1:5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 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 cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. 2:1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
One of my favorite sites to visit along the coast is Cabrillo National Monument, a lighthouse in San Diego, CA. While lighthouses are beautiful and fun to visit, they also served a practical purpose before high-tech navigational devices became the norm. Their purpose was to help ship captains avoid crashing into the shore and to lead them safely home. In the beginning of his letter, John sets up some proverbial lighthouses. They have the same intention as Cabrillo Lighthouse – to lead us safely back to shore.
There are four words that epitomize the lighthouse John erects:
Each one of these words reminds us of the same glorious truth – that in Christ, there is always the invitation back into the light. As one reads through 1 John, the letter can feel fairly black and white. In 1 John 1:6, John wrote, “If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice truth.” The statement could be read to mean we are inevitably and eternally outside of the light if we sin. But John guarded against that faulty assumption by reminding his readers that if (or when) they do sin, they have cleansing and forgiveness and they have a powerful sacrificial advocate.
It’s important for followers of Jesus to remember that they have an advocate… and an accuser. John made it clear in 1 John 2:1 that Jesus is our advocate and defender. He also painted a picture of Satan as the accuser. In Revelation 12:10, he recorded, “And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, ‘Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.’” Satan is specifically the accuser of those who follow the way of Jesus! If we forget that, we can get off course, believe his lies, and crash into the shore. John sets up Jesus as our lighthouse to speak into the dark words of our accuser. As our advocate, he speaks over us words of love, wholeness, life, restoration, peace, and salvation.
Today, take time to confess before the Lord. As you do, repeat the words: cleansed, forgiven, advocate, and propitiation. Jesus is our lighthouse and his intention is to lead us out of darkness and sin and back to union with God. Let him lead you there today.
By Ryan Paulson