Last week we discussed one of the Apostle John’s purposes for writing the book of 1 John. John expressly states he writes to them so they may not sin (1 John 2:1). What are your thoughts on that? Is the Apostle talking crazy when he says this? Is he evoking too high of a standard?
It would be negligent for me to not speak on how John ends this verse. He states, “and if anyone sins, we have an ADVOCATE with the FATHER, JESUS CHRIST THE RIGHTEOUS.” Perversion would suggest this is an encouragement to sin, but rather this is an encouragement to vigorously strive to not sin. Essentially, as you go about your striving to not sin, if you fail, there is someone who will plead your cause before the JUDGE; someone to come to your side and your aid; someone to plead for your sins to be pardoned; JESUS, THE CHRIST!
Not sinning is a difficult task in this world, as there has only been one man to live and not sin (Hebrews 4:14-16). I would say walking a tightrope, no matter the height above ground, is a difficult task. If you present a person the opportunity to walk a tightrope without a safety net versus walking a tightrope with a safety net, which presentation will encourage them to strive more to complete the difficult task? Without a doubt, the safety net encourages one to embark on a difficult journey, because they know that if they fail, there is something to catch them in their failure (please know that I am not saying that JESUS is merely a safety net).
Furthermore, as a former basketball athlete and present day coach, when athletes know their coach will not send them to the bench for every mistake they make, those athletes will try harder. They play freer because grace is available. On the other hand, athletes who know if they make one mistake they will end up on the bench, tend to play tighter and with much fear. Their play is crippled by the fact there is not much grace, if any, available. Their striving is hampered. They do not feel very encouraged. They are not free. I have found that the athlete who is shown grace, over time, tends to make fewer and fewer mistakes. This is more than a change in behavior, but also a change in understanding and knowledge. This is the effect of grace. This is also true in the life of the believer, for it is grace that teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts (Titus 2:11-12).
Having an ADVOCATE actually encourages and frees the saint to “not sin.” Though the saint is living in an evil world (Galatians 1:4); and though when they will to do good, evil is present with them (Romans 7:21); and though there are fiery darts from the wicked one (Ephesians 6:16); and though the devil is an adversary who walks about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8); and though there is an accuser of the brethren, accusing the saints before their GOD day and night (Revelation 12:10); and though the saint’s own flesh wars against them (Galatians 5:17); and though the saint has to enter through a narrow gate to travel a difficult way with few others to get to life (Matthew 7:13); even with all of those in the face of the saint, they can be encouraged to strive on because they have an ADVOCATE if they fall short! Writing of the ADVOCATE is part of John’s “I write to you so that you may not sin.”
Dear brethren, be encouraged and heed the words written by the Apostle John. He was divinely inspired to write them so that we may not sin.
Grace and peace.