1 John 1:5–2:2 God’s Integrity, and Ours!
Bible Background: “The Elder” (which is how we identify this writer), now writes about what it means to have life in Christ: It means walking in the light of Christ (vs. the ways of darkness/evil); in fellowship with other believers; and honestly confessing our sinfulness and welcoming forgiveness.
Digging Deeper: 1. “God is light.” The message of 1 John echoes themes throughout scripture and in the Gospel of John, one of those being how God’s light always drives out evil and darkness. (Think of “sunshine laws” in the civil realm. Government meetings and decision-making are to be transparent, so there is a reduced chance for corruption of favoritism!) The light of God/Christ serves to expose both good and bad for what they are!
2. There are strong words used about lies vs. truth. There is nothing Christian or honest about pretending to be what we’re not. We’re not sinless. We’re not able to live and to love as Jesus did without the help of God. If we’re in deep denial, it’s equivalent to calling God/Jesus a liar. Of course, there would be zero truth in that.
3. The promise that comes with honest confession of sin, is complete forgiveness of sin! The image is that the blood of Jesus has cleansing power! In the Jewish sacrificial system the blood of a sacrificial lamb, calf, or dove, was understood to contain the life of that animal; and sacrificing it as an offering for sin meant that its life would bring forgiveness to a person or to the people. While there are various interpretations in the New Testament as to what Jesus’ death meant, this is one of them: that he was/is the atoning sacrifice for our sins.
4. The idea of Jesus as our advocate is the same word, parakletos, Jesus uses in the Gospel of John to describe the Holy Spirit’s role in our lives. An advocate is one who “stands alongside in court”. Think of when we need an advocate before God or in this world! Think of those who need someone to stand alongside them in the actual personal and legal trials in this world!
5. Once again is the reminder that the words of 1:8 are the introduction to our actual confession rite in worship (when we use Lutheran Book of Worship p. 56.)
6. Little children is a tender way for the writer to address his fellow believers, whom he is a mentor to. We’ll hear that phrase several more times in this letter!
Next week’s reading is: 1 John 4:1-6