God the Son personally dwelt among men in order that men might have fellowship with Him.

[Zane Hodges, The Epistles of John, Grace Evangelical Society, Irving, Tx, 1999, pp. 34-35]:

"In First John the apostle writes out of a concern that certain false teachers [such as Cerinthus] may be given a hearing in the church or churches he is addressing. Since they essentially deny the fundamental truth of the Christian faith, namely, that Jesus is the Christ come in flesh (1 John 2:22; 4:3), their doctrine strikes right at the heart of all Christian experience. The readers who are clearly Christians themselves (2:12-14; 21; 5:13), are therefore not in danger of losing eternal life - which cannot be lost - but are in danger of having their fellowship with God the Father and with Jesus Christ His Son seriously undermined. Thus, the stated general aim of the epistle is fellowship (1 John 1:3).

A) [1 Jn 1:3]:

"Who we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also [proclaim to you through this letter], that you also may have fellowship with us; and indeed [that you may also have] our fellowship [which] is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ."

In the process of discussing the terms, conditions, and experiences connected with genuine fellowship with God, the apostle also takes time at appropriate points to deal with the false teachers and their fellowship-threatening doctrines. Thus, a statement of purpose for First John could also include the thought that he writes to sustain and promote fellowship with God in the face of the theological errors that constitute an attack on this fellowship.

In the past it was often suggested that the false doctrine in view in First John was so-called Gnosticism. But since our knowledge of Gnosticism is largely dependent upon sources later than First John itself, this is a somewhat precarious proposition. If one wishes to postulate a kind of pre-gnostic Gnosticism, this might be true, but we would still have to look to First John itself for any real knowledge of the heresies John seeks to refute. In this regard, it is not always clear in First John whether the false statements condemned can be positively ascribed to the errorists or whether they simply represent false ideas which are common enough among Christian people.

What we can say about the errorists of First John is that they denied that Jesus was the Christ Who had come in flesh. Exactly what form this denial took is not absolutely clear, but the statements in 1 John 5:6-8 suggest the possibility of an error similar to the one ascribed in ancient Christian literature to a certain Cerinthus, who is presented as an adversary of the apostle John at Ephesus. Cerinthus is said to have held that the man Jesus and the divine Christ were two distinct beings, and that the Christ descended on Jesus at His baptism, but left Him prior to His death. Thus the divine Christ might be said to have come 'by water' but not 'by blood'... The denial that Jesus was the Christ may have involved a division of His Person into two distinct beings, in order to divide His experiences and assign some to the human person only.

If this were the case, it would imply that some aspects, at least, of physical experience were considered by the false teachers to be inappropriate or meaningless for a divine being. This may have involved the concept that any real physical contact with such a being was also impossible and that people could have contact only with the human Jesus. If this claim was made, it is denied in 1:1-4 where the apostles are said to have had physical contact with 'that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us' (1:2, italics added)."

II) [1 Jn 1:1 NIV]:

"That which was from the beginning, which we [the Apostles] have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched - this we proclaim concerning the Word of life."


"That which was from the beginning" = the Apostle John is speaking of the beginning of the time when God the Son became a Man. The rest of the verse verifies this.

1) "That which was from [the] beginning..." =

" ...........O .....en.....ap............apches"

The Greek word " "O " which is translated "That which" four times in this passage is defined in this context as a nominative, singular, masculine, relative pronoun = "That which", or better rendered "Who" = The incarnate Lord Jesus Christ. The Amplified Bible renders this first verse a bit closer to the original Greek text:

a) [1 Jn 1:1 amplified]:

"[We are writing] about the Word of Life [in] Him Who existed from the beginning, Whom we have heard, Whom we have seen with our [own] eyes, Whom we have gazed upon [for ourselves] and have touched with our [own]hands."

Dr. J Vernon McGee states in "Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee," Vol. V, Nelson publishers, 1983, p. 757:

1 cont.) ''' "That which was from the beginning" =

Refers to the time Christ came into this world at Bethlehem. When He was about thirty years old, John became acquainted with Him. John and his brother James met Him in Jerusalem. Later they were with their father, mending nets, when Jesus came by and called them to follow Him. They left their father (probably a well-to-do fisherman) with the hired men and followed Jesus. Now John says, I want to tell you about Him, and he asserts the reality of the total personality of Jesus" (1) 'We have heard"..... (2) "we have seen".. (3) "we have looked upon" (lit., gazed intently upon); and (4) "our hands have handled."

John, of course, is speaking of the incarnation of Jesus and of his own association with Him when He was here upon this earth.

2) "Which we have heard." =

John is not prattling about his opinions and his speculations. He is talking about the fact that he 'heard" the Lord Jesus, heard His voice, and when he listened to Him, he listened to God.

3) "Which we have seen with our eyes." =

Not only had the apostles heard Him speak, but they also had seen Him with their own eyes. "Which we have looked upon." The word "looked" = "etheasametha" is from the basic Greek verb "theaomai" = "to look intently upon" from which we get our English word theater.' The theatre is a place where you sit and look, not just with a passing glance but with a gaze - a steady gaze for a couple of hours. John is saying that for three years they gazed upon Jesus............

4) "our hands have handled." =

John says that they did more than merely gaze upon Him from a distance; they handled Him. John himself reclined upon His bosom in the Upper Room.'''

II cont.) [1 Jn 1:1 cont.]:

"That which was from the beginning, which we [the Apostles] have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched - this we proclaim concerning the Word of life."


1) "this we proclaim concerning the Word of life." =

The following account is one which we the Apostles proclaim concerning the 'Word of Life' = the Person of Jesus Christ Whom we have just spoken about in verse one.

The N.A.S. translation which follows is a more literal translation and follows the word order of the Greek more closely. This translation combined with the Amplified will provide the best understanding of the intent and purpose of the author John of this letter entitled "First John":

a) [1 Jn 1:1 N.A.S.]:

"What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled, concerning the Word of life - "

b) [Compare 1 Jn 1:1 Amplified]:

"[We are writing] about the Word of Life [in] Him Who existed from the beginning, Whom we have heard, Whom we have seen with our [own] eyes, Whom we have gazed upon [for ourselves] and have touched with our [own]hands."

2) "Word of Life." =

The Lord Jesus Christ. This term does not just refer to a communication about life but it refers to the Person of our Lord Himself. The context of the passage demands that this term "Word of Life" be a Person and not a thing. The N.A.S. translation which so closely follows the Greek text illustrates this:

The Word of Life was heard, seen, beheld, (gazed intently upon), and even the Apostles touched Him with their hands. That speaks loudly of a Person and not just a concept or a communication which some contend. It is not out of line, nor even unusual, for our Lord to be referred to as "The Word of Life" as in this passage or as "The Word", (Jn 1:1); or as "the bread of life", (Jn 6:35); or as "the gate", (Jn 10:7); or as "the way, the truth and the life.", (Jn 14:6).

III) [1 Jn 1:2 N.A.S.]:

"and the Life was manifested, and we [Apostles] have seen and bear witness and proclaim to you the Eternal Life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us"


1) "and the Life was manifested" =

and God incarnate, the Lord Jesus Christ in the flesh was made manifest - disclosed - brought out into the open for man so that God may be "heard" and "seen" and "gazed upon" and "touched", (v. 1). Let's paraphrase the above verse in order to clarify what John is saying:

'and we Apostles have seen the Lord Jesus Christ and bear witness to you fellow believers..................... (John wrote this letter to fellow believers: (ref. v. 2:1) ...........and we Apostles have seen the Lord and bear witness to you fellow believers about Him and proclaim to you that He truly is "Eternal Life" Who "was with the Father"...............................

2) Eternal Life =

a person may receive eternal life but only God can BE "Eternal Life". Jesus Christ Who is "Eternal Life" is God Himself.

3) "was" =66667777

"en " = past imperfect = Jesus continually, i.e., eternally was with God the Father in eternity past. The form of the verb 'to be' that God the Holy Spirit inspired John to use here defines the eternality of our Lord, an attribute reserved only for God. Therefore Jesus Christ is God.

