“But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father; Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.”
~1 John 2:1b-2 (NRSV).
Even believers who’ve lived their faith for decades sometimes need to be reminded of this truth: Jesus saves!
Whilst grace is unconditional there is one thing that is deeply conditional—the warrant of obedience. That is, obeying what we consciously know to be right.
The matter of God’s eternal forgiveness sorted, there’s a life to be lived out. The impartation is to live it as faithfully as we can. Yes, that’s going to prove a challenge. One that’s impossible without faith in God.
But we’re getting off track.
Truth Beyond Lying
John is poignant early on about liars. On the one hand he’s quick to point out the nature of those who betray through their overt lies, and on the other he’s saying the cost of lying (“anyone [who] does sin”) is redeemed if they say, “I have come to know [Jesus],” (1 John 2:4) and are genuinely trying to live the saved life.
This is a heart-thing and has nothing to do with the amount of success we have in our obedience to the commands of the Lord. God knows the heart.
The truth beyond lying (for we’re all liars—sanctified by Jesus if we choose) is this grace intercedes for the genuine faith-believer; those that believe God when it’s said we’re prone to deceit. That truth must be owned. This is what John is saying.
One Swoop – The Devil is Crushed and with God is Victory
There is much power in the admission of sin. Simultaneously two realities unfold. Satan is flummoxed and ruined; his only hope to prevail over us was our proud clinging to falsity. That gone, the evil power that seems so vaunted simply evaporates.
That’s only half the story—the least stimulating half.
Jesus is known to the world that faces the truth. For humankind, sin is inevitable. God knows it so well—better, in fact, than we do. All we are to do is stow this truth.
Forgiveness was not just hatched the moment we were first saved. It was ‘created’ from ever... the concept always was. Before creation it came about; only in the matters of time and earthly reality was it to be made known—for human actuality—in the Saviour’s hanging on that cross.
A repented-of sin ushers a standing still in heaven. The angels are aghast in praise for God... sight of a sinner who’s saved... a sinner who agrees with God... a sinner who knows the way home.
In the strongest terms John is imploring us to live this life—to own the truth of our own deceit and to depart from sin each and every time we consciously can; to make a passionate habit of it... but to remember most of all, condemnation for sin is finished!
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.