1 JOHN 1:6,8,10 THE TEST OF OBEDIENCE

2May

The first two chapters deal with fellowship, and in them, John gives us the three tests of true fellowship. Note the contrast between saying and doing: “If we say...‘‘ (1:6, 8, 10; 2:4, 6). Too many times we are better at the “talk” than we are at the “walk”! In 1:1-4, John introduces his theme: Christ the Word who has revealed the Father. (See 1:1-14.) He explains that when Christ was here on earth, He was a real Person, not a phantom, and that He had a real body (Luke 24:39). The false teachers of John’s day were denying that Jesus had come in the flesh. If we do not have a real Christ, how can we have real forgiveness of sin? John is being a witness by telling what he had seen and heard (Acts 4:20). He explains that Christ was manifested to reveal God and to make possible our fellowship with Him. See also 3:5, 8, and 4:9 for other reasons why Christ came.

None of the other biblical writers tells us so much about what God really is as does the apostle John. All of them tell what he does. Some describe the glory that surrounds him. But John tells what God is in his true nature. He does this in three striking definitions: God is spirit (John 4:24), God is light (1 John 1:5), and God is love (1 John 4:8). It is a characteristic of these three definitions that the predicates occur without the definite article. We are told, then, not that God is the Spirit, the light, and the love or even, in all probability, a spirit, a light, and a love, but rather spirit, light, and love themselves. In this we have the broadest and most comprehensive definition of God that can probably be devised in human language.[1]

1John 3:4 Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.

1Jo 5:17 All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death.

Sin is anything that displeases God, the breaking of His commandments.

  1. The Test of Obedience (1:5-2:2)

1Jo 1:5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.

John introduces us to the image of light (John 1:5). God is light, and Satan is the prince of darkness Lu 22:53 "When I was with you daily in the temple, you did not try to seize Me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.".

1John 1:5 tells us that the message the disciples heard from Jesus and that they are declaring to us is that God is light and in Him is found no darkness at all.  In the Bible light speaks of truth on an intellectual level and righteousness on a moral level.  Darkness on the other hand speaks of falsehood and sin.  This means that God is perfectly holy and is the only source of real truth.  It also means that He will never lie or do anything wrong.  In a day of whatever feels good do it, God sets a standard that we can never meet on our own.  This means that we can only approach God through the person of Jesus Christ. 

He is holy and the source of all good. Boice

John 8:12 “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.’”

2 Cor. 5:21 “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

Pilate, I find no fault in him

Consequently, when he says that God is light, he immediately denies that God is darkness. God is good; therefore, God is not bad. God is holy; so he is not sinful. Men may mix the two, as in many of the Eastern religions, in which all things, good and bad, unite in the One. But this is not John’s teaching, nor that of the Bible as a whole. In this viewpoint God emerges as that which is totally holy and therefore is totally opposed to all that is sinful and false. It follows from this that men must be holy if they are to have fellowship with him, as John now shows. Boice

To obey Him is to walk in the light; to disobey is to walk in darkness. Keep in mind that fellowship is a matter of light and darkness; sonship is a matter of life and death (3:4; 5:11-12). John points out that it is possible for people to say they are in the light, yet actually live in darkness. Note the “liars” here:

Notice that in all three cases it is the absence of the truth that is the issue. End of verse 6, they don’t practice the truth. End of verse 8, the truth is not in us. End of verse 10, His Word is not in us. This is speaking of gospel truth, saving truth. Nobody is saved, nobody is regenerated, nobody participates in salvation apart from the truth.

  • lying about fellowship, 1:6-7;

6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.

Today there are many people who say they are Christians, they trust in Jesus and they are going to heaven, yet they still live in sin and do not intend to change.  This verse says that a person that says he knows Jesus, but still habitually lives in sin is a liar and does not live according to the truth of the Bible.  The bottom line is that if you live that way, you have not been saved, and you will not go to heaven.

Proverbs 28:13 says, “He that covers his sins shall not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them shall have mercy.”

Psalm 51:4, looking to God he says, “Against thee, thee only have I sinned and done this evil in thy sight.”

So, the people who say you can be saved and live anyway you want have never been saved and will never make it to heaven.

The practice of concealing is a very refined art form among unbelievers. The practice of concealing sin, of covering sin, of redefining sin is characteristic of people who don’t know God, who, to borrow the language of John, are not in the fellowship. But that’s what they do, they cover and they conceal. Christians, on the other hand, are people who confess.

Here, to “walk in the darkness” means to sin habitually, the contrast being, not a sinless life (for John teaches that everyone sins, v. 8), but a progressive growth in godliness. Boice

But we must not miss the fact that his rebuke applies to anyone who claims to know God while at the same time treats either sin or the need for establishing and maintaining a moral life lightly. [2]

The first man said, “Sin, what’s that?” The second man said, “Sin? Oh, I don’t do that anymore.” Third man said, “Yes, there’s sin, I’ve never sinned.” He claims he’s never sinned. If we say we have not sinned, never, we have a problem here. It’s evident that you don’t know the truth. You don’t know the truth about the gospel and you don’t know the truth about sin. And they go together.

