Summary: How does one come to faith in Christ. And just what is saving faith?
Last week, we talked about our relationship we have in Jesus Christ in terms of light and darkness. Our fellowship with the Father requires us to be pure light without any dark spot. And we all too well know that this makes any fellowship with the Father impossible, if this was dependent on who we are. We also talked about the similarity of verse 5 and 6 to the first three chapters of Romans. This would make us all filled with despair except for the fact that God had a solution. Jesus Christ is worthy as God and perfect man to stand in the presence of the Father. This means that if we are going to be able to come to the Father, we must be in Jesus Christ.
This is just as true after we come to Jesus as it was before. We cannot say that we do not have sins right now. We also are not currently fully free from its effect. We still struggle in Romans chapter 7, wanting to do the right, yet we constantly fail into temptation. The only protection we have as sheep is in the arms of the Great Shepherd. John wants us to know that if we do confess our sin when we do sin, even though we should not, that Jesus is just and faithful to forgive us.
We need to remember who we are without Christ. There is no room for personal boasting or pride. We are only perfect in Christ Jesus. And we are not in Jesus alone. It is the entire church which stands in fellowship with Him as His bride. This means that we have to co-operate with the other members of the body, upholding and lifting each other up. So not only can we only stand before the perfect Father if we are in Christ, we must also stand united with each other in the body, each of us doing our part and in the place we are put.
Exposition of the Text
1 John 2:1: My little children, I am writing you these things for the purpose that you might not sin. But should we sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous One.
John just doesn't call the readers here children but "little children." (Ôåêíßá, tek-knee-ah). This would correspond to a child of 3-4 years of age. This term is one of innocence and humility. It also means we have a lot of growing up to do. Yet, none of us wants to be called this. Yet we know that Jesus said that unless we humble ourselves and come to Him as little children, we cannot come at all. John learned this lesson the hard way. He and his brother James had always wanted to be the most important disciples. This had caused bitterness and strife among the disciples. This is exactly the opposite that Christ wants in His church.
Perhaps those who had left had called themselves the perfect ones and bragged about their spiritual maturity. But as we are going to learn in this epistle that pride separates but love and humility unite.
John writes these words so that the believer might not sin. Sin is never part of God's plan for His people. He has not the one who puts temptation and sin into our lives. These are not used by God as a means of keeping us down or humble. God is not the author or promoter of sin. Sin is contrary to what is normal to the Christian.
Should a person sin, it says WE have an advocate with the Father. Note that the one who sins is singular. But when it says WE have an advocate with the Father does it means that the church intercedes to God with the one who sinned. There is also a sense that sin isn't only a problem with God, it is a problem with the church too, for the church is the body of Christ. If we think of our own body, isn't our entire body affected if we hit our thumb with a hammer. The thumb might hurt more; however, the rest of the body ceases to function correctly until the thumb is treated. You just can't keep working on the building, even though the rest of the body is uninjured. And this is true of building up Christ's Church too.
The way to healing and forgiveness then is that the rest of the Church attend to the would of the one, so that every one can get back to work. Yet how often has it been said that the church is the only army who leaves their wounded on the battlefield?
We should also consider that the sin we commits hurts not only Christ but His body, the church as well. Sin is often an act of selfishness on one's part to gratify one's desire. Children are known to be very selfish and must be taught to share and think of others. Unfortunately, we all need to go back to Kindergarten on occasion.