4) "with" =

pros = literally, face to face on an intimate and equal relationship with God the Father. Only God can have such an intimacy and equality with God the Father, again indicating that Jesus Christ is God. So verse 2 of 1 John can be read:

............'and we Apostles have seen the Lord and bear witness to you fellow believers about Him and proclaim to you that He truly is "Eternal Life" Who "was" eternally "with the Father" before all creation and Who was made manifest - brought out into the open - for us to know'

IV) [1 Jn 1:2-3 N.A.S.]:

(v. 2) "and the Life [Jesus Christ] was manifested, and we have seen and bear witness and proclaim to you the Eternal Life [Jesus Christ], Who was with the Father and was manifested to us

(v. 3) Who we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, that you also may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ."


1) "Who" =

" "O " = nominative, (= subject), singular, masculine, relative pronoun = Who = The incarnate Lord Jesus Christ.

Author John is repeating himself here for emphasis: 'We have seen the Lord Jesus Christ, we have seen God, we bear witness to Him.'

And what is the purpose of John's emphasis and for that matter the purpose of John's letter?

2) "....that you [believers] also may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ." =

So the purpose of John's letter is to inform believers about having fellowship with believers and with God, and not about salvation as some contend. Notice that the one and only response of the individual relative to receiving eternal life, faith in Christ as Savior, is not mentioned at all in First John chapter one. On the other hand, the following verses in 1 John establish the context of staying in fellowship with God and the audience of believers:

a) [1 Jn 2:1-2]:

(v. 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;

(v. 2) and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world."

i) "I am writing these things to you that you may not sin" =

John is therefore writing this particular epistle to teach principles through the adherence of which one "may not sin". The subject therefore cannot be salvation for the gospel does not require one to not sin but simply to trust alone in Christ alone as Savior, (cp 1 Jn 5:9-13).

Furthermore, since only believers are in a position to not sin, and unbelievers are hopelessly enslaved to sin, (Ro 6:17, 20), then the intended audience of this epistle must be believers.

ii) "we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous"=

Since this is speaking in the present tense, and since believers only have an Advocate with the Father, then the "we" applies to believers only. Unbelievers first must become believers in order to then have an Advocate with the Father.

iii) "ours" =

The intended audience of believers is further established by the "ours" in verse 2:2 to whom John is addressing his letter. Christ died for our - believers' sins - but not only for ours but for the sins of the whole unbelieving world - to whom the letter is not addressed

iv) "My little children" =

This is a phrase that the Apostle John uses frequently to address believers only, (cp Jn 1:12-13, 1 Jn 2:18, 2:28; 3:1, 4:4, etc., etc.). Our Lord Himself used this term to describe believers, (cp Jn 13:33).

b) [cp 1 Jn 3:1]:

"See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are...."

Only believers are called "children of God", (cp Jn 1:12-13).

c) [1 Jn 2:12]:

"I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name's sake."

Only believers have the status wherein their sins are forgiven them relative to eternal life, (cp Acts 10:43).

d) [1 Jn 2:3]:

"And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments."

The context of teaching and exhorting believers to a life of fellowship with God continues on throughout John's letter as is exemplified in verse 2:3 above.

e) [1 Jn 1:7]:

"If we [believers] walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, [not according to the light, but via asknowledging our shortcomings before a God Who is Absolute Righteousness] we have fellowship with one another [i.e., the confessing believer is then in fellowship with a Holy God].."

Notice that the major subject of this passage is the exhortation to the born again believer to walk in the light as God is in the light in which there is no darkness / no evil at all, freely exposing his shortcomings before a Holy God resulting in fellowship with God. Note that this does not imply acting righteously as some contend. Furthermore, acting righteously cannot apply to eternal salvation, as some contend this passage in 1st John has in view, since acting righteously, i.e., keeping God's commandments are not part of receiving eternal life, (Eph 2:8-9). Rather, this is all about believers' having fellowship with God - having an intimate relationship with Him.

The letter continually indicates that a believer who has unacknowledged sin in his life cannot abide, i.e., have fellowship with God for the moment:

f) [1 Jn 3:6]:

"No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him."

V) [1 Jn 1:3-4]:

(v. 3) "Who we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also [proclaim to you through this letter], that you also may have fellowship with us; and indeed [that you may also have] our fellowship [which] is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.

(v. 4) "And these things we write, so that your joy may be made complete."


John writes this epistle so that the believer can be instructed as to how to have fellowship with Jesus Christ and God the Father.

Since believers do sin, (1:8, 10), then the solution to 'knowing God' is to have those sins forgiven - not relative to eternal life but relative to fellowship - to abiding in God - walking in His light. [1 Jn 1:3-4]:

1) "our" not "your" =

(1 Jn 1:4 NASB) These things we write*, so that our** joy may be made complete.

[*"These things we write" in WH, NU, Sinaiticus, A(org), B, P Psi, 33, Treg, Alf, Tisc, Weis, sod, UBS is favored over the longer "These things we write to you" which the latter adds nothing to the meaning and which is in TR, A(corr), C, K, L, byz, it, bo, 1739, Maj

**"our" is in sinaiticus, B, L, Psi, 049, syr(p), cop(sa) best fits the context of readers and author John, fellow believers' and apostles' mutual joy all having been fulfilled altogether; as opposed to "your" limiting the joy just to the readers - the latter which is in A, C, P, 33, 1739, syr(b), cop(bo)]

Many ancient texts have: " emon" = genitive case, (possessive), 2nd pers. plural personal pronoun = "your" which makes the best rendering, (rather than "our"). The Apostles' purpose is stated in this passage as providing the information in writing to believers so that fellow believers may also be complete in their walk with God by learning to remain in fellowship with Him. Thus, like the Apostles, fellow believers may also have their "joy....made complete" by experiencing fellowship with God. It makes much better sense that the purpose of 'First John' is so that the reader's joy be made complete as a result of their learning to have fellowship with God rather than that the Apostles' joy be made complete, since John and the Apostles would not always be aware of all those who have read his letter and come into fellowship with God. Furthermore, the mechanics of being in fellowship is via confession of sins to God which points then to resulting in fellowship with God on a personal, "your" level of making your joy complete. If, however, "our" is the original rendering, then "our" would best be interpreted as all believers of the body of Christ - a corporate "our":

(v. 4) "And these things we write, so that our joy .....[the joy of the corporate body of believers to which all belong] be made complete."

The KJV Bible renders it "your," the NIV footnotes "your", the NAS and NIV render it "our" and the Amplified Bible renders it both ways. So John says that he is writing this letter so that what he has written will bring other believers into fellowship with God so that the joy of those fellow believers may be made complete.

VI) [1 Jn 1:3-5]:

(v. 3) "Who we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, that you also may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.

(v. 4) And these things we write, so that your joy may be made complete.

(v. 5) And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all"


"And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you" =

This refers to the particular message in this epistle concerning the "Word of Life," Jesus Christ, (v. 1); Who is "Eternal Life," Himself, (v. 2); Who is proclaimed to the world so that one may have fellowship with "the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.", (v. 3). What follows is precisely how to have gellowship with God and His Son.


"God is light, and in Him is not darkness at all" =

[The Bible Knowledge Commentary; Walvoord and Zuck, Editors; Victor Books, U.S.A.; 1988, p. 885]:

"In describing God as Light, which John frequently did (John 1:4-5, 7-9; 3:19-21; 8:12; 9:5; 12:35-36, 46; Rev. 21:23), he was no doubt thinking of God as the Revealer of His holiness."

1) [Compare Jn 3:19-20]

(v. 19) "And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil.

(v. 20) For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.

(Jn 3:21 YLT) but he who is doing the truth doth come to the light, that his works may be manifested, that in God they are having been wrought."

Dr. McGee goes on to say, (op. cit., p.760):

"Modern science, I am told, is not quite sure what light is. Is it energy or is it matter? What is light? Oh, the source of light is one thing, but when you turn on the light in your room, the darkness lurking in the corner becomes light. What has happened? What was it that went over there in the corner and drove out the darkness? Or did it drive out the darkness? Because when the source of light up in the ceiling goes off, darkness returns to the corner. What is light?

Well, when John says that God is light, he is revealing many facets about the person of God..................................................

First of all, light speaks of the glory, the radiance, the beauty, and the wonders of God. Have you seen the eastern sky when the sun comes up like a blaze of glory?.....

