1 John #02 - Victory Over Sin
That Our Joy May Be Complete #02
1 John 2:1-6
Victory Over Sin
Remember that John is writing a letter to the church to address the error of the group called “Gnostics” who believed that they had special knowledge. But they didn’t have faith, they had a Philosophy.
John also is writing to help us understand to how to move from simply happiness to real joy
Folks, when we walk with Jesus, even when we are not happy with our situation or circumstances, we can still be filled with joy
Happiness is highly overrated.
Oh I like to be happy as much as the next person. But if we live our life just trying to be happy, we find that happiness is a fickle friend, but Joy Abideth.
Ask the Alcoholic that just wanted to feel good, or unwind, but finds themselves consumed and controlled.
Ask the drug addict who just was going to try some simple “recreational substance” and now is strung out on heroin, they were just trying to be happy, but happiness is fickle.
Ask the gambler who just wanted a little excitement and run, but after losing family, house, car, and fortune, he learns happiness is a fickle friend.
Ask the businessman or woman bent on climbing the career ladder. They will tell you that each rung of the ladder has a short happiness but happiness is a fickle friend.
Ask the Philanderer who sought a quick afternoon happiness and after the pleasures of sin for a season losing spouse and family learns that
happiness is a fickle friend
But JOY … joy is deeper, joy is fuller, joy is committed. Joy comes as we live according to what is considered NORMAL for the believer.
So, John begins his letter by laying out for us that we have a choice between walking in the darkness or the light.
God is light and and so sin is darkness
If darkness, then, is the absence of light, then sin is the absence of the rule of Christ in our lives.
John calls us then to surrender to the light.
We must remember as we read this letter that while there are universal truths in this letter, this letter IS written specifically to Christians, to the church.
John states very clearly that WE are prone to sin and sin is always a potential reality, as long as we are in this imperfect world.
Paul helps us understand the process we as children of God have gone through
Romans 7:5-6 For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death. 6 But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.
Romans 7:15 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me
Romans 7:20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
It IS a struggle we must battle. God told Cain about it in Genesis 4:7 sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it
That is the battle that goes on within us. Certainly as we gain victory it becomes easier but if you think you have mastered it, be careful that you don’t get knocked off your feet (1 Cor 10:12)
Sin is crouching at the door of your heart … but so is Our Savior, Jesus Christ
Jesus told the Christians at Laodicea – Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me (Rev 3:20)
He wants to fellowship with us and give us victory
We will find that John is very repetitive in this letter. We will hear the same themes repeated so read with me
So, how do we get victory over sin?
Last week I told you that we have recognize our sin and confess it … and that is certainly true in dealing with the sin we have already committed …
but in the battle against sin, in the struggle for victory, we must recognize …
1. We Do Not HAVE TO Sin
I think sometimes we forget that we DO have an option in regards to sin
Romans 6:6; 18-22
For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.
18You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. 19 I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness. 20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.
Romans 8:2 through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
Hebrews 9:15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.
Perhaps the most significant statement here is that Christ mediated for us a DIFFERENT agreement, a different covenant, than we had already.
If Jesus could not bring us something new, something that the old ways couldn’t bring us, then he would have wasted our time as well as his.
But he came to serve us.
If he couldn’t serve us what we needed then he would be a bad servant.
When we follow anything apart from Christ, we are still bound to sin.
But IN HIM we still may have the ability to sin, but we do not HAVE to sin.
It is not required of us
When someone dies they often leave a will, with provisions of inheritance.
Victory over sin is a provision in his will.
To us it is the inheritance that is OURS.
Hebrews 9 goes on to explain this and so in the death of Christ we are given Victory over sin
2 Corinthians 2:14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.
If Christ always leads us in a “triumphal procession” and yet we sometimes come short of victory … how can this be?
He at all times leads in triumph, SO if WE are not triumphant, then HE is NOT leading.
A “Triumphal process” was not a battle victory, but a parade after victory because the battle is won. So, it is that we WERE slaves who were BOUND to sin … but Jesus rescued and freed us.
So, are we going to tie OURSELVES back up to and be bound to sin while Christ is trying to show off our freedom in a victory parade?
When we follow him, when we live according to the terms of his will, then we CAN get victory because Jesus has made …
2. Provision For Sin 2:1b-2
John says “I am teaching you so you won’t sin … but IF you do”
That sounds familiar …
The night before Jesus was crucified, Peter professed his fidelity to Christ. Jesus, though, told him that he would deny him … Peter said “never” and Jesus said “well I’m praying that you don’t but when you do …”
Jesus makes provision for us …
In Christ we have
A. An Advocate
We have someone “who speaks in our defense”
The ESV, NASB, NLT, translate it “Advocate”
Parakletos (par-ak-lay-tos) helper, mediator, advocate, intercessor, one who pleads for another before a judge
Who is the one who is our Advocate? This same word is used elsewhere to talk about the Holy Spirit, but here it is JESUS Christ, the Righteous One
In this event HE ALONE is our Advocate, because He Alone lived in human form a Righteous Perfect One
I Want Victory over sin, and I am not able, so I NEED an Advocate who has done what I want to do
What does his name mean?
