Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on 1 John 1:7-2:2

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See WCF 1 John 1:7-10

See WCF 6.5; 11.5; WLC 77, 149; WSC 82; BC 34; HC 1, 5, 30, 56, 72, 114

Without sin - 1 John 1:8

without sin. This phrase only shows up here in First John, but is used four times in the Fourth Gospel (see notes on Jn. 9:41; 15:22, 24; 19:11). This is the first false claim from those who have left the church. They seem to be claiming a heightened spiritual state in which they have ceased from sinning. deceive… truth. The Greek form of the word deceive is emphatic, talking about an active rejection of the truth. To say "I have no sin" or "I am sinless" denies the reality of sin. The Bible consistently teaches that everyone is guilty of sin (see notes on 1 Kgs. 8:46; Pss. 14; 143:2; Eccl. 7:20; Mk. 10:18; Rom. 3:9-26). Truth can describe God himself, or Jesus (see note on Jn. 14:6). So, this is saying that the people who claim to have stopped sinning are not Christians, that God is not in them (see notes on 2:4; 5:6).

Confess - 1 John 1:9

confess. See WCF 11.5; HC 115. When Christians confess their sins, a just God forgives them on the basis of Christ's faithfulness to the point of death for the sake of sinners. Here, John uses the plural "sins" (rather than "sin", like in v. 8). This could refer to the confession of specific sinful acts, instead of the general idea of "sin". The confession of sins is a characteristic practice of true disciples of Jesus

We have not sinned; liar - 1 John 1:10

1:10 we have not sinned… liar. John's opponents may not have claimed that they had never sinned in their lives, but, that they had not sinned since coming to know God. It is also likely that they viewed their bodies and use of material goods as morally inconsequential. In either case, verse 8 says people who deny their sinfulness do not possess the truth. This text ties the truth of Scripture, God's Word, to God's character. To deny the truth of Scripture by claiming to be sinless is equivalent to saying, 'God is a liar.'

Affirming Christian identity - 1 John 1-2

See WCF 8.8; 11.5; 18.3; WLC 55; HC 60, 126. Having addressed some of the false claims of those who left their fellowship, John now directly addresses "my dear children" affirming their Christian identity and calling them to continue in obedience to Christ

So that you will not sin - 1 John 2:1

so that you will not sin. John consistently teaches that Christians must live obediently in response to God's word (see notes on 2 Jn. 4-6; 3 Jn. 3-4). John is not affirming the positions he denied in 1:8 and 10, rather, he instructs his readers about what to do when they sin. an advocate. See BC 23, 26; HC 49. This word could also be translated as intercessor. Jesus is the ultimate advocate because of his position, righteousness, and completed work (see note on Rom. 8:34). Jesus' intercession for believers in heaven is part of his activity after his ascension, called his "session" (see note on Rom. 8:34). In his transformed humanity, Jesus represents believers before the Father as their great high priest (see notes on Hebrews 2:14-18; 4:14-16). Part of Jesus' mediating, priestly work is to guide and assists his followers in their development as his disciples.

Atoning sacrifice - 1 John 2:2

The Greek word (hilasmos), translated here as atoning sacrifice is only used twice in the NT, both times in this letter (cf. 4:10). This word has attracted a lot of debate, but it references the fundamental practice under the old covenant of satisfying God's justice (propitiation) and cleansing human sin (expiation) through animal sacrifices (see notes on Lev. 16:15-16, 30). Jesus took God's wrath for humanity's sins on himself, satisfying the righteous judgment of God in order to forgive them (see note on 1 Pet. 2:24). Jesus advocates for believers (2:1) on the basis of his sacrifice (see notes on Heb. 8-10). the whole world. See HC 1, 37, 56. See notes on Jn. 10:14-16, 25-29; 11:51-52. Jesus did not die for Jews alone, but for the whole world, meaning all people groups. So, this phrase describes all who trust Christ, spread among all the families or tribes of the earth (see notes on Jn. 11:52; 17:6, 9, 19; Rev. 5:9; 7:9). John has already made it clear that those who will be saved must confess their sins and approach God through Christ (1:9; 2:22-23; 4:15; 5:1-5, 12, 19). Therefore, John is not saying everyone will be saved. He also rules this out in 5:11-13, where he writes that those who have the Son have eternal life, but those who do not have the Son do not.

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