Another characteristic of light is that it is self-revealing. Light can be seen, but it diffuses itself. It illuminates the darkness. It is revealing. It lets me see my hands - I've been handling books, and I see that one of my hands has dirt on it, and I'm going to have to take it out and wash it. If it hadn't been for the light, I would not have seen the soil. Light reveals flaws and impurity. Whittier put it like this:

'Our Thoughts lie open to Thy sight; And naked to Thy glance. Our secret sins are in the light. Of Thy pure countenance.'

And Dr. Chafer [founder of Dallas Theological Seminary] used to say it this way: 'Secret sin down here is open scandal in heaven.'

[Dr. Mcgee goes on to say]:

Our sins are right there before Him, because God is light. Also light speaks of the white purity of God and the stainless holiness of God. God moves without making a shadow because He is light. He is pure. The light of the sun is actually the catharsis of the earth. It not only gives light, it is also a great cleanser. Many of you ladies put a garment out in the sun to clean it or to get an odor out of it. The sun is a great cleansing agent. Light speaks of the purity of God. Light also guides men. It points out the path. Light on the horizon leads men on to take courage. It gives them courage to keep moving on. God is light. Let me go to the other extreme. Darkness is actually more than a negation of light. It is not just the opposite of light. It is actually hostile to light. The light and holiness of God are in direct conflict with the evil darkness and chaos of the world."

Light in these particular passages cannot be restricted to mean salvation and those who are saved, nor darkness exclusively that of the unsaved. It is not salvation that exposes evil deeds, nor what evil doers are said to hate, but the standard of God's absolute righteousness - the holiness of God. Light here in these passages therefore refers to the holiness and righteousness of God. And darkness, being portrayed as the opposite of light is defined in John 3:19 and inferred to in 1 Jn 1:5 as evil unrighteousness. Otherwise 1 Jn 1:5 would be describing God as being salvation and in Him is no darkness = 'unsalvation' at all, which doesn't make sense. Nor does it make sense to say that salvation, (instead of God's holiness), exposes men's evil deeds.


Dr. McGee, op. cit., p. 760:

"God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all" means that God is holy, and we know that man is unholy. How can the gulf be bridged between...[God and you]?"

And throughout Scripture we have man depicted as totally depraved and unable to be righteous at all and therefore unable of his own accord to have fellowship with God, even believers!

1) [Ps 51:5]:

"Surely I [David, i.e., all men were]... sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me."

2) [Job 14:1-4]:

(v. 1) "Man born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.

(v. 2) He springs up like a flower and withers away; like a fleeting shadow, he does not endure.

(v. 3) Do You [God] fix your eye on such a one? Will You bring him before You for judgment?

[Job says, 'God will surely bring such a one as man before Him and judge him as impure']:

(v. 4) "Who can bring what is pure from the impure? No one!"

[Job says, "Man, 'born of woman', from birth - by nature - is impure"]

3) [Jn 3:5-6]:

(v. 5) "Jesus answered, 'I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born [out] of water [the Holy Spirit] and [out of the realm of the] spirit"


(v. 6) Flesh gives birth to flesh,...............

[physical birth only gives birth to flesh - to another person with a dead spirit - resulting in a person who is born in sin, (Ro 5:12) and not righteous enough to go to heaven]

(v. 6 cont)"Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit"

[Jesus says, 'It takes a spiritual birth to be qualified to enter the kingdom of God.' God the Holy Spirit overrides the condition of being born in sin and births your dead spirit into life - eternal life. And then God provides the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ in order for the believer to spend eternity with Him in heaven, (Ro 3:21-24). This is the only way for man to be righteous enough to go to heaven. Without this gift, man's thoughts and ways fall short of the righteousness of God:

4) [Isa 55:8]:

" 'For My [God's] thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, ' declares the Lord."

[Man's thoughts and ways are impure - inherently evil - and are not the pure and righteous thoughts and ways of God. Cp Ps 14:1-3; I Ki 8:46]

5) [Jer 17:9]:

"The heart [of man] is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.

Who can understand it?"

6) [Lk 18:19b]:

"Jesus answered. 'No one is good - except God alone.'''

[Only God is good - all men, believers and unbelievers, are not good]

7) [Ro 7:18a]:

"I [Paul, i.e., all men] know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh.."

[man is hopelessly contaminated with sin, even believers as Paul states above]

On the one hand, God is light, i.e., perfect holiness and righteousness. There is no darkness in Him at all.

On the other hand, mankind's inherent characteristic of darkness blocks him from fellowship with God.

The next verse presents a dilemma and Dr. McGee points out this dilemma of man having fellowship with God:

[McGee, op. cit., p. 759]:

"Now we return to the problem which I mentioned earlier. John has said that he has written these things so that we can have fellowship and so that our joy might be full, and our joy would naturally be full if we could have fellowship with God. [Notice that author McGee uses the corporate 'our', meaning all believers. However, there is a hurdle to get over. John faces up to a real dilemma which every child of God recognizes. The very possibility of man having fellowship with God is one of the most glorious prospects that comes to us, but immediately our hopes are dashed when we face up to this dilemma." [A dilemma which is expressed in verse 5]:

VII) [1 Jn 1:5-6]:

(v. 5) "This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.

(v. 6) If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth."

Since God is light and in Him is no darkness at all, then to have fellowship with Him is to be as perfect as He is. God cannot have fellowship with someone who is walking in darkness.


"If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not do the truth" =

If we consider the fact that all men, even believers are inherently evil and incapable in and of themselves of having fellowship with God,

then if an individual says he has fellowship with G777od yet walks in darkness, i.e., does not acknowledge his inherent, evil condition before God,

then he lies and does no do the truth.

The point is that men do claim to have fellowship with God on the basis of their ability and actions, yet they inherently walk in darkness as all of us constantly do out of expression of their inherent sin nature. So their claim is a lie and they do not do the truth.


There are many who say that they no longer sin - or sin so rarely that it almost does not count. So they say that they are constantly in fellowship with God, meeting His approval with their behavior. Consider what the Apostle Paul, one of the greatest of spiritual men who ever lived, wrote about himself as a born again believer in Romans chapter 7:

1) [Ro 7:14-23 NAS]:

(v. 14) "For we know that the [Mosaic] Law is spiritual; but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin.

[Objectors falsely claim that the present historical tense prevails here so that this verse and the following verses describe Paul's condition before he was saved. But a full reading of the entire passage will dispel this inaccuracy]:

(v. 15) For that which I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.

[notice: present tense - 'for at the present time even as a believer I am doing evil things']

(v. 16) But if I do the very thing I do not wish to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that it is good.

(v. 17) So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin [the sin nature] which indwells me.

["sin" = "hamartia" (singular) + refers in the next verse to "flesh" = the sin nature rather than acts of sin, although acts of sin are the natural expression of that sin nature]

(v. 18 ) for I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the wishing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.

[Paul indicates here that his spirit is indwelt with good as opposed to his flesh - his body and soul - which is inherently contaminated with sin. By "good" in this verse is meant the perfect standard of good which is of God. Recall that Jesus stated that

"no one is good - except God alone." (Lk 18:19b).

In spite of the fact that Paul was referring to a time when he was a born again believer he also states that nothing good dwells in him]:

(v. 18 cont.) for I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the wishing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.

(v. 19) For the good that I wish, I do not do; but I practice the very evil that I do not wish.

(v. 20) But if I am doing the very thing I do not wish, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.

(v. 21) I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wishes to do good.

(v. 22) For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, [the born alive spirit of a believer],

[Notice that verses 20 & 21 indicate a time in Paul's life when he has evil - the sin nature - as an intrinsic part of himself. And then verse 22 indicates that, at the same time, Paul has a born again spirit, his "inner man", which "joyfully concurs with the law of God." Paul could not be unsaved here because the unsaved do not delight in God's law for they lack what God's Word refers to as the "inner man", the born again spirit. An unbeliever's spirit is dead and so he can do nothing to please God, (Ro 8:8), especially to delight in God's law. He has a dead "inner man" - a dead spirit]

(v. 23) but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind."

["body" = Paul is referring here to the sin nature - the flesh. Although the body, in and of itself is not sinful, it is used to sin with by the sin nature which is within man. That is the "different law" to which Paul is referring]:

(v. 23 cont) but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind."