Col. 1:13 “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”

Eph. 5:11 “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.”

John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life.” If you say that you have fellowship with Him but you walk in the darkness, it’s a lie.

In verse 6, “They say they have fellowship with God, but they walk in darkness.” And so the first word that describes them is “darkness.” There is the absence of eternal life, characterized by the love of truth and the love of holiness.

  • lying about our nature, saying that we have no sin, 1:8;

1Jo 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

Gal. 6:3 “For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.”

2 Chronicles 6:36 says there’s no man that doesn’t sin - no one - perfectionists included. John 8: Slave to sin, Romans 6

Now the man in verse 8, the if-we sayer there, he’s not confessing because he thinks he’s reached a state where he has no sin. If we say we have no sin, he recognizes that sin exists, he just doesn’t have any. So there’s really no sin for him to be concerned about. If he did have any sin, it was in the past. He’s reached an elevated position of enlightenment, which is what the Gnostics came to be known as, those who had ascended to the higher knowledge, and this group of people John is dealing with here were pre-Gnostic in their thinking.

Verse 8, “If we say we have no sins, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.” This is really worse in some ways than the first claim. The first people sort of redefined life without sin. 

This is in some ways worse. This is someone who says, “Well, it does exist, but it doesn’t touch me.” This is a step up from the level of pride of the people in verse 6. This is the person who says, “I don’t have any sin, it’s not a part of my life.” The first category of people may have felt that sin was there, but only in the physical, this person says I don’t have any sin - no sin.

James 1:22, being doers of the Word.

  • lying about our deeds, saying that we have not sinned, 1:10;

1John 1:10 says If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. 

 has a reason to repeat these things. There are some people who just redefine sin and say it’s the light when it’s the darkness, there are some people who think they’ve reached the point of enlightenment where they don’t sin, and then there are some people who think they’ve never sinned. And if you say you’ve never sinned, you just made God a liar. Why? Because God says all Sin

Many people think they have never done anything wrong, or at least nothing that would send them to hell. James 4:17 says Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin. We live in a day of tolerance that defines sin, as what we think is right or wrong, but the Bible is our standard.  If we realize we are not good enough on our own to get into heaven we can trust Jesus Christ and God will save us. Otherwise we are calling God a liar and rejecting His Holy Bible.

I remember I was talking to a woman about Christ and she told me she never sinned.  I told her the Bible says in Romans 3:23 we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God.  But she had been deceived and thought she had no need of Christ since she was not a sinner.  How about you?  Do you think you are good enough to get to heaven on your own?  Romans 6:23 says the wages of sin are death, but the gift of God is eternal life.  You need to ask God to forgive you and save you because Jesus died on the cross for your sins, that’s the only way to get to Heaven.

John 12:50 "And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak."

Ps. 14:2–3 The Lord has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men

To see if there are any who understand,

Who seek after God.

    3            They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt;

There is no one who does good, not even one.

How does God provide for the sins of the saints? Through the heavenly ministry of Christ. We are saved from the penalty of sin by His death (Rom. 5:6-9), and we are saved daily from the power of sin by His life (Rom. 5:10). The word “advocate” means “one who pleads a case” and is the same Gk. word as “Comforter” in John 14:16.

Ro 14:23 “But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.”

First, If God’s light is really shining on us, we will rather say, as did Isaiah, “Woe to me! I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty!” (Isa. 6:5); or with Peter, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man” (Luke 5:8); or with Paul, “I am the worst [of sinners]” (1 Tim. 1:15). Boice

Second, if God is our light and if we walk in the light, we will be growing spiritually. The Bible will be becoming more precious, for God is revealed in it. We will love godliness. And we will be finding fellowship with God’s people more and more delightful and valuable.

Finally, we will also be finding it increasingly desirable to serve the Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed, we will yearn to serve him, for we will know him more and more as the one who brought us out of the bondage of our darkness into his marvelous light. Wesley wrote of this desire:

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,

Fast bound in sin and nature’s night:

Thine eye diffused a quickening ray,

I woke, the dungeon flamed with light:

My chains fell off, my heart was free,

I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

To follow Christ is the natural desire of the one whose life has been illuminated by him. Boice

Mark 8:36 "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. Have you trusted Him as your Savior? He can Save you if You ask Him based on His death, burial, and resurrection for your sins. Believe in Him for forgiveness of your sins today.

“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”  -John 8:32

Our mission is to spread the gospel and to go to the least of these with the life-changing message of Jesus Christ; We reach out to those the World has forgotten. 

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The world is trying to solve earthly problems that can only be solved with heavenly solutions

[1] Boice, J. M. (2004). The Epistles of John: an expositional commentary (p. 28). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[2] Boice, J. M. (2004). The Epistles of John: an expositional commentary (p. 31). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

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