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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : 1 John 1:8

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jlosinski
Member



Joined: 2006/9/11
Posts: 294
North Pole, Alaska

 1 John 1:8

I'd like some insight on this passage, I've recently been asked to teach our churches electives class, which is open to anyone who would like to attend. We are going to start studying 1 John and this verse has been stuck in my craw for a couple weeks now, as there are several of the Wesleyian/Arminian persuasion in my class, and others who are not.

According to Wesley, this verse is referring to an unsaved person who claims to have no sin; while others claim that this verse is warning against self-righteousness and claims of moral perfection in a Christian. I'd love some feedback on how you all interpret this verse. Thanks,
Joe

 2009/3/5 18:10Profile
TaylorOtwell
Member



Joined: 2006/6/19
Posts: 927
Arkansas

 Re: 1 John 1:8

It will be helpful to read through the section ignoring the chapter and verse distinctions...

But if [b]we[/b] walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If [b]we[/b] say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If [b]we[/b] confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If [b]we[/b] say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, [b]we have an advocate with the Father[/b], Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the [b]propitiation for our sins[/b]: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

Notice how the "we" is used consistently throughout the passage. Then, John writes that "we" have an advocate with the Father, and that Christ is the propitiation for "our" sins. Also, notice it is the same "we" who is possible claiming to have no sin. Therefore, I submit that it is not an unbeliever John has in mind in verse 8, because he applies spiritual realities to this individual that an unsaved person does not have.

However, we also have to consider the whole counsel of God. Our Lord gave his disciples a daily prayer "give us this day our [b]daily[/b] bread"... In that prayer, he taught us to ask for the forgiveness of our trespasses (daily). Therefore, we can conclude that sanctification will be an ongoing process during our pilgrimmage on this earth.

With care in Christ,
Taylor


_________________
Taylor Otwell

 2009/3/5 18:22Profile
jlosinski
Member



Joined: 2006/9/11
Posts: 294
North Pole, Alaska

 Re:

Hi Taylor,
Could these verses not be referring to the salvation of an unbeliever, since it says

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

 2009/3/5 19:01Profile
TaylorOtwell
Member



Joined: 2006/6/19
Posts: 927
Arkansas

 Re:

Well...

Examining the scope of John's letter - it seems he was at least writing to [b]professing[/b] believers. He goes on to discuss various signs that someone is indeed a genuine follower of Christ. So, it honestly may be hard to establish if who he is talking to is indeed a believer (John himself could not see into men's hearts). As I said, I think he is addressing them as professing believers, perhaps with a gracious attitude in accepting their profession, but exhorting them with several signs of true belief. At the very least, in my understanding, John is writing to professing believers. I think that is obvious from the letter, and the fact that Apostles did not write letters to people who were openly unbelieving.

The Arminian/Wesleyan view is probably quick to claim that this is definitely an unbeliever, because they feel that a Christian could use this as an excuse for sin. I think you will find it is dangerous to establish beliefs in this manner (by reacting to a perceived danger in the belief). This has been done with a number of other doctrines, particularly those of Calvinistic nature (I'm assuming we're all mature here, and that I can use the word Calvinist for distinctions sake). For instance, let's use predestination/election for example, you will often find people saying "well then we would all be robots!", then completely deny predestination. They are denying a teaching because they have a preconceived idea of the results and realities of the teaching which are incorrect. I believe you may often find the same thing occuring with this issue - "well then we could all just live in sin!". Of course, Paul received the same question (Romans 6).

We just have to examine the scope of Biblical revelation (as I mentioned with the Lord's prayer). If we do, I believe we will find that sanctification is progressive throughout the life of the believer. This sanctification is worked by the Spirit of God through the means of Word, sacrament, prayer, fellowship, etc.

With care in Christ,
Taylor


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Taylor Otwell

 2009/3/5 19:41Profile
MattChenier
Member



Joined: 2006/11/13
Posts: 121
Longview,WA

 Re:

The idea that a born again Christian is doomed to everyday sinfulness is nothing but a teaching and bondage of the law. Christ has made us FREE from sin and we no long have to sin. We are supposed to be DEAD to sin and live NO longer therein. In the first vs of 1 John 2 it says IF any man sin. Not when you sin, but IF you sin. How shall we that are dead to sin continue any longer therein? GOD FORBID! The entire chapter of Romans 6 deals with this topic.

The idea of grace being an "umbrella" of God's love in which we our sins are "covered" by the blood of the lamb is inaccurate. This is what the law is. The law is the blood of animals which covers our sinfulness so that the Jews could be accepted of God. God looked at the Jews through the blood of animals and didn't see their sinfulness. This is the law. But grace is when you are dead with Christ and you no longer live. You are not merely a "covered" or "excused" person but a NEW person in which sin has no power and should therefore have no presence. IF any man sin we have an advocate. Remember, not when, but IF. Grace is when the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ destroys the old man and we are a new person without bondage to sin.

