Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Announcing Good News

Here are my thoughts this morning on a most-debated, good news passage.

“If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.” 1 John 1:8-10 (NAS)

My take on this passage is that John is juxtaposing Christians and non-Christians. In verse 8, he writes of a person in whom there is no truth. That cannot be a Christian, especially since Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). He, THE TRUTH, is in Christians. In verse 9, he writes of all Christians who have been forgiven and cleansed from everything contrary to God, in whom we now live and who now lives in us. That has all happened already for always, and all of our sins He “remembers no more” (See Hebrews 8:12 and 10:17). In verse 10, John writes again about the non-Christian, in whom THE WORD, who is Jesus (See John 1:1 and 14,) does not live.

These are my thoughts, and I hope this helps.


  1. Mary Villanueva10:44 AM

    You know what's been bothering me lately, Ralph? It's the fact that the apostles did not write the gospels themselves so ... I'm not trying to throw more gas in the fire; I'm just commenting that this bothers me.

  2. I'm not sure what you mean, Mary. There is ample evidence that the apostles, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John did write their respective gospel.

  3. John P. Cwynar11:09 AM

    Ralph... read 1:9 again with "to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us" as the aorist infinitives they are written in. There is no present forgiving or cleansing... it's all a past work. Hence, as the believer encounters his own acts of sin in the present & confesses, God reminds him of His faithfulness to the finished work of Jesus. Present sin was already cleansed & forgiven at the cross.

    I believe the purpose of 1:9,10 is to encourage believers to face the present paradoxical reality / unreality of sin based on Jesus finished work. Just my humble (YET INSPIRED) view...:)))

  4. That's terrific, John. Spot-on, man!

  5. Gloria Torres11:19 AM

    Hi Ralph, I totally agree with your analysis - John is saying that we all have sinned, but that there is One who is gracious to forgive sin, if we repent and turn to Him. Later on he talks about those who "keep on sinning" (1 John 3:6) as unbelievers. The whole book is a test for those who claim to know Christ to see if they truly have believed.

  6. Mary Villanueva11:39 AM

    ‎@Gloria T: It's a "test"? Why?

  7. Gloria Torres11:39 AM

    A test because John keeps saying: "if you say" (i.e. claim) A, then B should be obvious in your lives. I give you an example: "If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin." 1 John 1:6-7.
    As grace (i.e. unmerited favor) is the basis of our relationship with the Lord, and there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, then you need to make sure of only one thing, that you ARE in Christ Jesus. How do you know that? John tells you. If you feel you fall short sometimes, it's OK, I believe he is talking more about a lifestyle than a perfect walk with the Lord. But you know your own heart.

  8. And, Mary, you've been drawn by God and you know it. You have a fascination with Him, as well as a conflict with what you don't yet know or with what might be tangling you now. Hooray! There's the evidence that He has drawn you and brought into Himself.

  9. Mary Villanueva11:40 AM

    LOL! Ok, Ralph. :)

  10. Gloria Torres11:41 AM

    You are right to laugh - it IS something to rejoice about!

  11. Barry Felis3:05 PM

    It was not until I came to that reality that I was in bondage to my own obsession with confession. I was going postal when I was shown the truth of the past finished work of Jesus. Forgiven forever now I can breath in in the goodness of God and His option of me. Other's options of me really don't matter anymore. "Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty I'm free at last!"

  12. Lion Heart3:05 PM

    Thanks Ralph, I read something like this recently but good to read again. I hate how the institution has oft used this verse as a "better fess up if you screw up or you'll go to hell after all."

  13. Melissa Cantu3:05 PM

    Yet even as i understand and believe what you have explained, i still find it difficult to explain it to others and there fore it is difficult for others to understand. explaining this new found understanding of grace (to friends) i've been learning has become the passionate frustration i face. especially b/c i know and have been taught the same things my friends are being taught about living in effort to please God. i have trouble not reverting to my old understanding and i have trouble disputing it. even if i quote scripture, it then becomes a battle of whose interpretation of scripture is correct and a battle of "semantics" rather than a teaching of the truth. at which point i end up giving up. it's a funny thing though... when i was a new believer a long time ago i was young and enthusiastic and full of bold energy to tell everyone everything i learned about Jesus. back then i encountered much of the same resistance i am encountering now. so it seems a cycle, but i think it has opened my eyes to ask myself why. why am i doing this? why am i trying to teach my other Christian friends the truth about grace? then a cynical part of me wants to say why bother b/c it won't change their views anyway?

    such a hard place to be in. to know the truth, to want to tell others, yet to constantly be faced with a battle of intellect.

  14. Gloria Torres3:06 PM

    Hi Melissa - you are right, but I believe that the Lord is calling to a new awakening to grace. I am reading a wonderful book on the subject right now called "The Grace Awakening" by Charles Swindoll - I highly recommend it.

  15. Melissa Cantu3:06 PM

    the other thing i have noticed is that this "battle of intellect" has led to me being a bit more argumentative with everything my friend talks about... i often see legalism and religious thinking almost tainting what my friend says about all things and it's frustrating to say the least. i don't want to be argumentative...

  16. Sue Humphreys Thompson3:06 PM

    If "the truth is not in us" (v. 8) is referring to those who are not His, then wouldn't the logical conclusion be: "If the truth is in us, we will not claim to be without sin"? And in chap. 2, v 1, who, then, are the "dear children" to whom John is writing so that they will not sin, but if they do, they have an advocate?

  17. Gloria Torres3:07 PM

    Being argumentative defeats a little the purpose of you preaching upon grace, don't you think ;)? But I understand, I also want the truth to be known, as I believe it would set them free. Just tell them - gracefully (!) and then pray for them. It took me a couple of years to fully understand grace, maybe you can relate.

  18. Melissa Cantu3:07 PM

    Yes, the whole not being argumentative is what other wiser Christians told me as a young believer as well as others who were also older and wiser telling me to argue everything in effort to help them see where they are wrong. lol, such confusion! i am the type to be more argumentative about things naturally. i also took a while to understand how to just let people believe what they want, live out my life in Christ and wait for them to ask about Him. but i hate doing that cause i'm not sure anyone cares to ask...

  19. Gloria Torres3:07 PM

    They will ask if they see it reflected in your life, and I am sure they do, even if they don't always admit it. Just be patient and pray for your friends. God bless you, Melissa.

  20. Melissa Cantu3:08 PM

    hee hee yes patience!! how hard that is to have!! :) thanks

  21. Sue--I am sporadically available today, so bear with me.

    If the Truth is in us, then at one time we DID acknowledge our sin when we had it, but now we no longer have it—Jesus does and He did something eternal with it. If now I sin (1 John 2:1), Jesus is the sacrifice already (2:2), and there is now no sacrifice needed.

    Some believe that there is no longer sin at all, and they have good reasons. I’m not there. Jesus died for sin, once and for all, but our behavior can still be sinful, so He is our advocate and sacrifice.

  22. Lion Heart One3:08 PM

    Thing that worries me is how certain passages in the NT like these in 1 John, have well-meaning believers in a perpetual state of anxiety, constantly micro-examining themselves for sin and for feeling that they never love God enough. I used to be one of these people.

  23. Gloria Torres3:09 PM

    If I may say, that is because of "ignorance" as in "lack of knowledge". I say this because, if you look at the original Greek language and grammar - as someone here did - you will see that "keep on sinning" refers to habitual sin and lack of repentance about such sin. Which is indicative of an un-regenerated heart. The mark of the believer is that he/she repented at salvation and keeps repenting today.