["the law of my mind" = Paul is here referring to the new nature of righteousness which enters into the mind of man upon receiving Christ as Savior, (1 Cor 2:16). Believers are motivated to do righteous things in their mentality by God the Holy Spirit; but the lusts of the sin nature which manifest themselves in the members of the body, (including the mind), wage an actual war against this motivation to do God's will]

John A. Witmer comments, B.K.C. op. cit., p.468 on Ro 7:21-23:

'''Paul was a person who tried to learn from his experiences, "so" now he concluded, "I find this law at work." This is not the Mosaic Law, of course, but a principle drawn from experience. Also in 8:2 'law' (nomos) means principle. This law or principle is the reality of ever-present "evil" in an individual whenever he wants "to do good." Paul held fast to the fact that, as he said, "In my inner being I delight in God's Law" (cf. 7:25). "In my inner being" is literally, "according to the inner man." (The "inner man" is used....also in 2 Cor. 4:16 and Eph. 3:16.) Delight in God's Law was the psalmist's response, stated repeatedly in Psalm 119 (e.g., vv. 15, 24, 47; cf. Ps. 1:2). Because of regeneration, a believer has a new nature or capacity for loving spiritual truths. Yet, recognizing the facts of experience, Paul said he saw "another law" or principle "at work" within him. This is the principle of sin. Paul called it "sin living in me" (Rom. 7:17, 20), "evil right there with me" (v.21), and "the sinful nature" (vv. 5, 18, 25).

This principle is continually doing two things: "waging war against the law of" the believer's "mind and making" him "a prisoner of the law of sin at work within" his "members" The indwelling principle of sin is constantly mounting a military campaign against the new nature, trying to gain victory and control....of a believer and his actions. The new nature is called "the law" of the "mind"....because it has the capacity for perceiving and making moral judgments. Further, despite a believer's identification with Jesus Christ's death and resurrection and his efforts to have Christ-honoring attitudes and actions, he cannot in his own power resist his indwelling sin nature. In and of himself he repeatedly experiences defeat and frustration.'''

So even the Apostle Paul from the time he became a believer still possessed a most difficult sin nature, as all believers do. So what can man do in order to have fellowship with God? The question remains to be answered. For this is impossible with man, even believers, all men being so contaminated with sin.

(v. 24) "Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?"

[Although Paul is indicated here as a born again believer with an "inner man" he, like all believers who are still physically alive, possesses a mortal body which deteriorates daily. And pervading throughout the members of that body is the ever present, adversarial sin nature which obeys the law of sin and opposes the law of God which is within Paul's "inner man" - his born again spirit. But Jesus Christ, Whom Paul has trusted in for eternal life, will eventually set Paul and all believers free from the wretchedness of their sin-contaminated, decaying fleshly bodies - providing them with new, immortal, perfect ones with righteous natures, (I Cor 15:50-54)]:

(v. 24 cont.) "Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?

["Who will set me free from the body of this death." ? Who will provide or how will I be "set free" from this body of mortal death so contaminated with the sin nature? And the answer comes in the next verse]:

(v. 25) Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin."

Notice again, that whenever this took place in Paul's life, we see that Paul had two warring natures: a sin nature and a born again, Holy Spirit indwelled "inner man" - an alive spirit which must be alive because it is serving the law of God.

a) [Compare Gal 5:16-17]:

(v. 16) "But I say [to believers, (v. 5:1)], walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.

(v. 17) For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another [speaking specifically of a war going on within the believer] so that you man not do the things that you wish." No unsaved individual can serve the law of God, (Ro 8:8). Compare Ro 8:10 which verifies that a believer still has a sin nature:

b) [Ro 8:10]:

"And if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, [sin singular ? sin nature] yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness."

Although the body of the believer is dead because of sin, i.e., destined to physically die yet the believer's spirit is alive:

"Yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness" = Yet the spirit is alive because it is born again - because through faith alone in Christ alone one has had their spirit become alive, i.e., born again and has received the righteousness of Jesus Christ, (ref. Ro 3:21-24).


[Dr. McGee states the following relative to verse 6 of 1 John, (Op Cit, p. 761)]:

" 'If we say that we have fellowship with Him' - there are a lot of folk claiming to have fellowship with Him when they do not in reality at all. "We lie, and do not the truth.' Do you understand what John says in this verse?....He says that if you say that you have fellowship with God and you walk in darkness - that is, in sin - you are lying......if you are going to walk with God, you are going to walk in light. And if there is sin in your life, you are not walking in the light of His Absolute Righteousness. You cannot bring Him down to your level."

VIII) [1 Jn 1:5-7]:

(v. 5 ) "This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.

(v. 6) If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not do the truth.

(v. 7) But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin."


"But if we [believers] walk in the light as He Himself is in the light." =

But when the individual believer walks in the light by letting God's light shine on him, exposing his own darkness, then he can and does have fellowship with God because of the blood of Jesus Christ which was shed for him.

It has already been determined in this study that even a faithful believer cannot consistently walk according to the light because he still possesses a sin nature that is active and alive, (cp. Ro 7:21-25). To walk according to the light, which this verse does not say, would be to walk in sinless perfection. This would be impossible for the believer to do considering his intrinsic sin nature; so the subject of the book of 1 John would be an academic and futile one.

A believer cannot truly walk in sinless perfection, i.e., according to the light. What John is saying in verse 7 is that "God is light; in Him there is no darkness [sin] at all." (v.6); and so the believer is to focus his mentality on the absolute perfection of God, especially as it is detailed and explained in His Word. This requires an earnest study of the Bible. Compare what Eph 5:25-27 says about how God the Holy Spirit - the "water" - washes the believer "through the word. "So if the believer focuses his mind on the absolute holiness of God with the perspective that the believer truly recognizes before God that he has a depraved nature; in other words, if that believer acknowledges his sinful condition to God on a moment to moment basis, then that believer is walking in the light. He is allowing the light which is the absolutely perfect righteousness of God to illuminate his sinful nature - his sins - his darkness, whatever that may be on a moment to moment basis; and then that believer is truly walking in the light, his true nature being freely exposed to God for God's gracious working of cleansing and God's establishment of fellowship with the believer and Himself in spite of the sinful acts of the believer. Have you ever heard someone say to you, 'Keep your eyes on Jesus.'? This expression should have great significance when viewed in the light of the book of 1 John. Verse 9 of 1 John chapter one, which we will examine soon, tells what the believer must do in order for the believer to be placed by God in a position of fellowship with God Himself - in order for that believer to walk in the light, to have his sins cleansed. This command in verse 9 places that believer in the position of walking "in the light."

VIII cont.) [1 Jn 1:5-7 cont.]:

(v. 5 ) "This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.

(v. 6) If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.

(v. 7) But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin."


"we have fellowship One with another" =

God and we believers have fellowship One with another. The previous verse 6 says, "If we [believers] claim to have fellowship with Him [God] yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.". The subject in verses 6 & 7 is believers having fellowship with God as it is in this entire passage in 1 John. Verse 7 therefore continues with the subject of how God and the believer can "have fellowship One with another..":

"One with another" = "allelon" = God and the believer

The Greek pronoun "allelon" is a reciprocal pronoun meaning 'One with another' or each other. It refers back to the two subjects in verse 6: God and "we" believers.

Note that this is in the third class condition, (maybe it is and maybe it is not). The speaker in the third class condition considers that the condition stated in the protasis has the possibility (or even probability) of becoming a reality.

If we walk in the light.., we have fellowship with one another.

Note: The speaker conceives that there probably are people actually walking in the light; thus, they are having fellowship.

The reason why God can do this - place a believer in fellowship with Himself - thus cleansing that believer of sin.................

