1 John 1:5-2:6
Have you ever noticed that when you borrow another person’s car you are much more careful with it than your own? You don’t want to eat in it so that you don’t spill anything. You tend to take a little extra time looking for oncoming traffic. Why is that? When someone lends you something, you realize that they are doing it out of the kindness of their heart and that they didn’t really have to do it in the first place. Out of consideration for that person you would never think of abusing their property the way you do your own.
As we read 2:1-2, we get this same sense with Jesus; realizing that He has loaned us something special. First of all, John said that the point of his letter was that he didn’t want Christians to sin. That’s the standard. That’s the expectation. Now, for most of us, we look at that and think, “Well, forget it. I’m out. I sin all the time, even when I don’t want to. If the standard is no sin, then God’s just going to throw me on the scrap heap.” Read v. 2 again. Here we see the loan from Jesus. John says, “BUT”, if anybody does sin (whew) Jesus is our defense attorney in the court of God. Here’s where the car analogy comes into play. Does Jesus have to be our defense attorney? Do we deserve to have Jesus standing there, claiming
His own blood as our defense against the wrath of the holy and righteous God? No, absolutely not. Jesus, out of the kindness of His heart is standing before the Father; He has lent us his car, so to speak. This is the grace of God. It is on loan to us. Do we treat it like that?
Many people have taken this passage as a license to live however they please. They look at 1 John 1:9 as a ticket to “party” because they believe, based on this verse, that God must forgive them if they sin. The self-speak, rationalization goes like this, “I know that what I am about to do is wrong, but I’m going to do it anyway, then ask for forgiveness, and, because of 1 John 1:9, God has to forgive me. I can have my cake and eat it, too.” Whoa! Time Out! Read on my friend. John throws the yellow flag on that kind of thinking and rebuts it with vv. 4-5. If a person truly is in Christ, that kind of thinking would not be present in their mind. If someone knows God, then they are being transformed from the inside out and are attempting with every ounce of strength they have, to walk as Jesus walked.
Perhaps the key to this passage is to understand what it means to know God. John said that if anyone says, “I know God” then he would behave as Jesus did. Many people know about God, but they do not know Him. To know God, in this context, is not the possession of factual data regarding proper theology, rather, it is the relational interchange between two persons. It’s like the difference between knowing George Washington and knowing your spouse. You can read about Washington and appreciate him from a distance, but you can know your spouse experientially; involving the mind, body, and spirit. That is how we are called to know God. We need to step into His light, to be permeated by His life-giving presence, so that our mind, spirit, and body can be transformed from the inside out.
This is the expectation of every follower of Christ. So, walk in God’s light today and give thanks that Jesus has given you a wonderful gift of advocacy before the throne of God. May we never treat this grace with contempt, but, rather, throw ourselves into the life of Jesus and be made into His image!