Sin and the light


PrayerOur Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one. (Matthew 6:9-13).  Amen.

Main Scripture:

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin (1 John 2:1a).

Associated Scriptures:

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?  By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer (Romans 6:1-3)?

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.  Therefore, do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.  Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.  For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace (Romans 6:11-14).

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:1-2)

Correlative Quotes:

Holiness of life is the best proof that we know God. It matters not how readily we can speak about God, nor how much we suppose that we love him, the great test is, do we keep his commandments? What a heart-searching test this is! How it should humble us before the mercy-seat![1] – Charles Spurgeon

If his word dwell richly in us, it will teach us to deny ungodliness, &c.; to forsake as well as confess sin, and not after confession, to turn again to folly, or (as those that are dog sick) to their former vomit.[2] – John Trapp

John wrote these things that we might not sin. Other scriptures speak of special provision made to keep us from falling: the point here is that, if we enter into the holy fellowship of which 1 John 1:3 speaks, we shall be preserved. The enjoyment of that fellowship excludes sin; just as sin excludes from the enjoyment of that fellowship, until it is confessed.[3] – F. B. Hole


The ultimate expression of the Christian life is walking in the light.  Here in the first few words of 1John 2:1, we feel his deep desire that as the children of God we will not sin; it is the whole purpose for him writing this letter.  When we walk in God’s light or truth, being directed by His Spirit, we resist temptation and live in fellowship with God.  John’s absolute hope is that that we would live a blameless life continually honoring and glorifying God.  Sin is what separates us from that hope.

There are several reasons why sin separates us from God, here are just a few.

  1. Sin shows our defiance of God: “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17, NKJV). Have you ever looked an action right in the face and said, “I know this is wrong, but I am going to do it anyway?” I have. Well, that’s deliberate defiance against God and it is the worst of all sins.  Premeditated actions against the will of God for our lives immediately separate us from close fellowship with God.  If we are truly born again, our willful actions bring with them remorse, grief, and conviction.  There is no lasting pleasure in defying God.
  2. Sin mocks the sacrifice of Jesus: “Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?” (Hebrews 10:29-30, NKJV)? It is foolish to renounce the seriousness of unrighteous actions. Jesus took sin seriously.  He suffered but withstood a beating that almost killed Him, so that he could hang on a cross until dead.  All this because of our choice to sin.  I’d say that’s taking sin passionately!  When we sin, we of our own volition, ridicule the suffering of Jesus and become members of the crowd crying, “Crucify Him.”
  3. Sin indicates a lack of spiritual control: “The fruit of the Spirit is…self-control” (Galatians 5:22). It is the nature of the unbeliever to sin. Sinning is not as much evidence of the lack of self-control as it is an action that indicates no spiritual control.  Sin is as much action against us as it is against God.  Self-control is the work of God’s grace in us.
  4. Sin breaks our relationship with God: Those who have not been born again and do not have a personal relationship with God, sin and feel no regret. If we have the assurance of our salvation and commit sin, we feel deep regret because we are being convicted by the Spirit of God for our actions (John 16:8).  As we learned in 1John 1:7 we have communion with God only when we are walking with Him.

Dishonoring God by our transgressions does not cut off our access to God nor does it cost us our salvation.  However, we do need to take positive action.  We can rectify this situation by reintroducing intentional interaction.

First, you can avoid temptation.  We can’t always resist temptation, but we can avoid putting ourselves in positions where we know that we will be tempted.  If we have an issue with gambling, for instance, we can avoid casinos.  Avoidance is a proven way to escape temptation.

Second, we can pray that the Holy Spirit will take away the desire for sins to which we easily fall prey.  As we pray for strength the Spirit gives us of His power to overcome or avoid temptation.  Finally, we can use scripture to thwart temptation.  When Jesus was tempted, challenged by Satan in the wilderness, in order to block the wiles of the devil, He used scripture to resist (Matthew 4:1-11).

Summary Statement:

I once heard a radio pastor say, “Do all in your power to resist sin when you are tempted.”  I thought, “Good luck with that one!”  In verse 2:1a John tells us that he is writing this letter to his spiritual offspring with the purpose of keeping them from sin.  His hope for our success is not based on our own ability to resist sin, but on our recognition of temptation and then our leaning on the power of the Spirit of God to overcome temptation. 

It is only through His power that we can adequately resist and ultimately escape temptation (Romans 5:16, 2Thessalonians 3:2-5).  We are the children of God, born of the Spirit of God.  God does not want us to sin so He has given us His Spirit, living in us, to protect us from sin.  We are protected from sin by avoidance of temptation, prayer, and quoting or reading scripture.  These three actions will not only be honored by God but will be powered by His Spirit.

Lesson within the Lesson:

In what ways is our sin an affront to God?

Can you think of a time that you deliberately disobeyed God?

What were the results of your disobedience?

What actions can we take to reestablish our fellowship with God?

[1] Charles Spurgeon, Spurgeon’s Verse Expositions of the Bible,

[2] John Trapp, John Trapp Complete Commentary, Public Domain, © 1647, Printed by A. M. for John Bellamy at the sign of the Three Golden Lions, Cornbill. P. 946.

[3] Frank Binford Hole, Hole's Old and New Testament Commentary, Public Domain,