by Spiros ZodhiatesWalking in the Light-Part 4
Walking in the Light-Part 4
Editor's note: This concludes a four-part exposition of 1 John 1:5-8
"If we, however, should say that we absolutely have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth in no way is in us (1 John 1:8 a.t.).
For the third time eŠn, if, the suppositional conjunction of reality, is used (see vv. 6, 7). There are going to be believers who will claim sinlessness. Some who claim to have fellowship with God but walk or live in sin are called liars (v. 6). Those who claimed sinlessness were self-deceived, and the reality about their state did not conform to the truth. John does not deny the salvation of those who claim to be sinless, but he says that they are deluded insofar as their sinful nature is concerned (Rom. 7:20; 14:23; James 4:17). Those who walk in the light realize they need the continuous cleansing of Christ's blood (v. 7).
The word ale‚theia, truth, in the context of 1 John 1:8 must not be conceived of as being Christ Himself (John 14:6) but as reality in relation to facts (Mark 5:33; John 5:33). This is made clear by the use of the verb plano‚men, "deceive," the present indicative of planŠo, which literally means to wander like a planet. Metaphorically it means to mislead, err, or make the wrong judgment about a certain matter.
Christ's first message was metanoeŪte, repent, and pisteķete, believe, in the gospel (Mark 1:15). The tenses of both verbs are present imperatives, which means that the Christian life is an initial repentance and belief but it continues all the time. However, when Peter preached on the day of Pentecost, his message was metanoe‚sate (the aorist imperative) and baptisthe‚to , be baptized (Acts 2:38). This refers to that initial repentance and the baptism that is to follow it. Once this takes place, there is still need for continuing cleansing through repentance for our stumblings in the exercise of our faith.
1. There is no sin from which Christ's blood cannot cleanse. The only sin for which there is no cleansing is the sin against the Holy Spirit (Matt. 12:31, 32; Mark 3:28-30; Luke 12:10) since the Holy Spirit is the convicting power concerning sin (John 16:8, 9).
2. If we do not confess our sins, we are accountable for them before Christ's judgment seat (2 Cor. 5:10).
3. If we do confess our specific sins, He will not only forgive them (remove them), but He will also cleanse us of all unrighteousness; that is, He will not hold an injustice perpetrated by us against others (James 2:12, 13).
From The Epistles of John, (1994), AMG Publishers.