I JOHN 1:8-10: “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, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (ESV)
OBSERVATION: Is there really such a thing as “sin”? This may seem like a strange question. However, in today’s culture, and following the trends of many churches and denominations, the answer is a moving target. What once was called sin is now called an illness. What once was deemed as inappropriate and outside of the boundaries of God’s Word is now redefined as a cultural misunderstanding or misinterpretation. What once was the absolute of the 10 Commandments has now become the 10 Suggestions, and never to be displayed in public, as it might offend someone. If you keep sawing the legs off a table, an inch at a time, eventually all you will have left is a plank of wood. This is what is happening to the understanding of “sin”.
Why is this so dangerous and critical? John tells us very clearly – “If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His world is not in us.” The Bible is clear – God never changes! Nations rise and nations fall – but God never changes. Social mores are in style and then out – but God never changes. Sin is redefined and dismissed by man – but God never changes. If God never changes, His Word never changes. The moral principles that God established from creation still stand. Sin is sin – period. It does not get redefined. It does not become culturally adapted and accepted. We do not get to pick and choose from the 10 Commandments. The Word of God is not a personal smorgasbord – it is the revelation of our Divine Creator!
Also, if there is no “sin”, then there is no need for repentance. Paul said he did not know it was wrong to covet until he read the Law. When he read the Law sin was exposed, as was his need for repentance and salvation. However, if you want to keep people from being saved – convince them that they have no need for repentance or salvation. This will keep them from the only provision of life that is available – Jesus Christ our Lord. Without repentance and faith in Jesus Christ man will remain dead in his sins and destined for death and eternal separation from God. This is the very strategy of the devil. He wants to keep everyone from coming to Jesus Christ. If he can convince them that they have no need for repentance, if he can make them believe the Word of God is archaic and irrelevant – he has them! So much is at stake!
However, the Word of God stands true. God does not change. Sin is sin, and the penalty of sin is death. There is no escaping this end – unless one turns to Jesus Christ through repentance and believes in Jesus Christ through faith. When a person does this something wonderful happens.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
We are not only forgiven, we are cleansed and “Born Again” into a new life, an eternal life, a life filled with purpose, freedom, peace, and potential. The power and penalty of sin is broken through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that is attributed to us through faith. God sends us His Holy Spirit to live in our hearts. We are given new eyes to see, new ears to hear, and a new capacity for living – Grace! The Spirit filled life is a life of grace and truth – leading us to a deeper and fuller understanding of Jesus Christ, and an ever growing realization of His power within us. We become overcomers because we have been honest with our sin, received His redemption, and are walking by His Spirit!
A popular saying today is “Hate the sin, not the sinner”. If we are to truly love the sinner we must never dismiss the sin. Being honest with sin is the only way we can truly call people to repentance. It is only through repentance that we are forgiven, cleansed, and “Born Again”. We must lovingly hold up God’s Word and Truth with one hand, while compassionately pointing the way to the Cross with the other hand. We must never forget that we are sinners saved by grace called to lead other sinners to the same provision that we have freely received. Lord, help us to do this in the power and love of Jesus Christ.
In Jesus Name!