Tag Archive | 1 john 2:1

If we sin, we have an advocate in Jesus so we are constantly forgiven? – 1 John 2:1

1 john 2.jpgMy little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (1 John 2:1)

”Advocate” is a translation from the Greek noun Παράκλητον (Strong’s 3875), and apart from the above verse we can find this word also in John 14:15; 26, John 15:26 and John 16:7, with the meaning of either Comforter or Helper – which the holy Spirit is often called.

John writes his letter to advise the recipients to avoid sinning (among other things), suggesting that they can avoid it (which also Titus 2:11-12 confirms). Unfortunately it is quite common that Christians with the reformed theology view understand this verse to mean that we really should not sin but if we do sin we still have no reason to worry because we always have an advocate in Jesus Christ who always forgives his elect no matter what they do.

That would be another way of saying that we have a license to sin, which of course the Bible does not teach. Just like in a secular court it is not certain that we will get an acquittal just because we have a defense attorney, or perhaps we should compare it with the idea that we will not even get a defense attorney unless we meet certain requirements (such as requesting one in the first place, and avoid making further crimes in the meantime). We will not be forgiven unless we REPENT. We will never be forgiven in the midst of our sins or if we have no intention of leaving the old man behind and live a new kind of life. For those who are in Christ (those who believe in him, follow him and obey him) can rest assured they have an advocate in Jesus Christ and that their past sins are forgiven. Their future sins are certainly not forgiven (that would be a license to sin) but they do not need to take an oath to never ever sin again.

1 John 2: 1-2 Being a propitiation for the sins of the whole world

Two verses after 1 John 2:1 (1 John 2:3) we can read how we can know that we know Jesus Christ. The answer is: ”if we keep his commandments”. If anyone claims to know him and does not keep his commandments is a liar and the truth is not in him. This is not legalism but the word of God. The teaching that we can successfully be faithful to God should never be labelled as legalism and something ugly. V. 5 mentions people who do keep his word, which means they truly exist and are not mere fantasies. We should walk as Jesus walked (v. 6), rather than hiding behind Jesus and pretend that our Father does not see our sins. We cannot fool God. The darkness should be in our past once the light has come into our life.

When reading 1 John 1-2 we can see that Jesus is the propitiation (an ”offer”) not only for a select group of people (like ”the elect), but he is the propitiation for the whole world. To be an offer for the sins of the whole world does not mean that the sins of the whole world will automatically be forgiven and forgotten (like the very minute that Jesus died on the cross). Just like in the old testament, during the animal sacrifice system, it was a requirement for the Israelites to confess their sins and repent for them while the priest offered up animals as a propitiation for their sins. Merely killing animals on an altar will not remove any sins – unless people also repent and understand the meaning of this process. We all have the opportunity to get all our sins erased, even the sins of the most vicious criminals, so it is a universal offer – albeit tied to conditions.

1 John 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.3 And HEREBY WE DO KNOW THAT WE KNOW HIM, IF WE KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.– 10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. 14 — I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one. —17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but HE THAT DOETH THE WILL OF GOD ABIDETH FOR EVER. —24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.25 And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.26 These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. 28 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.29 If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that EVERY ONE THAT DOETH RIGHTEOUSNESS is born of him.

1 John 1:8 – the famous ”sin verse”

In the previous chapter (1 John 1) we find the famous 1 John 1:8, so commonly quoted by those who would like to normalize sins also among Christians, but 1 John 1:6 and 1:9 are sadly not quoted just as often. The whole context is important: We have all sinned. IF we confess our sins and start walking in the light (notice the conditions) Jesus Christ will cleanse us from our sins and we will be forgiven. 

1 John 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:7 But if we 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.8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just 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.

Rom. 8:26 and Rom. 8:27 – intercessionrom. 8.jpg

Also Rom. 8:26 and 27 are often used as an attempt to support the idea that we can be saved in our sins, but such promise cannot be found there either. The holy Spirit is given to those who believe in Jesus and who have repented for their sins, and the focus of Rom. 8:26 is the content of our prayers and the holy Spirit as our Helper. Note that there are two different Greek words for ”make intercession” in Rom. 26 and 27.

Rom. 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

”Maketh intercession” above is a translation from the Greek verb συναντιλαμβάνομαι (Strong’s 4878) with the meaning of lend a hand along with, assist jointly to perform some task, cooperate with, help, etc. Apart from the above verse you will only find this word in Luke 10:40 (Martha’s desire to get cooperation from her sister when it comes to serving).