..........the reason why God is justified in doing this - the reason why God does not violate His own holiness and absolute justice when he places a sinful believer in fellowship with Himself, is explained in the second half of verse 7:


"and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin." =

Because the believer has appropriated what our Lord Jesus Christ did on the cross through his, the believer's, once for all time act of faith in Christ as Savior, then that believer has available to him a cleansing - a payment of the penalty - for his sins relative to eternal life and relative to temporal life. (Temporal sins = the day to day sins of the believer which take him out of fellowship with God but not out of eternal life). A believer can have fellowship with God because of what God the Son did on the cross. God could not cleanse a believer from his temporal sins without a penalty having already been paid and thereby satisfying God's Holiness and Justice. God cannot just forgive and cleanse a man of his sin without exacting a payment for those transgressions. That would be letting the man get away with doing evil. So it is the literal blood of Jesus Christ which was shed for the believer which provides the means by which God can continually cleanse the repentant/confessing believer from his sin and continually bring that believer back into fellowship with Himself. Just as salvation is not accomplished by anything a person thinks, says or does; so fellowship is not accomplished by anything a person does either - just an acknowledgment, an acceptance of one's shortcomings, (1 Jn 1:9). It is all by the grace of God - all to His credit - to His exclusive glory. Just as God is justified in saving a believer unto eternal life because of what His Son did on the cross, so God is also justified in bringing a believer into fellowship with Himself because of the blood which was shed at Calvary. It is not the action of confessing one's sins which justifies God in bringing a child of His into fellowship with Himself but it is solely the work of His Son on the cross.

[What this verse is saying is very well put by Zane Hodges in his commentary on 1 John in the Bible Knowledge Commentary, op. cit., p. 885]:

"It is significant that John talked of walking "in" the light, rather than according to the light. To walk according to the light would require sinless perfection and would make fellowship with God impossible for sinful humans. To walk in it, however, suggests instead openness and responsiveness to the light. John did not think of Christians as sinless, even though they are walking in the light, as is made clear in the last part of this verse. For John added that "the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from every sin." This statement is grammatically coordinate with the preceding one, "We have fellowship with one another." The statement of verse 7, in its entirety, affirms that two things are true of believers who walk in the light: (a) they are in fellowship with God and (b) they are being cleansed from every sin."

[Dr. McGee states, op. cit., p. 761]:

"The important thing is where we [believers] walk, not how we walk. Have we come into the presence of God and allowed the Word of God to shine upon [your] sinful hearts?....

Now, suppose you are a child of God, and you are living in sin - but you see it now in the light of the Word of God. Have you lost your salvation?....John says, 'And the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.' That word "cleanseth is in the present tense - Christ's blood just keeps on cleansing us from all sin. You haven't lost your salvation, but you have lost your fellowship, and you cannot regain your fellowship with God until you are cleansed."

IX) [1 Jn 1:6-8]:

(v. 6) "If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.

(v. 7) But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

(v. 8) If we [believers] claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us."


"If we [believers] claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us" =

The believer's dilemma to having fellowship with God is that even he cannot truthfully claim to be without a sin nature nor without acts of sin, for God has declared it otherwise.

Verse 8 of 1 John chapter 1 eradicates the second false way which men attempt to walk with God: Men claiming to be without sin.

"sin" = "hamartian" = sin, singular = the sin nature which commits acts of sin, (cp. Ro 7:17, 20-21).

This verse can be a startling one. If we believers thought that we were without sin for the moment, (i.e., had no sin nature which constantly expresses itself with sinful thoughts, words and deeds), then 1 John 1:8 refutes that thought. God says, through the words of the Apostle John, that believers who claim to be for a moment without sin are not telling the truth. "The truth is not in" them, they are actually deceiving themselves. A believer may not be conscious of sin in his life or having a sin nature which produces those acts of sin, but this does not indicate that there is a sinless condition. A believer who considers himself as not having sinned for a time is deceiving himself, his eyes are not on God's Word. He is neither walking in the light of God's holiness nor keeping his eyes upon the Lord Jesus Christ through the careful examination of the Word of God.

[McGee, op. cit., p. 762]:

"Another method which is often used is an attempt to bring man up to God's level. They say that man has reached sinless perfection and that he is living on that very high plateau. Well, John deals with that approach. Listen to him -"

[Zane Hodges, op. cit., pp. 62-63]:

"There is danger here. When we are open before God and walking in true fellowship with the Father and the Son, we may not be conscious of the fact that we need continuous cleansing from 'the blood of Jesus Christ.' Therefore, we may be tempted to claim that we are free from all sin, at least for the moment. But the fact that we are not conscious of any sin does not mean that we do not have any. Our own deep-seated sinfulness guarantees that at no point in time - however long or short - may we rightly claim to 'have no sin."

[Footnote #5, p. 73]:

"Numerous commentators have claimed a special sense for the words 'we have no sin,' referring them to sin as a principle within us... or taking them as 'the equivalent of having a sinful character or disposition'... But this is clearly an overrefinement that goes against Johannine usage elsewhere. The Greek phrase echein hamartian occurs elsewhere in the New Testament only in John's Gospel... In all these places, the obvious meaning seems to be to bear present guilt for some particular sin."

In fact, anyone who does make such a claim is a victim of self-deception: 'we deceive ourselves'. The apostle is obviously thinking those who really believe this claim about themselves, and not those who make the claim hypocritically. Someone has humorously suggested that if a man makes this claim, he does not deceive his wife, his children, or his friends - but only himself!

A sincere claim to sinlessness, even if intended to cover only a brief period of our experience, betrays the fact that 'the truth is not in us' in any effective or dynamic way. It would be a gratuitous mistake to think that the words 'the truth is not in us' indicate that the person in question is not saved. The apostle continues to use first person pronouns, 'we' and 'us', just as he has done from verse 5 on. The claims under consideration in verses 5-10 are ones that true Christians could make. Indeed, the claim made in this verse is precisely the type of claim a Christian might make if he was having the experience described in verse 7. We are warned, therefore, that even when we feel closest to God, we should remember that this closeness is not due to our being free of sin. Instead, as has been pointed out, only 'the blood of Jesus Christ' makes such closeness possible, since we are never at any time free from the taint of wickedness.

If 'the truth' has its proper effect upon us, if it is dynamically in control of our thinking, we will not fall into this trap. If we do fall into it, 'the truth is not in us' as an active and controlling force that shapes our thoughts and attitudes.'

[Zane Hodges, (B.K.C., op. cit., p. 885), states]:

'If Christians understand the truth that God's Word teaches about the depravity of the human heart, [cp Romans chapter 7] they know that just because they are not conscious of failure does not mean that they are free from it. If the truth is 'in' them as a controlling, motivating influence, this kind of self-deception will not take place. Whether someone claims to be 'without sin' for a brief period of time or claims it as a permanent attainment, the claim is false."

As a matter of fact, verse 10, which ends this section of 1 John, confirms that a believer cannot claim to be sinless even for a brief period of time at the risk of calling God a liar because of what God has said in His Word:

1) [Compare 1 Jn 1:10]:

"If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives."

X) [1 Jn 1:9]:

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us these sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."


"If we confess our sins" =

"ean homologOmen ......tas ....hamartias hEmOn " =

"If ....we should confess the ....sins............our"

"If" = "ean" =

The Greek text indicates a third class if-then situation: if we believers confess: maybe you will and maybe you won't say the same thing to God that He is saying to us about specific sins in our lives, i.e., that we have committed them.

"we should confess" = "homologomen" = present tense, active voice, subjunctive mood, second person plural. The confession or acknowledgment of one's sins is what the Greek word = "homologomen" means. Notice that the verb is in the subjunctive mood = objective possibility, maybe one will and maybe one won't. Considering the fact that a believer cannot claim to be without sin at any moment, then constant present tense confession is needed in order to maintain God's temporal forgiveness so as to remain in fellowship with Him in one's temporal life. The word literally means, 'we are saying the same thing':

"homologomen" = we believers are saying the same thing (that God the Holy Spirit has said to us - He has brought our sins to our attention) = we are confessing our sins:

"homo" = same

"logomen" = we say = This comes from the Greek verb ="lego" = to speak or to say.

[Vines Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, by W.E. Vine, Revell Co, Old Tappan, N.J., 1981, p.224]:

"HOMOLOGEO, lit., to speak the same thing (homos, same, lego, to speak), to assent, accord, agree with,....... to confess by way of admitting oneself guilty of what one is accused of, the result of inward conviction, [which comes from God the Holy Spirit], 1 John 1:9..."

