“This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” Jeremiah 31:33-34 NIV
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us. My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. I John 1:8-2:2 NIV
The Apostle John wrote the book of I John as a letter to the churches of Asia to assure the believers of their salvation and to combat a heresy called Gnosticism. One of the core Gnostic beliefs was that the body was evil and the spirit was good. Another was that since the body was evil, obeying moral law by one’s actions with their body was impossible, as it was evil, so immorality was not considered sin.
It is important to keep this in mind when reading the book of I John as John is addressing these issues directly in his writing. He clearly describes for us that God desires us to acknowledge sin as sin, confess it to Him, and allow Jesus to be our advocate before God. John tells us, Jesus is the “Righteous One” and that He is, “the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world,” I John 2:2. God desires all people to acknowledge their sin, confess it, turn from it and he is eager to have compassion on us, forgive us, and be in relationship with us. Micah 7:18-19, Psalm 32:5, and Jeremiah 31:33-34 are some of the scriptures from the Old Testament that make it clear that God has always wanted this kind of relationship with people.
This is incredibly good news! God desires a relationship with not just his people, the Jews, but anyone in the whole world. John clearly tells us this in the first book he wrote. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him,” John 3:16-17.
We who understand this, embrace this, and live this also need to share this with those we interact with. Pray about who God might want you to share this incredible news with. Is there a family member, friend, co-worker or neighbor who needs to hear that God is compassionate, forgiving, and loving? Do you know someone who needs to know that all of his or her sins have already been atoned for? Consider, pray and share.
By Grace Hunter