Rom. 8:27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

”Makes intercession” above is a translation from the Greek verb ἐντυγχάνω (Strong’s 1793), and apart from the above two verses you can find this word also in Acts 25:24, Rom. 11:2 and Hebrews 7:25 – with the meaning of making a petition for something. Does Christ do this only when it comes to the saints? Well, yes, since the saints are those who have chosen to follow Christ and repented for their sins.

Read what else Rom. 8 says below. There is life to get IF we walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit (those who live this way are in Jesus Christ). Otherwise we must expect death, and that warning goes for Christians as well. We have a great Helper to accomplish this, and thankfully we get more than one chance to do what we successfully can be doing.

Rom. 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.—4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his..13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God

Jesus is our ADVOCATE, so we do not have to worry about punishment for SIN?

1-john-2The idea that we can take cover behind Jesus and hide our sin from God the Father

Some Christians not only believe that we sin daily ”in thoughts, words and deeds”, but also that we do not have to worry about the consequences for our sins since Jesus is our permanent advocate who always walks behind us to sweep up and erase our sins as soon as we commit them. With other words, these people are convinced that we can have our sins and our salvation too, and that the cross we must carry is light as a feather since we are always walking under a cloud of forgiveness. However, I am not saying that Christians with this view automatically take the chance to sin just because they can. They might just be deceived into believing they could get away with it if they only wanted, but still choose to obey the holy Spirit and therefore avoid sinning. It is never too late for Christians who are deceived to overcome their deception and see things clearly.

An ”advocate” is not the same as a ”judge” though, since an advocate is someone who pleads another one’s cause before a judge. An advocate might be one who presents his client’s interest in court by trying to highlight the advantages and extenuating circumstances for the crimes committed. An advocate is also expected to sympathize with the client. In a worldly court, a person cannot be sure of a favorable verdict just because he has an advocate. In the Biblical sense, the word is usually translated as ”Comforter” rather than advocate, and this Comforter is the holy Spirit. Having the holy Spirit in our lives does not mean that we are forever exempted from guilty verdicts no matter how we live. It is true though, that a person with the holy Spirit has previously gone through a major spiritual transformation and is therefore well equipped to obey the commandments of God. This does not happen automatically but certainly IF we are led by the holy Spirit. In order to get the holy Spirit in the first place we must first meet the conditions – first we must believe, repent and obey. IF we are led by the Spirit (if we obey him), we are not under the law and therefore free. Here is where the ”advocate” part comes in! We would be totally lost if Jesus had not not have died for us, and sealed us (marked us) with the holy Spirit.

Acts 5:32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.

Gal. 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. —18 But IF ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

The word advocate is a translation from the Greek noun παράκλητος (paraklētos, Strong’s 3875) and is usually translated as Comforter in the KJV. It can also mean an intercessor, a consoler, a helper and someone who pleads our cause before someone with authority. Here are the five cases where the word is used:

1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, THAT YE SIN NOT. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous

John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

John 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me

John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

So John writes in 1 John 2:1 to the recipients of the letter in order that they ”sin NOT”. If no one can avoid sinning for an extended period of time, then John would be in error for believing that his words could make a difference. He continues his letter by saying ”IF any man sin…” (not ”when” he sins) we have an advocate with the Father”, etc. This does not mean our sins are therefore always excused and that we always have a right standing before God no matter how we live. He is only saying we have an advocate/comforter, provided that we have confessed our sins, truly repented and turned away from them! How do we know that? Because of John’s own words. He is very clear about that we cannot be saved sinners, and also that we will be cut off the vine if we do not show any fruit. We know that we know him IF we keep his commandments:

1 John 2:3 And HEREBY WE DO KNOW THAT WE KNOW HIM, IF WE KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked

What else did John say?

1 John 3:Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.Little children, let no man deceive you: he that DOETH righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: WHOSOEVER DOETH NOT RIGHTEOUSNESS IS NOT OF GOD, neither he that loveth not his brother.—22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

1 John. 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

2 John. 1:6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.

3 John 1:11 Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. HE THAT DOETH GOOD IS OF GOD: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.

John 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.23 Jesus answered and said unto him, IF A MAN LOVE ME, HE WILL KEEP MY WORDS: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.

John 15:2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.—If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.10 IF YE KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS, YE SHALL ABIDE IN MY LOVE; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

Do read about the holy Spirit raising us up from the dead in this blog article.