Tuesday December 11, 2018
3g. The elect are royal priests in the kingdom of God.
1JO 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
1JO 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1JO 1:10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
Evidence - inference: We confess or acknowledge our sins to the Father because we are forgiven. We approach the throne of grace, not condemnation, and we find mercy and grace to “help in time of need.”
John is writing against the false teachers of Gnosticism. He is saying that “we,” the true teachers openly confess our sins, to others when appropriate, and to God, but not for forgiveness (we are forgiven forever, our sins He remembers no more). Up to this point in the letter, John hasn’t written why we confess our sins, he simply writes, “if we confess them.”
John didn’t write the opening of his letter so that we could come up with a ritual for sin and fellowship. It seems he understood that what he just wrote could be misconstrued and so he tells us why he wrote it.
1JO 2:1 My little children, I am writing these things to you that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;
1JO 2:2 and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.
Jesus is our Advocate - one who stands alongside to help. We don’t hide our sins from Him. Rather, we seek His help in overcoming them.
The context of the passage we are about to look at is the Jewish believers in and around Jerusalem who are persecuted by their friends, families, and loved ones and are tempted to turn away from the Christian life and return to the Mosaic and Levitical system. Such a turn would be just as detrimental to their spiritual lives as a Gentile Christian returning to immorality.
You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.
And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to babes in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly.
Anything that pulls us away from actively participating in the faith of the spiritual life is a dagger to that life and we will miss out on the blessings God has given us.
Notice that I didn’t say that you would lose them. Israel didn’t lose the Promised Land. God didn’t send them back to Egypt. Some of them, including Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, missed the opportunity to go into the Land.
HEB 3:12 Take care, brethren, lest there should be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart, in falling away from the living God.
HEB 3:13 But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
The solution to a hard, unbelieving heart is not confession (the Exodus generation confessed a bunch) but to actively and constantly help others.
“encourage” present imperative of parakaleo (para - alongside, kaleo - to call) = constantly go alongside others to help them.
That doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t confess the sin to the Father. It would be natural to do so for any believer who desires to live in his election, but it wouldn’t end there. In this context, the sin is fear concerning doing the will of God. If a believer desired to do God’s will and found that he had fear of it in some area or areas, he needs to seek God’s help, which the writer will reveal in chapter 4.
Take care brethren means to be warned. The background that the author uses is the Exodus at Kadesh-Barnea hearing the report from the 12 spies who were sent scout out the Promised Land.
That event shows us that God doesn’t hide from us the obstacles that He demands that we overcome. Like being outnumbered by thousands of big, scary Amalekites, we look to that which we must overcome and gulp deeply. Fear wants to creep up and overwhelm us. It’s easier just not to try and go back to Egypt. Faith says, like Caleb and Joshua, “We can take them with the Lord.”
NUM 14:5 Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces in the presence of all the assembly of the congregation of the sons of Israel.
NUM 14:6 And Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, of those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes;
NUM 14:7 and they spoke to all the congregation of the sons of Israel, saying, "The land which we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land.
NUM 14:8 If the Lord is pleased with us, then He will bring us into this land, and give it to us — a land which flows with milk and honey.
NUM 14:9 Only do not rebel against the Lord; and do not fear the people of the land, for they shall be our prey. Their protection has been removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them."
I would be confident in saying that Israel still had a chance at this moment to believe Caleb and Joshua and so enter into the blessing that God had given them.
NUM 14:10 But all the congregation said to stone them with stones. Then the glory of the Lord appeared in the tent of meeting to all the sons of Israel.
The obstacles of sin can be difficult to overcome, but far from impossible. Some think that any uncomfortableness or struggle amounts to legalism and that everything in the Christian way of life should be easy. Yet Paul tells us that he had to fight the good fight and buffet his body and work hard. Remember the metaphors of the soldier, athlete, and farmer in 2Ti 2.
HEB 4:14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
HEB 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
HEB 4:16 Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.
Would unforgiven people go to God and open up about the sin in their lives and seek mercy and grace to help? They would hide from Him. We do not.