From 1 John verse 7 we have, "but if we walk in the light". Walking in the light in verse 7 is saying the same thing as "If we confess our sins.." in verse 9. The issue in the phrase in verse 7 of walking in the light is not a matter of walking with God through one's own effort. It is actually a matter of recognition of one's own depravity - of recognition of one's incompatibility with the Absolute Holiness and Righteousness of Christ. Walking in the light is not a matter of one's effort at all - and neither is confessing one's sins. Observe in 1 John 1:7 that the phrase is "but if we walk in the light" not 'but if we walk according to the light.'

In order to walk in the light, Christians are commanded to be discerning of what is right and what is wrong. This necessitates an earnest study of doctrines taught in the Bible and a constant acknowledgment to God when one does not conform to the standard of God's Holiness. This concept is stated in verse 9.

This confession is not a deed but an admission, an acceptance of guilt. And by this acceptance a believer is freed by God of ALL sin. All of the believer's daily sins up to the point of confession are completely cleansed. This is like salvation in that the cleansing we receive is by accepting our guilt and trusting in God to make it right. When salvation occurs, however, our sins are cleansed for all eternity by being promised a new nature - a new righteousness from Christ, (Rom 3:21-24). When confession of sin occurs in a believer, that believer's sins up to that moment are cleansed relative to now being placed back into fellowship with God - no longer under His discipline, (Hebrews 12:4-6) - no longer grieving the Holy Spirit with sin, (Eph 4:17-30).


"He is faithful and just and will forgive us these sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."

"He is faithful and just" = God "is faithful" because He is Who He is: Absolute Faithfulness. Examine God's Word and you will find 100% faithfulness in the fulfillment of prophecy and promises. Examine especially the unfathomable gift of the life of the Son of God faithfully dying on the cross and rising from the dead for our sins as promised. So much the more will God be faithful in forgiving His child of temporal sins.

"He is faithful and just", (cont.) = God "is just" = His justice is not impugned by forgiving the believer of his temporal sins because God Himself has already paid the penalty for those sins even before they were committed - both for eternal life and for temporal fellowship, (1 Jn 1:7; 2:2).

"and [God] will forgive us these sins" = Let's review verse 9 from the Greek text with respect to the word "these":

ean homologomen......... tas .hamartias emon

if ....we confess ..............the sins ...........our

pistos ...estin .kai dikaios.....ina

faithful He is and righteous that

aphe ..................emon tas ...hamartiao

He may forgive us .....these sins

"these" = Most translations indicate that God will forgive us 'our' sins; but the Greek indicates that it is "these" sins which are being confessed that are referred to as being forgiven - there is no possessive "our" = in this part of the verse. So the correct rendering should be:

aphe ..................emon tas ...hamartiao

He may forgive us .....these sins

"and purify us from all unrighteousness." = the answer is that upon a believer's confession of his known sins - those sins which are brought to his attention by God the Holy Spirit - God then forgives that believer of those sins he has confessed; and furthermore, He purifies that believer from ALL of that believer's unrighteousness including those sins which he is not even aware of. The believer is then cleansed of temporal sins on the basis of what his Savior did for him on the cross. That believer, for the moment, is in fellowship with God, i.e., abiding in Christ until he violates a principle from God's Word again.


[Zane Hodges, The Epistles of John, op. cit., p. 63]:

"It is hardly worth refuting the incredible view sometimes advanced that 1 John 1:9 is meant for the unsaved. Nowhere in the Johannine literature is 'confession of sin' given as a condition for having eternal life. Faith is the only condition John knows for this [cf. John 3:16; 5:24; 6:47; 1 John 5:1, 12, 13; and passim]. Moreover, this view of the verse flies in the face of the first person plural that controls verses 5 to 10. See the discussion of the first person plural under verse 6.)"



Incidentally, feeling sorry for ones sins may or may not accompany the "homologomen" = "confessing" of ones sins to God. According to His Word, all that God requires is that one acknowledge back to Him the sins that are brought to mind. The biblical kind of repentance which is the noun form of the Greek verb "metanoeo" = to repent, (cp Mt 3:2; Mk 6:12; Lk 17:3; Acts 2:38; 17:30), means to change ones mind about acknowledging that one does have shortcomings in ones life. This is to say that when one repents it is synonymous with one who is a believer acknowledging to God that he does continually fall short of the holiness of God, (cp Ro 7:19). Therefore the word which is translated "repent" in Scripture relative to salvation and temporal forgiveness of daily sins in ones life does not refer to feeling sorry for one's sins. The word "repentance" is translated from the Greek word "metanoias" which means a turn about, a deliberate change of mind resulting in a change of direction in thought. To repent is to turn from one's sin with respect to acknowledging that it is a problem in ones life which one needs God to deal with.

Vines, (Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, W.E. Vine, Revell Publishing, Old Tappan, New Jersey, 1981, pp. 279-280), states:

"METANOEO, lit., to perceive afterwards (meta, after, implying change, noeo, to perceive; [comes from the Greek noun] nous, the mind, the seat of moral reflection), in contrast to pronoeo, to perceive beforehand, hence signifies to change one's mind or purpose..." ).


Compare what David, a believer, states in Psalm 32:5:

1) [Ps 32:5]:

"I [David] acknowledged my sin to Thee,

And my iniquity did not hide;

I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the LORD'

And Thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin."

Note that old testament saints were saved unto eternal life in the same faith alone in Christ (the Messiah Savior) alone way except that they looked forward to the time of the cross, (ref. Ro 4:1; Jn 3:16; Heb 11:4, 13); whereas church age believers look back in time, (Eph 1:3-2:9). Fellowship with God for old testament believers came as a result of confession and practice of various acts such as stipulated under Mosaic Law, (cp Lev 4:3, 5:5; 5:15-19; Ex 30:19-21, 40:11-12, 30-31; Pr 28:13; Ps 32:5).

2) [Compare Lev 5:5-6]:

(v. 5) "When anyone is guilty in any of these ways [vv. 1-4], he must confess in what way he has sinned

(v. 6) and, as a penalty for the sin he has committed, he must bring to the LORD a female lamb or goat from the flock as a sin offering; and the priest shall make atonement for him for his sin."

The sacrifice of a goat or a lamb under certain Mosaic Law provisions was meant to be a picture of an individual's acknowledgment to God of certain sins committed which then results in God's forgiveness of those 'confessed' sins:

3) [Lev 4:27-35]:

(v. 27) "Now if anyone of the common people sins unintentionally in doing any of the things which the LORD has commanded not to be done, and becomes guilty.

[i.e., becomes aware of his sin]

(v. 28) if his sin, which he has committed is made known to him, then he shall bring for his offering a goat, a female without defect, for his sin which he has committed.

(v. 29) And he shall lay his hand on the head of the sin offering, and slay the sin offering at the place of the burnt offering.

(v. 30) And the priest shall take some of its blood with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering; and all the rest of its blood he shall pour out at the base of the altar.

(v. 31) Then he shall remove all its fat, just as the fat was removed from the sacrifice of peace offerings; and the priest shall offer it up in smoke on the altar for a soothing aroma to the LORD. thus the priest shall offer it up in smoke on the altar for a soothing aroma to the LORD. Thus the priest shall make atonement for him, and he shall be forgiven.

(v. 32) But if he brings a lamb as his offering for a sin offering, he shall bring it, a female without defect.

(v. 33) And he shall lay his hand on the head of the sin offering, and slay it for a sin offering in the place where they slay the burnt offering.

(v. 34) And the priest is to take some of the blood of the sin offering with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering; and all the rest of its blood he shall pour out at the base of the altar.

(v. 35) Then he shall remove all its fat, just as the fat of the lamb is removed from the sacrifice of the peace offerings, and the priest shall offer them up in smoke on the altar, on the offerings by fire to the LORD. Thus the priest shall make atonement for him in regard to his sin which he has committed, and he shall be forgiven."

4) [Compare Pr 28:13]:

"He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper,

But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion."


Notice that verse 9 cannot be speaking of salvation unto eternal life since it requires an individual to confess particular sins on an ongoing basis. Recall that salvation is received on a once for all time act of faith alone in Christ alone as Savior. This results in an irreversible spiritual birth and an irrevocable promise of eternal life. There are no requirements of an individual other than a one time expression of faith in Christ and certainly no ongoing qualifiers built into God's plan of salvation, (Eph 2:8-9; 1:13-14; Ro 11:29).

