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October 17, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”—1 John 1:8 (NKJV)
John begins his first epistle by stressing the importance of turning away from spiritual darkness and walking in spiritual light (1 John 1:5-7). Now he moves on to show us how to walk in this light and does so by using three “If” statements. We see the first one in today’s verse, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8 NKJV, emphasis added).
The first step to walking in God’s light is to admit our condition as sinners. Unless we get honest about our sickness, we won’t find a cure. This is why John reminds us that we need to face the fact that all of us possess a sin nature. We’re not fine, we’re fundamentally flawed, but this leads us to the second “If” statement: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 NKJV, emphasis added).
Once we admit our condition as sinners, we need to progress to confess our sins to God. If we stop at the first “If” statement without going to the second, we’re stuck in a hopeless sense of condemnation. God doesn’t want us to just dwell on our sinful guilt, He wants us to do something with it—He wants us to bring it before Him, so He may forgive and cleanse us!
Has a more welcome promise ever landed on a sinful heart? How many times have you taken refuge in this word of forgiveness and cleansing? Coming to God and confessing our sin is the next necessary step in walking in His light, which leads us to the last “If” statement: “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (1 John 1:10 NKJV, emphasis added).
This may seem a lot like John’s first “If” statement, but let’s take a moment to notice the difference: In the first “If” statement, John emphasizes our sin nature—the root issue. Here, John calls out our sinful actions—the fruit, if you will. He reminds us that sin will be an ongoing struggle, which also means we’ll have an ongoing need for God’s forgiveness and cleansing in our lives. Continual confession and cleansing isn’t just a “one and done” but a lifestyle to be continually walked in.
These are the first necessary steps to walk in God’s light . . . Are you walking in them?
DIG: What is John communicating through these “If” statements?
DISCOVER: Why are they so important? How does/doesn’t your life mirror these steps?
DO: Spend time in confession today.
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.