Focal Passage: I John 1:5 – 2:2
You have probably heard it said, Christians are not perfect, just forgiven! I am so very grateful for that! When believers come to experience Jesus, something happens. There is an exchange that takes place. A transformation of going from darkness to light. It is going from living for the darkness of the world to having an insatiable desire for the Light. It is an exchanged life because God is Light (v. 5), and if you walk in Him you exchange the darkness of sin for the Light of Jesus Christ (v. 6). It is getting rid of the blackness of a sinful lifestyle and clothing yourself with Christ.
The glorious reality of a God who is forgiving is that the responsibility for a cleansed life is taken off of man. Humanity cannot do it, no matter how hard one may try, because our best righteousness is still filthy rags to a Holy God. No, cleansing is not in us; Praise God it is all about the blood of Christ! There are those who cannot understand it, and are not willing to accept this truth of Scripture. They try to perform religious ceremonies, and commit themselves to all kinds of acts of works, making forgiveness and salvation more complicated than it really is. Why do they do it? Jesus tells us that people love the darkness of their sins (John 3:18-20), and are not willing to make the exchange of sin for the life found in the blood of Christ.
However, in living the exchanged life, these verses also call us to an examined life. Verses 6-10 begin with the word “If” which places a challenge upon us. It challenges us to look within ourselves and come to the realization of sin. Verse 9 calls us to confess our sins. It is the first step of experiencing the forgiveness of God. The word “confess” used in the verse means “to agree.”
John Phillips tells of a man who claimed he had not sinned. Phillips said, “I’d like to talk with your wife.” Most people do not like to be called sinners. Generally, we do not approach our friends and say, “Hey, good to see you this morning Sinner.” That gets very personal, but so is sin! It sinks to the very heart of life. But, when you and I agree with God, the glorious promise is that He is faithful, and just, and forgiving! The examined life is confirmed when the reality of sin becomes apparent, and the realization that only one thing can get rid of it … the cleansing of Christ.
With the exchanged and examined life comes a glorious truth. It is the exhaustive nature of the life freely given by our forgiving God. There is a word found three times in verses 5-10 of chapter 1, and another word which can be translated the same in verse 2 of chapter 2. The word is “All!” Through the atonement of the cross (propitiation) all sin is covered, all unrighteousness is cleansed.
Praise God you and I do not have to do anything in order to placate and appease an angry God. On the contrary, the cross adequately provided to cancel all sin, for all people, for all time.
Our Forgiving God loved so much that He gave His only Son as the sacrifice, not just for some, but for the “whole world” (v. 2). It is the exhaustive nature of the forgiving God! He forgives all sinners who come to Him in confession and repentance. Jesus offers full forgiveness because He died for all — for All!
— Nelson is pastor of Russellville Baptist Church, Russellville.