XI) [1 Jn 1:10]:

"If we [believers] claim we have not sinned, we make Him [God] out to be a liar and His Word has no place in our lives."


"If we" = If we believers = recall that this part of John's epistle was written exclusively to believers.

1) [Cp 1 Jn 2:1-2]:

(v. 1) "My little children, I am writing these things to you that you may not sin. And if anyone [any one believer] sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous;.

(v. 2) and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only but also for those of the whole world."

The above passage states that John is writing to those who are his "dear children" for whom is provided an Advocate with the Father whenever that child sins in order to successfully defend that child against receiving eternal condemnation - i.e., John is writing to believers. Unbelievers do not have an Advocate until they become believers.


"If we [believers] claim we have not sinned" =

1) [Eph 5:1-14]:


Compare a passage from Ephesians chapter 5 which verifies the possibility of born again believers sinning yet not losing their salvation:

Ephesians 5:1-14 exhorts believers to imitate God in their daily walk. In so doing it indicates the undesirability and the consequences of a disobedient life. Verses 7-12 indicate the shamefulness of going back to the disgusting lifestyle of the world after Christ had sacrificed Himself so that the believer would not have to be a slave to sin and suffer eternal condemnation, (v. 2). The passage says to act instead like the person that a believer is: a child of light possessing eternal life, (v. 8), rather than to act like the world and suffer the consequence of losing one's inheritance in, (and not one's destiny to), the kingdom of Christ for being immoral, (v. 5):

b) (v. 1) Therefore [Christians, (v. 3)] be imitators of God, as beloved children [believers];

["Therefore, be imitators..". = Paul is commanding Christians in this passage, (Eph 14:1b - 3; 13:30-32), who are eternally secure, (Eph 4:30; Jn 10:28) to be imitators of God]

c) (v. 2) and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

d) (v. 3) But do not let immorality or any impurity or greed even be named among you, as is proper among saints;

[Notice that Paul indicates the proper behavior for saints: moral, righteous behavior - as opposed to improper behavior: "immorality," and "impurity" and "greed". This strongly implies that saints can behave improperly and still be called saints, i.e., still have eternal life]

e) (v. 4) and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.

f) (v. 5) For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, or one who is an idolator, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ, even God.

"has an inheritance" = a disobedient believer will not receive an inheritance of any kind when that child of God, (Eph 5:1), goes to heaven. That child has been disinherited from any rewards but remains a saved child who will go to heaven but with precious few rewards and inheritance, (Eph 4:30; 1 Cor 3:11-15)]

g) (v. 6) Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience"

"sons of disobedience" = those who disobey the gospel, i.e., those who do not believe in Christ as Savior, are defined as sons of disobedience, i.e., sons of Satan, unbelievers. The only requirement of the Gospel is to believe it, (Jn 3:16; Eph 2:8-9). So to disobey the gospel can only mean to disbelieve in it. Compare 1 Pet 1:18-22, 2:6-8. 1 Pet 4:17 teaches that to obey the gospel is to believe it, to disobey the gospel is to disbelieve it. Compare Eph 2:1-3 = unbelievers are disobedient & follow Satan.

i) [Jn 3:36]:

Compare Jn 3:36 which contains the Greek word "apeithon" = "disbelieving one", (nominative participle) = refusing to believe in the Son:

"Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects

[= 'apeithon' = refuses to believe, i.e., rejects the Son as his Savior]

will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him."

ii) [Compare Jn 3:18]:

"Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son."

Notice that here in John 3:18 that the only condition presented for being condemned is to not believe in the name of God's one and only Son. Compare Jn 8:42-47 = those who do not believe in Christ belong to their father the devil, i.e., are not saved. Since the sole condition on the part of the individual is to receive eternal life is to trust alone in Christ alone


since the sole condition of condemnation unto the Lake of Fire, i.e., since the only thing that gets you condemned to hell is not ever trusting alone in Christ alone as Savior and

since disobeying the gospel of salvation gets you condemned to hell then disobeying the gospel of salvation is the same thing as disbelieving it. One can disobey by doing something 'out of the line of the authority that you are under' and one can also disobey by believing something out of line.

1 cont.) [Eph 5:1-14 cont.]:

g) (v. 6 cont.) Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of "apeitheias" = disobedience [noun form of the same verb, ''apeithon'', as in Jn 3:36 above]

h) (v. 7) Therefore [you believers] do not be "oummetochoi" = joint partakers [in disobedience, disbelief and sin] with them,

[Do not be joint participators in sin with unbelievers = This does NOT say as some maintain, 'Do not be joint partakers of God's wrath with unbelievers' because one would not, as a believer, participate in such wrath, (1 Thes 1:10; 5:9). So Eph 5:7, quoted above, commands believers not to sin as unbelievers do; but it does NOT indicate that believers would be condemned to Hell if they led sinful lives]

i) (v. 8) For you [believers] were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; [so therefore] walk as children of light

j) (v. 9) (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth),

k) (v. 10) [so do not sin by] trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.

l) (v. 11) And do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, [which are characteristic of the unsaved] but instead even expose them;

m) (v. 12) for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret.

n) (v. 13) But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light,

[The light of the righteousness of Christ which evidences itself via God the Holy Spirit in the conscience of every believer. Cp 1 Jn 1:5-7; Ro 9:1]

1 cont.) [Eph 5:1-14 cont.]:

o) (v. 14) For this reason it [Scripture] says,

'Awake, sleeper,

And arise from the dead,

And Christ will shine on you"

This verse contains a quotation from a combination of Old Testament passages or perhaps from an early Christian hymn. In any case the words speak of a believer who has committed "deeds of darkness" who is commanded to wake up and rise from the dead as he is involved with the deeds of evildoers. Here is a Christian who has no deeds, i.e., divine good works, (Eph 2:10; I Cor 3:11-15). His faith - his very life - is considered dead by Scripture and the God Who inspired that Scripture. This Christian is not physically dead nor spiritually dead. He is temporally dead, dead meaning useless in the same way that faith without deeds is dead = useless to God, (Jas 2:17, 26). He is out of fellowship with God. He walks in darkness. Having grieved God the Holy Spirit with his sin, (Eph 4:30), his soul is separated from the righteousness of God and is useless to God until that sin is dealt with, (1 Jn 1:5-10). While he is in this state of temporal death, under the control of his sin nature, he produces nothing of eternal value, (Ro 8:8). Romans 8:6a says that the mind of sinful man is death. The man described in Eph 5:14 is a sinful believer - a believer who is not under the control of the Spirit but under the control of the sin nature.

i) [Compare Gal 5:13-15]:

(v. 13) "You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.

(v. 14) The entire Law is summed up in a single command: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'

(v. 15) If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other."

XI cont.) [1 Jn 1:10 cont.]:

"If we [believers] claim we have not sinned, we make Him [God] out to be a liar and His Word has no place in our lives."


"If we claim we have not sinned" =

"we have not sinned" = "ouch emartekamen" = we have not committed acts of sin in our daily lives so no confession is needed, (v. 9).

Verse 9 speaks of believers admitting to God acts of sin in their daily lives in order to be forgiven and purified from all unrighteousness and have fellowship with God restored. Then in verse 10, if any believer claims to not have not sinned in the light of God's command in verse 9 to confess one's daily sins then God says that "we make Him out to be a liar and His Word has no place in our lives." So the context of verse 9 which presumes that believers do commit daily acts of sin and provides the remedy of confession continues to verse 10 which addresses the believer who denies having sinned indicating his denial of the need to confess anything resulting in the declaration that he is making God out to be a liar and that God's Word has no place in his life.


"If we claim we have not sinned we make Him [God] out to be a liar and His Word is not in us" =

Notice that this verse is referring to believers as if they have been asked the question of ‘have we sinned.’ So in the present moment we are answering the question with the answer, ‘we have not sinned’ = aorist tense: completed action, which has in view our immediate past, i.e., our current walk as believers before God - considering the context of the entire passage, (esp. v. 7). The false answer is ‘We have not sinned’ which has in view not our past before we got saved but the immediate moment in the past to which the question, ‘have we sinned’ addresses - our walk with God as believers from moment to moment in this mortal life. God’s word defines sin and we are to look at our walk and admit to Him when we have sinned. At no time can we claim "we have not sinned" in this life for that would make God out to be a liar. If God has made provision for our sins when we believers commit them, then that infers that we believers do sin:

[1 Jn 1:9]:

"If we confess our sins, [present tense] He is faithful and just and will forgive us these sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."

