Why Are These Things Written?
My little children,
these things write I unto you that ye may not sin.
And if any man sin,
we have and Advocate with the Father,
Jesus Christ the righteous.
1 John 2:1
When a parent says, “You can’t do that!” does it mean a child cannot do it or he should not do it? A child probably can do it, but he should not because of the consequences. He will either be punished by the parents or hurt himself if he does what he is asked not to do.
Marketing managers state a 40% market share of medical instrumentation in the nanotechnology industry would be ideal, but they currently have 16%. Does that mean they cannot reach 40% or does it mean there is more work to be done?
There are two clear points made in the in these two examples and the text of 1 John 2:1.
First, an IDEAL is stated. “These thins write I...that ye may not sin” (v. 1). God desires we not sin. HIs word provides us with a standard to make man complete (2 Timothy 3:16-17). God commands us on how we are to handle anger, how we approach false teaching, our responsibility at home, how we approach the work of the church, and how we approach cursing and swearing. Instructions on those matters are written to keep us from sin and on the path of righteousness.
Second, the REALITY is we sin. This is implied in the words of v. 1: “And if any man sin...” This occurs when we neglect a command or go beyond the command and transgress what we are told to avoid. The unreal thing is to say we have never sinned (1 John 1:8-10). You may choose to call it something else, excuse it, or blame it on someone else, but that does not avoid the reality. We have all sinned (Romans 3:23).
One of the great passages discussing the IDEAL and REALITY about sin is Romans 7:14-16. The apostle Paul hits the IDEAL and “consents unto the law that is good” (v. 16). He states his disappointment in missing the good he hoped to accomplish and does what he hoped to avoid (v. 15).
How do you bridge the gap between the REALITY and the IDEAL about sin? This is our struggle. It is imperative we study this, because 2 Peter 3:10 speaks of the impending judgment. Then note v. 11: “Seeing that these things are thus all to be dissolved, what manner of person ought ye to be in all holy living and godliness?”
Some folks say abolish the IDEAL and keep the REALITY. Do not put pressure on people to reach a mark or goal that is impossible to reach. Let everyone have their own goal. Let them approve of what they will. If they believe it is okay for them, let it go. That is what makes America so great - the freedom to express, live, think, feel, etc. as we want. It is a copy of the image left in Judges 21:25: “Every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” Accept the fact people are sinners. They will not be any better. People are people. “We’re always going to have sin (divorce, violence, division, drugs, etc.).”
Such an attitude like the above would be anarchy (living without a leader, without rules). You create more chaos. The matters which people wish would be resolved like child abuse, hate, addiction, etc. will never end as long as we become a god unto ourselves. If, though, people want to move or get rid of the IDEAL, look at Revelation 22:19: “And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the tree of life.” Removing the IDEAL results in one being abolished by God. The same thought is expressed in Galatians 1:6-9.
Galatians 1:10 presents a clear view of the reason people like to accept the REALITY of sin. “For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant of Christ.” Two questions in this passage address how some deal with the IDEAL and the REALITY about sin. They wish to please man by removing the ideal to feel better about themselves.
If accepting the REALITY is the way we bridge the gap, it is really removing or lowering the IDEAL. We are asking others to accept us at a lower standard than the way God made us and wants us to live. We were created to reflect his image, not the world’s image.
How do you view sin? Do we let it take place? Are we quick to show and tell others what we have done? Are we more ready to broadcast the REALITY of sin or the IDEAL about sin? How many of us are quicker to tell others about a sin committed by a friend, family member, or someone in a news report than we are to tell about the need to worship God, grow in the Lord, or pray we not be delivered into temptation.
God deals with sin in REAL terms, not romanticism or fantasy or paint and dress up by referring to sin as a disease, disorder, psychological imbalance, or environmental tantrum.
God tells us sin is REAL (1 John 3:4)), hard (Proverbs 13:15), sickening (2 Peter 2:22), that it isolates us from him (Isaiah 59:1-2), and that it has consequences (Romans 6:23; Galatians 6:7). This is the REALITY of sin we cannot tolerate or dismiss.