Lesson 6 Winter Quarter
Lesson Text: 1 John 1:1-2:5
Golden Text: 1 John 1:9
Our lesson this week is the second lesson of the second unit of lessons where we are taking a look at the blessing of forgiveness and new life found through the gospel of Christ. We will learn today that the Lord is both faithful and just to forgive us our sins should we confess our sins to Him. God, we will learn, will cleanse us from all unrighteousness to restore us back to righteousness.
Inheriting Eternal Life
Before we jump into our lesson this week, I want to take a moment to remind you what it means to be blessed. To be blessed means that one has been made happy and content. When we talk about being blessed by God, we are saying that the Lord has done something to our benefit to uplift and make us happy and content in our soul. The main thing that the Lord has done for all of us is give us His only begotten; Jesus is the greatest blessing (act) to bring happiness and contentment to our soul.
Fellowship with Christ
So, reconciliation was a major part of our lesson last week. God gave us His only begotten Son to the world for the work of reconciling – restoring and bringing harmony – His relationship with mankind. You see, God and mankind had a wall between them because of the sins of mankind. With Christ dying for the sins of man, that wall of separation is torn down for all who are of genuine faith.
So, our lesson this week opens with John testifying of the Word of life (v.1). The Word of life, John says, was seen and held. Of course, John is speaking of Christ who he said in his gospel was the Word. John, you will recall, said that the Word was with God in the beginning and was (or is) God (John 1:1).
John, we will see, was encouraging his readers to join into fellowship with other believers, but most importantly, he was encouraging them to join into fellowship with Christ (v.3). John states plainly that by joining into fellowship (a close relationship) with Christ, one’s soul will be filled with joy (v.4).
John, I want you to understand, was ministering and declaring eternal life to all who would read this epistle. Eternal life is promised through Christ, as clearly stated in John’s gospel (John 3:16), and can be enjoyed by all who enter into fellowship with Him by genuine faith.
Let’s understand that when one enters into fellowship with Christ, they are entering into fellowship through the Lord’s grace and mercy. Why do I say this? Well, I say this because the only way that one can truly be in fellowship with Christ is if they have truly turned away from wickedness. You see, God is not going to enter into a close relationship with someone who is still living in wickedness. As I said before, the Lord has a wall raised to separate Him from wickedness (Is. 59:2).
Entering into fellowship with Christ
Now, God desires to be in fellowship with us; He has always desired to be in fellowship with us. However, our nature of sin blocks us from being able to enter into fellowship with Him. Our soul wasn’t always polluted and corrupted by sin. In fact, God has not always had a barrier raised between Him and mankind. When God created mankind, He did not create us as sinners.
When God created man, scripture tells us that He breathed the breath of life into man’s nostrils and man became a living soul (Gen. 2:7). So, our soul comes from the Lord and John says, God is light and in Him is no darkness (v.5). We know that God is benevolent — He is perfect; He is without sin. What this means is, again, God is incapable of creating sin and when He created us – our soul – was created in light.
When God created man, He created man in His image and likeness with the intent to dwell with mankind eternally (Gen. 1:26). So, initially, man was like God in that man was perfect and without sin — we were righteous. However, mankind lost its glory and righteousness in the garden when man disobeyed the Lord and ate fruit from the forbidden tree. It was at this point that the soul of mankind became polluted and corrupted by sin.
So, to enter into fellowship with the Lord, we know that we must have true faith in His Son. Sadly, not many of us are taking advantage of the opportunity to enter into fellowship with Christ. Some, John said, will say that they have fellowship with Christ, but still walk in darkness (sin). Let us understand that those who do this are hypocrites. As John said, they are hypocrites because they do not practice the truth (v.6).
What is the truth? The truth is the Word of God — Jesus Christ. Jesus taught us that all of us are in need of God if we truly desire to be happy and content in our soul. Jesus taught us that all of us stand in the need of His help should we desire to ever be lifted up from our sin. Jesus, you will recall, stated, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free (John 8:31-32).” This is the truth lifting us up by freeing us from the bondage of sin.