When we make continue in sin we make the blood of Jesus as though it were the blood of an animal and trample it under our feet. How much sorer punishment do you suppose we will receive for this?

The covenant of grace involves higher power, higher standards, and higher consequences. If you are constantly in sin you are not dead to sin. If you are not dead to sin you are not alive to God. If you are not alive to God you haven't been resurrected with Christ and you are altogether as an unbeliever.

Do not put your bible study group under the condemnation of the law by teaching them they are trapped in sinfulness. Set them free through the baptism into Christ. Tell them they have no more excuse for sin and they should live no longer therein. Tell them they are free from sin and alive to the Kingdom of God. EXACTLY LIKE JESUS who was tempted in all ways like as we are, yet without sin. Then they can truly die to this world and set their affections on the things above where Christ sits (and we with him) at the right hand of God.

It is as Leonard Ravenhill said, what are you saved from? hell? death? no, its salvation from sin. Is the work of Christ not enough?


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Matt Chenier

 2009/3/5 20:24Profile
TaylorOtwell
Member



Joined: 2006/6/19
Posts: 927
Arkansas

 Re:

Hi Matt,

Thanks for your post. I was just curious, could you explain why Christ taught us to pray daily for the forgiveness of our trespasses?

I'm not condoning sin here - I am simply trying to understand why our Lord would make this command.

With care in Christ,
Taylor


_________________
Taylor Otwell

 2009/3/5 20:29Profile
MattChenier
Member



Joined: 2006/11/13
Posts: 121
Longview,WA

 Re:

I don't believe Jesus was saying we will or must trespass every day. If he was, then why did he die? Why not just continue using the blood of animals? In the context of what you are saying, we are constantly applying blood to trespasses we can't avoid. If this is the case, then what is the difference between grace and the law? Where is the new birth and what does it mean? What does it mean to be dead to sin? Truly, being dead to sin does not simply mean being forgiven of it, but that it has not power over us. We are free from it like a widow of her husband. If a woman re-marries under the proper situation but has relations with her former husband especially if he is dead, is it not adultery? Truly you cannot serve two masters. For to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are. Whether of sin unto death or of righteousness unto eternal life.

I think he was teaching us that we are to be constantly searching our hearts for and cleansing them from any sin we may commit. Even more, I think he was putting a focus on forgiving others as we are forgiven.


_________________
Matt Chenier

 2009/3/5 20:47Profile
AbideinHim
Member



Joined: 2006/11/26
Posts: 3797
Louisiana

 Re:

We must remember that 1 John was written to Christians and not to unbelievers. In the first chapter the Apostle John is exhorting the believers on how to maintain their fellowship and communion with God. When we walk in the light we have fellowship with God. When we walk in darkness, that fellowship is broken. Fellowship is restored by confessing our sins to God. Although Christians should not sin, because Jesus has delivered us from the power of sin, there is always the possibility that we could sin. If we walk in the Spirit then we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. We must take up our cross daily, because unless we have had radical dealings by the Lord, we do not really know ourselves as we ought to.

Mike


_________________
Mike

 2009/3/5 21:07Profile
TaylorOtwell
Member



Joined: 2006/6/19
Posts: 927
Arkansas

 Re:

Hi Matt,

In speaking about the blood of animals, we need to distinguish between the shadow and the reality. The animal sacrifices were a shadow of a thing to come, namely, Christ, the true and sufficient sacrifice. And, we know from the book of Hebrews that the blood of animals was never sufficient to atone for sin.

The differences between the covenants are numerous, one being that under the old covenant, the faithful were guided my types and shadows, whereas under the new covenant we have received the things these types and shadows pointed to. We have a fuller revelation of God's redemptive purposes, etc.

The new birth is a sovereign work of God whereby the sinner is regenerated and is given spiritual eyes to see and ears to hear. It is much more than mere moral reform (as it is often preached in our day).

I agree, we have victory over sin, by the Lord's grace. I am simply stating that this mortification of sin proceeds gradually. Sin is not currently in "check-mate" as it were, but the pieces are such that check-mate is inevitable, and will be reached when the Lord returns and we "know Him as we are known."

You wrote - "I don't believe Jesus was saying we will or must trespass every day." To which I respond, that if so, he wouldn't have told us to ask forgiveness for trespasses everyday. We must also remember that simply because we do not perceive sin in ourselves does not mean that it is not present. The Lord knows what is in man, and I think it is safe to conclude that the thrice holy God can find fault with our performance any day of the week.

With care in Christ,
Taylor


_________________
Taylor Otwell

 2009/3/5 21:18Profile
jlosinski
Member



Joined: 2006/9/11
Posts: 294
North Pole, Alaska

 Re:

Hey Guys,
Thanks for the input; Taylor, for the record, I do believe that this letter was written to professing believers, I was just begging the question, as it were, hope you don't mind...It has been my first impression reading this passage that it is referring to believers.

 2009/3/5 21:20Profile





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