"My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world." 1 John 2:1-2
The Apostle John was an amazing church leader, evangelist and writer. His authorship of First, Second and Third John, and the Gospel of John, clearly reveals his genius in addressing venomous errors of doctrine within the general body of believers throughout Asia Minor. He also illuminates a variety of facts surrounding our Lord's public ministry, his interaction with his immediate followers and an account of his sufferings and appearances to the disciples after his resurrection. He notes in John 20:31, "But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."
John hailed from a small fishing village along the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Some commentators suggest that his family was prosperous to the degree that they could afford hired help, allowing him to travel extensively after joining Jesus' ministry.
John is portrayed in the Gospels as being more influential than most of the other apostles, a plausible fact, given his inclusion into the core group of three disciples who witnessed certain key events in Jesus' ministry. He was present at the resurrection of Jarius' daughter, at Jesus' transfiguration, and at the Garden of Gethsemane before Jesus was arrested, and is even referred to as a "pillar" of the Jerusalem church by the Apostle Paul. It is also worth noting that he is known as "the disciple whom Jesus loved," and is renowned for his faith and loyalty to the Nazarene.
Having such credentials, it isn't at all surprising that John viewed his audience as his own spiritual children, which personally gives me a great deal of assurance. As a believer, I take comfort in the fact that John, whom Jesus loved, does not want us to become a slave to sin. This, John affirms confidently in 1 John 2:1; "I write this to you so that you will not sin."
The premise of this statement is based upon the essence of who God is; "God is light; in him there is no darkness at all." John unquestionably succeeds in capturing the character of God by revealing the holiness and purity of the Almighty. The fact that we may freely choose to commit our self to God and "walk in the light", assures us that "the blood of Jesus . . . purifies us from every sin." This means that while our flesh remains susceptible to the damaging effects of sin, the ultimate blood sacrifice of Jesus nullifies and voids our offences so that we may continue in fellowship with God the Father and Jesus the Son, and in fact with all the saints of God's growing family. Our acceptance of Jesus' death on our behalf must be a continuing action of our "walking in the light."
For many of us, the memory of sins past is painful. In truth we are sinners despite our initial repentance and acceptance of Jesus as the propitiation of sin. John is plain when he says that when we do commit sin, "we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One."
How often have we suffered emotionally and spiritually through some cumbersome load of guilt which, seems beyond remedy. Such distress of spirit and soul is needless. Jesus Christ, the Righteous One, will always speak to the Father in our defense, and for that, we give praise. I am relieved beyond measure to know that the load of guilt suffered in my past is no more! Only Satan brings such things to mind.
How did this wonderful transformation of spirit happen? When did it happen and what does it mean for us going forward?
It happens the moment we openly accept the work of the Savior, committing to walk in the light and fellowship with God, and though we aren't yet perfect, our fellowship with God will always be characterized by walking in the light, doing the truth, living as He desires. As John says, "My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin.
- Thomas J. Wheeler © 2011