Jesus also taught that the truth will lead us to the kingdom of heaven. Jesus, we will recall, said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me (John 14:6).” Again, all freedom from sin and the way to heaven is all made possible through one turning from sin and turning to God. Repentance is one turning their life from a way of wickedness to a new life.
When we turn to Christ, we are choosing to abide in and walk in His light! Therefore, we are choosing to enter into fellowship with Him. How does one enter into fellowship with Christ? Through genuine faith and by repentance. Through our repentance and genuine faith, we are washed clean of our unrighteousness by the shed blood of Jesus and we become a new creature. As Paul said, the ways of old have passed away after this washing and all things – life – become new (2 Cor. 5:17).
God’s mercy and forgiveness
Now, there are some that think to themselves that God would never forgive them of their sins. Is there any truth behind this thought?
We will see that there is absolutely no truth behind this thought. The truth is just as John said: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He (God) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (v.8).”
We know that the Lord is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins because of the many examples we see of God’s forgiveness throughout scripture. I think of God’s promise to Noah which shows that He is merciful and a God of second chances. I also think of the woman caught in the act of adultery; the religious sought to stone her to death because of her actions but Jesus moved with mercy and forgiveness towards her.
Again, the truth is that God is a faithful God – a God willing to forgive and give us a second chance. In all of the miracles that Jesus performed, in many of them He would tell people to go and sin no more. Jesus, I want you to understand, was offering them forgiveness and new life. This is an offer that He offers all of us today rather than leaving us to drown in the guilt of our sins.
This is the blessing of forgiveness: new life in Christ. The new life in Christ is one that is eternal. The new life that is eternal that John spoke of was one spent with Christ where we will dwell in fellowship with Him forever. We either end up living eternally with the Lord or we can end up living separated from God for all of eternity. Personally, I would rather live with the Lord for all of eternity than without.
Our advocate that speaks for us
John felt the same way as I do. We know this because as we saw him say earlier, he was declaring eternal life to his readers. As our lesson enters into the second chapter of this epistle, we will see that John was still encouraging declaring eternal life to his readers.
John writes, “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin (1 John 2:1).” The hope for John was that his readers would see that God is a forgiving God and would turn away from their sins for a much better life.
However, within that same verse, it was very clear that John understood that none of us are perfect. Yes, we may strive to live a life free of sin but the truth of the matter is that we are still capable of falling to sin. Even though this is the case, John tells us not to stress because we have an Advocate with the Father who will stand on our behalf.
An advocate is someone that stands and speaks on behalf of another. Our advocate, John tells us, is Jesus Christ – the only begotten Son of God. Our Advocate, also became our propitiation (1 John 2:2). To be our propitiation is to be our atonement offering; Jesus was the atonement offering for all of mankind – all who choose to believe in Him.
We have a great advocate in Christ! When we erred, Jesus died for us. When we continue to error, Christ stands before the Father for us and speaks up for us! You will find no better advocate that can go before the Lord on your behalf.
Knowing and practicing the love of God
I believe we should love Christ today. Why? Because He gave Himself for us. Through giving Himself for us, we learn that we find mercy and forgiveness in the eyes of God. Because we find mercy and forgiveness in the eyes of God, we learn that there is a new life that we find. This new life, I want to point out, comes with living under the grace of God!
So, we now know love – true love. Because we know what true love now is through God giving us His only begotten Son, shouldn’t we carry ourselves in that love? Absolutely! John tells us, again, if we say that we know God, but are not keeping His commandment by moving in His manner of love, the truth is not in us. You cannot say that you are a child of God but be filled with all kinds of hatred.
Undeserved and unconditional love has been shown to us, should we not show the same kind of love to all of those around us? Absolutely. We show that we love God by being obedient to His Word and His Word calls on us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. We will see our lesson is concluded with John stating, “whoever keeps His (God’s) word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him (1 John 2:5).”
So, to go along with all that we have learned today, we learn again the most important lesson: we must love others as the Lord has loved us. As God has shown us mercy, forgiveness, and new life, we must be willing to do the same for those around us. The believer should also learn to be merciful and forgiving; we should be willing to give others a second chance.