So sins of the past before one got saved are not in view, nor are only sins committed in ignorance in view because this has not been expressly stipulated in the passage anywhere. This verse 10 directly parallels verse 8 which has sins of the present moment in view which is corroborated by the present tense provision of verse 9 quoted immediately above.

Verse 10 then considers the possibility that we believers are not homologomen = admitting to, confessing those sins that we have committed, (v. 9) - that we believers are claiming not to have sinned, (v. 10) in spite of walking in the light of God's holiness, (v. 7), so that the light of God's perfection can bring out the imperfections in the believers' daily lives. Thus we make God out to be a liar for Scripture says differently and His Word is not in us, (v. 10).

[Zane Hodges, The Epistles of John, op. cit., pp. 63-64]:

"Instead of denying our sinfulness, however sincerely, we should be prepared to acknowledge it. It is true that, as we walk in the light in fellowship with God, at any given time we may not be conscious of our sinfulness. But 'the light' which shines forth from the God with Whom we have fellowship has a revelatory role to play in our lives. As long as we walk in that light, we are in a position to be shown our failures; when that happens we should 'confess' them....

The exposure of our sin by the light confronts us with a challenge to the fellowship in which we are walking with God. If we deny what the light shows us, we have ceased to be honest and open with God and fellowship ends. But 'if we confess' (Greek: homologe§, 'agree, admit, acknowledge') the 'sins' that the light reveals, we can depend on God to 'forgive' them and 'to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.' If this happens, fellowship continues.

An analogy can be found in a man who has just put on a suit which he has superficially examined for dirt or spots. If he walks into a lighted room wearing that suit, he may be active in that room for some time before he actually notices a spot or two on the suit. At this point he can deny the truth of what he has seen in the light by saying, 'No, that is not a spot of dirt but a part of the weave of the fabric.' But if he does say this (to push the analogy further) the light in effect goes out and he is now in darkness.

In the same way, a Christian can maintain his fellowship in the light by promptly confessing what God's truth reveals to him. Failure to do so plunges him into darkness. Of course, a Christian can deliberately step out of the light by deciding to do what he knows to be wrong. The Christian who deliberately chooses sin has also deliberately chosen to forfeit his openness and integrity before God. He has stepped into the darkness and can return to the light only by confession.

The importance of all this can hardly be overstated. King David, in his great psalm of confession after his sin with Bathsheba, gives expression of a simple yet profound truth. He says to God, 'Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts.' (Psalm 51:6). In another psalm we read, 'If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not heart me' (Psalm 66:18). And in the Book of Proverbs we are told, 'He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy' (Proverbs 28:13). Clearly, God values inner integrity, and the absence of this in ou hearts is precisely what it means to 'walk in darkness.'

So believers maintain fellowship with God by permitting God to enable them to study and live according to His Word which begins with acknowledging their shortcomings to God.

1) [Psalms 119:9-11]:

The Old Testament reflects this concept:

(v. 9) "How can a young man keep his way pure?

By living according to your word.

(v. 10) I seek you with all my heart;

do not let me stray from Your commands.

(v. 11) I have hidden your word in my heart

that I might not sin against You."

So how important is studying and obeying God's Word relative to sin in a believer's life? All important. Notice that the enabling not to sin in this passage in Psalms comes from God. ("do not let me stray from Your commands.") It is all by the grace of God via the faithful study and obedience to God's Word which contains God's commands to the believer for daily Christian living. It is inexplicably both. God with His indescribably infinite power and man with his finite capacity at the same time.

2) [Ephesians 5:25-26]:

This passage verifies the principle of God's gracious working of sanctification in the believer through the Word - the study of Bible doctrine:

(v. 25) "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her;

(v. 26) that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water [God the Holy Spirit, Jn 7:38-39; Ez 36:24-27] with the word."

[Hodges, op. cit., pp. 64-65]:

"But suppose that, instead of confessing as sin what the light has shown us, (v. 7), we say, that we have not sinned, what then? In that case, we make Him a liar. We have denied the testimony of His Word and thus, in effect, charged God with untruthfulness. It is inappropriate here to take the words we have not sinned as a categorical denial that we have ever or at any time sinned. Few Christians would be likely to make such a claim and, as previously stated, the passage is definitely for Christians. The sequence of thought in this passage shows us what is meant. Even while we are in fellowship with God, we are not free from the need for cleansing (verse 7); should we deny that truth, we are self-deceived (verse 8). If we confess whatever sins the light shows us, we are forgiven (verse 9). But, if we deny what the light shows us, we are making God (Who is that Light: verse 5) a liar, his word is not in us as an effective, controlling influence. Suppose, for example, that I steal something - an act which God’s word condemns. But suppose I also claim that in this case, or under some special set of circumstances, it was not really an act of theft at all - that I was somehow entitled to it. If that is my response, then I am contradicting God’s word, I am showing that His word is not a controlling force within me, and I am saying in effect that God is a liar, since He has called my act a theft and I have refused to do so. Clearly then, the connecting thread that unites verses 5 to 10 is the idea of truth or its opposite, falsehood or deception. The man who claims fellowship while in darkness is lying and not doing ‘the truth’ (verse 6). The man who thinks he has no sin is self-deceived and ‘the truth’ is not effectively at work within him (verse 8). The man who will not acknowledge as sin whatever God calls sin is calling God a liar (verse 8). The man who will not acknowledge as sin whatever God calls sin is calling God a liar, by denying the truth of His word. By contrast, the person [believer] who walks in fellowship with God agrees with the light and confesses [his sins]. For the believer, the essential essence of fellowship is our willingness to share the light with god and to agree with everything we can see in that light [which uncovers our daily sins]. When that is the case, God is pleased because He finds ‘truth in’ our ‘inward parts’ (Psalm 51:6). We can then enjoy His ongoing forgiveness and cleansing. Despite the clear teaching of this passage, from time to time it has been claimed that since the born again believer is already forgiven for his sins, he does not need to ask for it even after he commits sin. Those who take this view are mixing apples and oranges. It is true that there is a perfect and permanent forgiveness that we have ‘in christ.’ Paul speaks of it in Ephesians 1:7 ("In Him we have..the forgiveness of sins’); Ephesians 4:32 ("even as God in Christ forgave you"); and Colossians 2:13 ("And you…He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses"). Colossians 1:14 might be added, depending on how the textual evidence is taken. But this is "status truth" (also called "positional truth"). Thus "in Christ" our status is that of people who have died with Him, been buried with Him, raised with Him, and seated with Him in heavenly places (cf. Galatians 2;20; Ephesians 2:5-6; Colossians 2:12). If this is our status before God, there can be no question about our having full forgiveness, since God sees us as alive and seated before Him in His Son. The status just described is analogous to God’s full acceptance of Israel, as expressed in Balaam’s inspired utterance: "He has not observed iniquity in Jacob, nor has He seen wickedness in Israel" (Numbers 23:21). Yet, on a practical level, Israel was full of failures! Although we are seated in Christ as fully accepted and forgiven people, we live down here on earth, and our ongoing sins must receive the forgiveness of our heavenly Father if we are to be in fellowship with Him. [Notice that salvation is not in view, but fellowship with God for the eternally secure believer is] This is not hard to understand, since earthly parent/child relationships work exactly the same way. If a child has never told a parent, "I’m sorry," something is clearly wrong in the relationship, even though the child remains his parent’s child. In the same way, as born again people [through a moment of faith alone in Christ alone, (Jn 1:12)] we are permanently in the family of God; but when harmony with our Father is breached, He requires confession as a condition for restoring that harmony. That is why our Lord taught His disciples to pray daily, "Give us this day our daily bread, " and also, "Forgive us our debts" (Matthew 6:11-12). Forgiveness of sins is as urgent a daily spiritual need as daily bread is a physical need. To teach otherwise is contrary to Scripture."


JOHN CHAPTER 15:........