It is odd that a book that is usually the cornerstone of a doctrine of sinless perfection begins with an extended section on the nature of sin, which removes any doubt that we are sinners. I just finished preaching I John 1:5-2:2. Here are some thoughts from this great passage.
God’s character restricts who he fellowships with. God cannot have communion with darkness therefore we must be light (Ephesians 5:8) if we are to be in fellowship with God.
A man cannot be a Christian and live a life dominated by sin.
People can claim to be Christians and yet be lying. They are shown to be liars by their actions (walking in darkness) or by their theology (I am sinless). There is such a thing as a false profession.
When we have fellowship with God by walking in his ways we also have fellowship with other Christians. We cannot claim fellowship with God and live in bitterness and antagonism towards our fellow believers. Yet this does not mean that everyone who claims to be a Christian we must be in fellowship with. See point above.
A claim to be without sin is a declaration of insanity. Any man who believes this about himself is living in a fantasy land.
Few of us will say we are sinless. However, many of us function as if we are not sinners. When we are confronted with our sin our mouths drop open and we say, “Impossible!” So while theologically we may not claim to be sinless, practically we live as if we are.
The truth and God’s Word are equivalent (See also John 17:17). Notice this pattern
I John 1:6 We lie and do not practice the truth
I John 1:8 We deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us
I John 1:10 We make him a liar and his word is not in us
Truth is not just a person, Jesus Christ, nor simply a set of beliefs, though it is both of those. Truth is something we practice or do. True grasp of the truth produces actions formed by that truth.
Regular confession of sin is the antidote to an elevated view of our own holiness.
I John 1:9 is not an excuse to keep on sinning. Anyone who uses God’s mercy in forgiving sins as excuse to keep on sinning does not understand God’s mercy. (See also Psalm 130:4).
One goal of Christ’s death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and sending of His Spirit is so we might not sin. Jesus, John, Paul, and Peter all believe we can make substantial progress in holiness in this life. We can never be perfect. We just begin to obey in this life, but it is real Spirit fueled obedience that is conforming us to the image of Christ.
Jesus’ blood is the key to our forgiveness and cleansing. It is easy, much easier than we would like to admit, to forget the cross.
God is faithful to his promises to forgive our sins and make us clean. He has shown this faithfulness in the death of His Son.
Christ is our propitiation, a covering our for sins that turns God’s wrath away from us. Trying to remove God’s wrath from the equation is a compromise.
Jesus Christ is our ever present intercessor. This means we always need intercession. There is never a day when we don’t need Christ pleading before the Father on our behalf.
Our Intercessor is righteous. We can put complete faithfulness in our High Priest. He will never do us wrong.
I John 2:2 does not teach that Christ’s death on the cross was a covering for all the sins of all the men who ever lived. But it does teach that he covered our sins at the cross.