Jesus “Jehovah saves”
Christ – “Anointed One”
Righteous – dikaios = righteous, upright, just
John is encouraging those who come behind him to not give up in the battle with sin
John is like a mountain climbers’ guide who has climbed ahead and is shouting out instructions to the climbers behind.
Augustine, in referring to this passage says this is like a Doctor saying that you have a radical poison in your blood. It is hard to get it out, but keep taking the medicine and you WILL get better, so do not lose heart
2 Corinthians 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
We have Christ, a Righteous One, who
B. Pleads Our Case
Listen, it isn’t enough for us that Jesus himself was Righteous. He has always been righteous, but WE were still sinners
In order for him to plead our case, there must be a basis for his pleading. He had to Take our Place
He himself is our “atoning sacrifice”
“the sacrifice that atone” NLT
“the propitiation” ESV
Hilasmos – an appeasing, propitiating, expiation, way of reconciling, means of forgiveness
Jesus Christ took our place to give us VICTORY over sin … the question is not CAN we have victory, it is WILL we take advantage and avail ourselves of the victory provided for us by Christ at the cross?
Jesus Christ pleads our case before the Father on the basis of WHO HE IS, not on who WE are.
Oh, most defense lawyers do one of two things: they either defend on the basis of the innocence of the accused, OR they tell the judge how sorry their client is and ask for mercy and leniency
But JESUS takes a radical legal maneuver … He says “yes they ARE guilty, and yes a price must be paid … but he says “I have already served their sentence for the crime”
And let me give someone good news today. If you have yet to come to Christ … Christ will not run out of atonement for you today. You will not come to him and find him to say “oh I’m sorry, I only paid for a certain number of people and there is no room for you”
No, he had made atonement, John teaches, Jesus has made atonement for the sins of everyone of us, that is the Christians John is writing to, but there is room for you too.
If you will come to him v 2 says he made sacrifice for all our sins AND NOT ONLY ours but for the whole world
You do not have to wonder if Victory is available … IT IS
It is available on the basis of the sacrifice of Christ at the Cross, because he has gotten victory over the punishment of sin and he has also gotten victory over the power of sin over us in the day to day.
And because Jesus is Righteous, he can transmit his righteousness to us when we surrender to him
But before we move on, we must address the provision Christ on a Salvific level and on a Christian living level.
In regards to salvation, and on Christian Living; provision doesn’t necessarily mean application and personal experience
John clearly teaches that Christ provided for John and other believers, in the same way he provides for the whole world
It says “but also for” meaning “certainly, also, concerning”
And “whole world” meaning “complete, all people”
Yes he provided for the whole world but that doesn’t mean the whole world will experience it.
It would be like Warren Buffet opening an account and dumping enough money in it to pay the tax debt of every person in America. But if he makes the provision that the money is there, but each person is required to personally receive the payment and become his child. Only those who follow the provision will experience the application
We know that Ephesians 2:8 says that we are savedby Grace THOUGH FAITH …
So for us, the provision is made but we must exercise faith as empowered by the Spirit for Salvation.
Then in our Christian living, those of us who are his followers by faith, Christ has also WITH our salvation provided victory over every sin that presents itself, if we will walk in faith in the victory provided
And so salvation and victorious living is as WIDE as ANY who would believe and
as Exclusive as ONLY those who actually WALK in belief
So, I do NOT have to sin
And If Jesus has made provision FOR my Victory … what Drives us to Victory over sin?
LOVE … that’s right Walking like Jesus, Walking in Obedience is a Love issue
3. Obedience Powered / Fueled by Love vv3-6
Some, who either don’t know Christ, or who don’t understand how wonderful our salvation and how great our Savior are have argued … “well if we can just sin and Jesus will always forgive, then we should just sin all the more right?”
Paul understood this misunderstanding
Romans 6:1-2 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?
Remember v 16 of Romans 6 says we are slaves to the one we obey … so will we be slaves to sin which seeks to destroy us and truly hates us … or will we be slaves to Christ who loved us and gave himself FOR us?
I hate when I see a man giving another man a hard time when they take into consideration the desires of their wife? “I have to check with my wife”
Sometimes they will tease, “she’s got you on a short leash” … “I won’t let my wife run me like that”
It’s not necessarily a short leash but evidence that this man cares for and loves his wife deeply and so he wants to please her. And that desire drives him to walk in a different way and those men usually have victorious marriages too.
Victory comes as I WANT to Obey Christ because I LOVE him. I don’t HAVE to obey him in HOPE that he will keep on loving me and let me keep my salvation.
