John wrote this letter to counter the false teachings that crept into the churches. This morning, we will look at three ineffective ways to deal with our sin and three effective ways to deal with our sin. The passage we will look at is 1 John 1:5-10.
Because the word, sin, is not always familiar to everyone, let me begin by defining what sin is. The Apostle Paul would say that sin is falling short of the glory of God. Elizabeth has put it well, "Sin is doing what shames God. "Because God made us in His image, pure, good and loving, whenever we are impure, evil or unloving, we fall short of His glory and put our Maker to shame.
Sin separates us from God. Isaiah 59:2 tells us, "But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear. "In other words, if we don’t deal with our sin effectively while we are alive, we will be separated from God for all of eternity, and that’s hell.
This morning, John starts by saying that the sin that separates us from God and the sin that separates us from others is our own sin, because God has no sin at all. We read in verse 5, "God is light; in him there is no darkness at all."
Now that we know the trouble is with us, what are you going to do about it?
This week, I received an insightful email from one of my favorite research assistants, and the email reads:
"Man discovered weapons, invented hunting. Woman discovered hunting, invented furs. Man discovered colors, invented painting. Woman discovered painting, invented make-up. Man discovered agriculture, invented food. Woman discovered food, invented diet..."
I won’t go on, because you get the idea. We choose what we do with what we know. And this morning, we know that the sin in us separates us from God, and unless we deal with the sin effectively, we will be separated from God in this life and for all of eternity. Again, we will look at three common but ineffective ways to deal with sin, each followed by the correct way to deal with sin.
FIRST, people deal incorrectly with sin through compartmentalized obedience. We read this in verses 6-7. The false teachers of John’s time was teaching that if we know and believe in the right things, we will have a right relationship with God, regardless of the way we are living.
Many Christians can talk a good talk about morality and enter into deep conversation about God’s truths, but if their lives do not reflect their knowledge, their relationship with God is not right. James, the half-brother of Jesus, noted, "You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder." Obviously, demons do not have a right relationship with God. Right beliefs without right behaviors do not foster right relationship.
If what we learn and affirm on Sunday morning does not transfer over to our obedience to God in our use of our body and mind, our work and finances, and our family and recreation from Monday through Saturday, we cannot claim to have a right relationship with God. Relationship involves our totality.