Sin and the Christian
1 John 2:1-2
Preached in Southbridge on 5/25/08
Sin has been around for a long time, almost from the beginning of human history. Adam and Eve had a few hours anyway. In our world today it has become common place to see people sinning and not calling it sin. We call it alternative lifestyle or preference or we just accept it and never think twice about it. Getting drunk is a socially acceptable sin in most circles. I hear all the time at work how people went out the night before and drank till they could no longer walk or how they plan to go out tonight and get “smashed”. We have gay “marriage” and Gay TV shows and so we have gotten to the point where most don’t see the sin. We have people who get married on a whim and then just as quickly they are divorced for no reason or they have adulterous relationships and say things like I’m in love with this new person but no longer in love with my husband or wife. These and other sins have become common place and most people don’t even notice them. Filthy speech and swearing is another sin that is considered acceptable in the world.
2) Don’t Sin
So when people come out of the world today and receive Christ we often have habits that are left over’s from this world, some socially acceptable sins as well as sins that are unacceptable. But John says to the Christians of his day “I write these things to you so that you may not sin.”
i. Sin is wickedness, rebellion, and evil. Sin leads to hurt lives and eventually to death and separation from God. Paul said that the wages of sin is death. Sin is serious and not to be played around with. Sin is never acceptable in God’s sight and John is encouraging these Christians not to sin.
ii. John was concerned about the Christians of his day either falling back into old patterns of habit, old sinful ways, or even falling into new sins like what the Gnostic teachers were doing, that is living like the body and the soul were separate from one another and one could sin without affecting his soul.
iii. The encouragement not to sin is not only something John writes about, others like Paul also discussed putting away sin and sinful behaviors. Jesus often healed people and told them to sin no more. Jesus one time was brought a woman who was supposedly caught in the act of adultery and after the crowd left he told he to sin no more.
iv. Paul says in Ephesians 4:25-31:
1. ESV Ephesians 4:25 ¶ Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
v. He is saying don’t sin any longer, put it away. James says something similar in James 1:21:
1. ESV James 1:21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
vi. Peter likewise says the same thing. We are encouraged to put away or stop sinning. As Christians we can make excuses for ourselves and others for why we sin but the fact is we are not to sin, we are to put it away and to walk in the righteousness.
3) We have an Advocate
John says in 1 John 2:1-2 I am writing these things that you may not sin “But”. But if anyone does sin. Wait John didn’t you just say we are not to go on sinning? Now you add a “But”. But if anyone does sin we have an advocate with the father Jesus Christ the righteous.
a. The simple fact of the matter is this, God demands perfection, the disciples of Christ, his apostles encourage that we put away all sin, but we have been so trained and we have been involved in and seen sin all around us and for all our lives it has been second nature to us. We sin even as Christians and don’t even realize it sometimes and other times we sin and know beforehand we are going to sin.
b. How do we harmonize this? God is never happy with sin, God does not tolerate sin, and we are never to be satisfied with sin in our lives and sin in the world. Sin is not something we should take lightly because God doesn’t take sin lightly. But the difference between a Christian and someone in the world is that the Christian has given his life over to God and wants his will and life changed to God’s will. But the old influences and the old habits and sometimes new sins come in and we end up committing sins.
i. Are we now lost all over again if we do fall into sin? No, John says don’t sin, sin leads to death, God hates sin, “But” if you sin we Christians have an advocate with the father Jesus Christ the righteous.
1. The word advocate means one called in to support “pleader” “a friend of the accused person, called to enlist sympathy of the judges”. Helper, intercessor. It means to call to ones side. In Africa they have a saying and Advocate is “the one who falls down beside us” that is to say, an individual who finds a person collapsed along the road, knells down beside the victim, cares for his needs and carries him to safety, reminds us of the Good Samaritan parable. What a wonderful image that gives us and it is what Jesus does for us, but he is our helper or our advocate to the Father. An Advocate is one who pleads the case of another. Jesus the righteous, the only man in history to be perfect, righteous in everyway is now my advocate, pleading my case before the father.
2. The world has no advocate because they are relying on themselves they either reject Christ or they have not come to him for whatever reason but the Christian has one who stands before the Father in heaven on our behalf.
3. This in no way says sin is ok or not that bad, no, sin nailed the sinless one to the Cross, God in the flesh hung on a tree because of sin. Make no mistake sin is wickedness, sin is evil, sin hurts, sin kills, sin is rebellion and God will not tolerate sin.
c. The admonition to put away all sin still stands. We as Christians should not become desensitized to sin in our lives because that leads to a slipper slop of increased sin eventually we are no longer walking in the light but in the darkness and headed for eternal punishment.
d. But as we walk in the light of Christ wanting our will to be his, when we do sin, we go to Jesus our helper, or advocate, the one who knells down beside us and cares for us and brings us to safety and he cleanses us from all sin.
4) He is our Propitiation
John says he is our “propitiation” for sins. This word means “atoning sacrifice”, a covering, a satisfaction. Jesus is our advocate and our sacrifice.
1. God accepts Jesus’ death:
a. As the sacrifice for our sins
i. Under the Old Testament system if fellowship with God was broken a person would offer the sin sacrifice. They prepared the sacrifice and themselves and then would lay their hands on it and confess their sins and then the sacrifice was offered and fellowship was restored with God. Jesus is our sin offering.
b. As the covering for our sins
i. You remember when Adam and Eve sinned in the garden it was God who clothed them in skins. We are clothed in Christ, he is our covering.
c. As the satisfaction for our sins
d. As the payment for the penalty of our sins
i. Justice demands sin be paid for. The wages of sin is death. Jesus paid that debt for us.
e. As the appeasement of his wrath against sin
i. Sin causes God’s wrath to breakout. Jesus’ sacrifice has appeased God’s wrath against us.
ii. Jesus is the one who offers the sacrifice and is the sacrifice.
b. Jesus purifies us and cleanses us from all unrighteousness.
c. We need to fight against sin no matter where we find it, we are never to allow it to reign in our lives, but when the sin does come we don’t throw up our hands and give up, or go on sinning, we go to our advocate, the one who is our sacrifice and we leave it with him. Then we continue walking in the light. Allowing our minds and our will to be transformed and become more and more like that of our great God and savior Jesus Christ.
5) The sacrifice for the world
The last thing John says in this verse is “He is our sin sacrifice but not ours only but also for the sins of the whole world”.
1. We are not an exclusive group that only a few hopefuls can ever make it into, no, the offer is for all, men and women, the whole world can, if they chose, give their lives to him. One of the most precious truths is that Jesus died for sinners.
a. Sin is wickedness and needs to be put off
b. If we sin we have one who pleads our case before the Father
c. When we sin we have a sacrifice who takes away sin, Jesus Christ the righteous
d. And anyone can come and find peace in him
i. I want to encourage you to fight the good fight, don’t allow sin to reign in your life.
ii. I want to encourage you Christians to go to Jesus when you do sin and to leave it with him knowing it’s dealt with.
iii. I want to encourage you who have not come to Christ to come and find peace for your souls in him.