Journal 1 John 1 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, (then) we lie and do not practice the truth.
But if we walk in the light (as He is in the light), (then) we have fellowship with one another, and the Blood of Jesus (his Son) cleanses us from all sin.
If we say 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 we have not sinned, (then) we make him a liar and his word is not in us.” 1 Jn 1:6-10
Observation: Good old John takes us straight down the classical “if, then” arguments. Pretty cut and dried although it can make my eyes cross reading it the way it is printed in most Bibles.
Analysis: Inevitable. Synonyms of this word are: Unavoidable; predictable; expected; foreseeable; and certain. That is where the arguments of “if, then” relationships head.
“If, then” statements are logic based; they are “word equations”. They are not fuzzy around the edges. These kinds of sentences are not read with “gray, smoky, possibilities” in mind. Take this as a “possibility based” example: “If we confess our sins…” (good start, a firm decision on my part), “then MAYBE Jesus might forgive my sin. In doing so, He is showing Himself to be less than faithful, less than just…” This statement is what we get by introducing any kind of fuzziness into the word equation and, unfortunately, in the way we think about the Faith.
Taking a look at certain “If’s”:
- If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness…
o Inarguable result: I am lying.
- If we say we have no sin…
o Inarguable result: I am lying.
- If we say we have not sinned…
o Inarguable result: I am lying and
o I say that Jesus is a liar.
Here’s the other set of “If’s”:
- If we walk in the light…
o Indicated result: fellowship
o Indicated result: cleansed/redeemed from Sin
- If we confess personal sin…
o Indicated result: forgiveness and designated righteousness
Note how this rolls back to the principles of the Sovereignty of God and Human Responsibility. It looks like conditional salvation, right? I do something and God reciprocates with salvation and blessing?
Well, if I look at it from Man’s high and exalted perch, yeah, it absolutely does. But then it should be clear that I am looking at things incorrectly. God the Creator is worshipped by Man the created. Who lives for whose benefit? Why, Man lives for God, not the other way around.
Therefore, when I acknowledge my sin towards God, and accept His UNDESERVED Grace and Mercy toward salvation, then the reciprocity is that I LIVE FOR GOD, under His decrees and wishes, etc.
On a practical and everyday basis, if I say I am a Christian and walk in any sort of sin, I am lying about being a Christian. If I say I don’t have sin, I am lying because I am probably walking in some sort of sin anyway. If I say I haven’t sinned, then for sure I am lying because the two statements above prove that I am.
The Gospel and the resulting saving mercies are to be acknowledged and celebrated EVERY DAY. Jeremiah got it: “But this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning…” Lam 3:21-23a
New every morning. Not new on a particular alter call yesterday, last year or even 60 years ago: Every morning. Walk in that without forgetting.
The takeaway principle here is to resolve to PURSUE God. Google and check out Jonathan Edwards’ “Resolutions.” The picture will begin to be seen.
Prayer: Father, again I thank you that I can stand on the shoulders of godly men before me. Again, I thank you that you make the Scriptures plain to those who want to see. And I am thankful that your Covenant with Man stands because of your love and initiative.
Help me to surrender more today while I try to work hard to walk worthy of the Gospel.
Ricky Two Shoes