your mistake and seeks forgiveness, you will be forgiven. The idea here is that we are to immerse ourselves in the things of God so that we develop a desire to live for him and imitate his Son. That more time you spend with the Lord and in his word, the less of a temptation sinning will become. John is saying, IF we sin, we have an advocate, a lawyer, someone who will stand up for us and plead our case before the Father. That advocate is none other than God’s own Son, Jesus Christ. He is righteous and holy and because of his shed blood we stand as righteous and holy in the eyes of God.
We must seek forgiveness and follow his will over our own. Our life is no longer ours. We were bought with a price, one we could never pay. Don’t stress over mistakes in judgment. Deal with the consequences, for whether good or bad, there are always consequences, and move forward with a newly cleaned slate. Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!
Resource: The Life Application Study Bible, published by Tyndale House.
* 1 John 1:6, 8, 10
** 1 John 2:22; 4:1-3