Many people quote 1 John 1:8 and 1 John 1:10 out of context and try to use those verses to prove something they aren’t really saying. God says “Let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:40). Let’s examine these verses in 1 John and get God’s heart on what He is really trying to say to us.
This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.1 John 1:5
God is light, God is righteous, God is truth. In Him there is no darkness, lies, unrighteousness, sin. If we want to be in a relationship with God, we have to be holy and free from sin through the blood of Jesus Christ.
If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:1 John 1:6
This verses starts with the word if. There are 2 possibilities with an IF statement. Either we are obeying the Word of God or we are disobeying the Word of God. This verse says that IF we say we have fellowship with God and at the same time walk in darkness or sin, we lie. On the other hand, IF someone says they have fellowship with God and walk in the light/truth/righteousness/holiness, then they are telling the truth! 2 Timothy 2:19 says everyone that names the name of Christ should depart from sin. Don’t claim to be something you’re not. If you are in a state of sin, repent and get right with God! If you are in a state of holiness with God, then don’t be ashamed to confess it!
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.1 John 1:7
This verse starts with another IF statement. IF always implies a choice. It says if we choose to walk in the light/truth/holiness/righteousness as God is in these things, we have fellowship with God and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from ALL sin! Praise God! Freedom from sin by the blood of Jesus, as long as we choose to walk in the light.
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.1 John 1:8
We just read that it’s possible to be cleansed from all sin. Let’s remember that as we examine this verse. It’s talking about the same kind of person from verse 6, who says they have fellowship with God yet walks in darkness! To carry over the context from verse 6, this verse could say, “if we walk in darkness and say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us”. Remember this verse starts with IF. Again, we are either holy or we are wicked. There is no middle ground. Christ said either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree corrupt and its fruit corrupt. So IF we walk in the light/truth/holiness/righteousness and say we have no sin, we don’t deceive ourselves and we are telling the truth!
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
Now John tells us what to do if we are in that state of being in sin. Confess our sins! Repent! Change your mind about living in sin and instead live righteously by faith in Christ Jesus! It says God is faithful to forgive and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness. If we are then cleansed from ALL unrighteousness, there is no sin left to keep us from walking in a relationship with God. If we are cleansed from ALL unrighteousness it’s not a lie to say we are free from sin!
If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.1 John 1:10
Again, for context we can carry over John’s thought from verse 6. “If we walk in darkness and say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” 2 kinds of people can claim to be free from sin: those that are free from sin through the blood of Jesus and those that are still living in sin. This verse is exposing the hypocrisy of those that live in sin and say that they haven’t sinned. Don’t be this person, be the person from verses 7 and 9 who walk in the light/truth/righteousness/holiness and who are cleansed from ALL sin by the blood of Jesus Christ.
My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:1 John 2:1
John’s whole purpose of writing the epistle of 1 John was that they WOULD NOT SIN. He’s not going to say someone is liar for saying they are living a sin free life, if they really are living that way! It’s possible to overcome sin in this life! And yet, IF any man sin by choice, there is an advocate available, Jesus Christ! He can then cleanse that person from ALL sin by His blood.