1 John 1
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;
2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)
3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
Not all church members are created equal. Some are just plain problematic. That was just as true in the apostle John’s day as it is in ours. There were some members in his congregation who were claiming to be church members in regular standing even though they were walking “in darkness.” Such were, the apostle asserts, living a lie (v. 6), claiming to be living without sin; to be beyond committing even sinful acts.
John saw right through such people. In verse 8 he just plain calls them liars and in verse 10 he says such claims make God a liar. After all, God is quite convinced that “all have sinned” (Rom. 3:24), as Paul drives home in the first half of Romans 3 with a massive sheaf of Old Testament quotations.
The good news in relation to the claim of the “sinless” ones is that it gave John an opportunity to set forth the gospel of forgiveness. “If we confess our sins,” he tells us, “he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
One thing I like about John is that he is able to find something helpful in even bad situations. There must be a lesson in that attitude for me.