5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
I John 1:5-10
(Source: Bible Gateway, NIV)
The man Jesus, who has no darkness or sin, wants to have a relationship with us, those who are with sin. The man who walks in the light wants to come and have fellowship with us.
It is astounding, isn’t it… that the son of God who walked on the earth would actually seek to be with us. To walk with him means that we ought to also walk in the light, not in paths of darkness, paths of sin.
Yet, in verse 8, if we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves. There is none without sin. So we are with sin, and must claim it to be so, otherwise, we are not being truthful with ourselves, with others, or with God.
But– we are told in verse 9, if we confess our sins, God will forgive us and cleanse us from unrighteousness. First– we must recognize and admit our sin. Second– we must confess our sin to God.
There were people in Jesus’ day who did think they were righteous, who followed the law and believed themselves to be pure, and deceived themselves. These where the Pharisees. In the Gospels, Jesus repeatedly rebukes the Pharisees for their self-righteousness and pride, making a point that he cares about the condition of one’s heart, and that the outward deeds did not prove that they were righteous. Jesus had x-ray vision, seeing right through a person’s heart, knowing his or her intentions.
Did you ever meet someone who liked to point out other people’s sins? The pastor talked a little about this… he said that the effort to point out sin in others is a self-protective measure. He was sure to point out that yes, there are certainly occasions we must speak truth in love. But he was referring to people who often feel that they are a cut above the rest of us and need to point out where the rest of us are failing. In other words, there is a lack of humility and authenticity.
He asked us to consider whether we are lying to ourselves about our sin and covering it by casting a flashlight on others. I’m wondering how many of us can think of someone like that. (And let’s hope it is not ourselves! But if it is, a starting point to change is to recognize it in oneself.)
1 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
I John 2:1-2
In verse 1, our pastor mentioned that this is the only time in the Bible that Jesus is mentioned as our “advocate” (usually the Holy Spirit is referred to as our advocate).
We have failed, but God has provided a means for atonement.
This little passage, with a simple but powerful message, strengthens my spirit, gives me the mettle I need for the day ahead. :)
What verses are giving you the fortitude you need lately? Can you claim true fellowship with Jesus?
Counting to 1000 gifts (#625-635):
625. A lovely full moon and a clear night.
626. Judging a spelling bee… and delighted by a first grader who had studied and could hold his own for many rounds. I have now judged, organized, or pronounced words at 5 or 6 spelling bees in the past several years. :)
627. Judging at a speech and debate tournament full of articulate and brave young people, ages 12 to 18. I loved hearing the speeches they prepared and listening to debate rounds on policy. Inspiring! I am enamored with speech and debate! It was three long days but enjoyable. The youngsters were dressed (and behaved) professionally. I feel encouraged knowing that some of these youngsters are our future leaders. Perhaps some of these youngsters will run for office one day!
628. Sleeping late on Saturday morning
629. Sunlight filtering through a window
630. Reading words that take me beyond myself
631. Beautiful verses, like this one:
“Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.”
632. Decadent, homemade chocolate cake
633. A nice conversation with my son, who was explaining to me how he likes to learn and what kind of curriculum he likes. Great feedback; I need to know what’s working and what isn’t! :)
634. Learning the love languages of my children. One of them clearly speaks the “receiving gifts” language. He feels love by receiving gifts. He is very specific and clear about it. At least this one is easy to figure out. :)
635. Homemade granola sprinkled on yogurt