No, my Obedience leading to Victory is not FOR LOVE it is
A. Evidence of Love
“we know that we have come to know”
This isn’t head knowledge but experiential knowledge
These are two forms of the same word
“we know” – ginoskomen =
“we have come to know” – egnokamen = this knowledge comes by WALKING in Obedience
Coming to Christ in a moment in time in the past is evidenced by my knowing him NOW through the experience of obedience driven by love and that is VICTORY
Why do I try to please my wife? Why do I call her, text her, let her know where I am? Because I LOVE her …
My Love evidenced by my actions is why we are walking in victory in our marriage
And so, why do I want to obey Christ and Follow him in Victory? It is because I love him and am loved by him
LOVE fuels Obedience which results in VICTORY!
Obedience is the word “tereo” = guarding, keeping commands
Obedience is evidence of LOVE
Isn’t Love the greatest power for victory and transformation in the world today
You remember that these Gnostics loved to talk about what they KNOW …
But John the Beloved Pastor was saying “don’t tell me what you know, show me”
Our love is made visible by our obedience to his commands and not just the letter of the law.
John uses a different word here for commands …
He isn’t just talking about “checking a box” … John doesn’t use the word nomos which he uses in his writings to refer to The Law in its specific statutes i.e. the 10 commandments.
No, John uses the word entole which means the precept or principle, the counsel, the fullness of the command.
John is teaching us that
Love demands a deeper action
that is wider and higher in action that simple obedience to the letter of the law but continues to a larger degree show the depth of our love
Love propels us to Victory over sin, it is …
B. Evidenced by Living Like Him
What does Ephesians 5:1 says “be imitators of God … as dearly loved Children”
And so in the previous chapter of our letter verse 7 says if we WALK in the Light AS Jesus is in the light, the blood of Jesus purifies us from sin
There is an interesting correlation here
Salvation is a complete thing.
- Salvation is a PAST action
- Salvation is a PRESENT reality
- And Salvation is a PROMISED future
I AM saved from the penalty of sin at a moment in time when I appropriated the provision of Christ at the cross
I am then saved from the power of sin every time I submit to Christ in loving obedience.
And I WILL be saved from the presence of sin for eternity in the future when I am finally in God’s presence whether by death or by the second coming of Christ.
So then, though I am purified from the penalty of sin and declared righteous in Christ, when I do not surrender to Christ daily, I get stained in my human experience by the effects of sin.
However, when I walk by faith, love, and obedience in the precepts of Christ, I am continually cleansed from the stain of sin on my life.
And to strengthen his case in v2:6 by saying “whoever claims to live in Christ must walk as Jesus did”
/“to live” – meno = to remain, exist, stay
“to live in Christ”/
“MUST” – opheilo = indebted, ought
“walk” – perpateo = behave, go about
“as” – kathos = to the degree
If I say I am alive in Christ and by Christ, then I am indebted and so ought to behave to the degree that Jesus did
How do I walk like Jesus?
Well, in order to get Victory, I have to take my eyes off of you or another believer and set my eyes and my heart on walking like Jesus would walk
What Would Jesus Do isn’t just a slogan on a wristband, or even a book written 115 years ago by Charles Sheldon.
What would Jesus do is a principle for VICTORY over sin and a Display of Love
Because I love Jesus ...
Because I recognize that he sacrificed himself to provide all that I need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3) ...
Because I know I won’t be judged against you ...
I want to go about, to behave, in the manner of Christ
The Path for Victory over Sin is to
- First Receive the gift of salvation through the cross of Christ
- Then Recognize that this salvation is effective also for the struggles I face today
- Then Reset my focus on Christ as the object of my affection and set my heart to walk in his ways and choose to take his ways and follow his leading
We say worship is an “expression of adoration to the object of our affection”
so if you imitate Jesus walking like he walks you are worshipping him
And while I am worshipping him by following his leading, I look up and look around and realize, that I am already in a Victory Parade
1) The Gnostics think it is in knowledge that they gain anything … but we can learn something here
A little boy the son of a pastor asked his Daddy what was the difference between the Angel orders of Cherubim and Seraphim. The pastor said that Cherubim came from Hebrew word for knowledge, while Seraphim from the word for a burning fire. He explained then that we suppose that Cherubim were angels of knowledge while Seraphim were angels who burned with Love for God. The Little boys told his Pastor Father, “Daddy, I’d rather be a seraphim. I would rather love God than know everything.”
2) The Artist Gustave Doré was finishing up a painting of Jesus. A friend was watching with great anticipation. The friend said “Monsieur Doré you must love him very much to be able to paint him like this.”
“Love Him, madam?” exclaimed Dore, “I DO love him, BUT if I love him BETTER I would paint him better!”
Oh if we love him more
We would obey
If we love him more
We would serve
If we love him more
We would tell
If we love him more
In obedient, gospel proclaiming, service