1 John 2:1-2 – “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” NKJV
I have a preacher friend who adds, “If we sin? No, when we sin…” He then usually says, “Some hold varying doctrinal views regarding grace, salvation, eternal security, etc. We believe in backsliding as evidenced by how frequently we practice it.” He was serious yet attempting to add some levity and call attention to the humanness of mankind. I would tend to agree it is more likely, “When” rather than “If” for most of us of today.
The truth presented by John was not focused on “if” or “when” but the Hope of an Advocate. We have the one who paid the price for our sin standing before Heaven’s Throne having poured out His sacrificial blood interceding for us. If you can have a lawyer you want one that has influence, authority, and knowledge. You want an advocate who has standing with the court and in this case, the legitimate right to plea for leniency and mercy. He died to obtain it and “if” or “when” we miss the mark and fall short He is there to plead our case for us. Not to justify our sin but to identify our repentance and therefore extend the olive branch of mercy offering His blood to cover our failure.
I believe it is biblical to strive for a sinless life. I also understand that we are flawed vessels and although we should be and are maturing in grace, we still have the potential of missing the mark. I had someone tell me once, “If you sin after you claimed to be saved it is evidence you were never truly saved.” They believe that once you have accepted Christ as your Savior there is no longer the possibility of sinning in your nature for you have been transformed and as a transformed being, you are now incapable of sin. If that were the case this passage would not exist.
I long to be righteous at all times and in all things. Yet we can take heart the words of the apostle Paul in his address to the Philippian church in 3:12-14 where he informed them of his humanity. He revealed that he recognized he had not reached a state of perfection but had turned his back on the past and continually reaching for the Hope in Christ. He was pressing toward the mark or goal, the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Although he missed the mark, at times, his ambition was spiritual perfection, and when he failed, he did not justify it but pressed toward that which was afforded by the Cross.
I am not perfect. I’m sure that is no shock to anyone and while I refuse to justify my imperfections spiritually with, “I’m only human” I also recognize that “if” or “when” I fail it is not final for I have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous. In Him, I live and move and have my being. I am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed to Him against that day. I am incredibly comforted with the knowledge that I have an Advocate with the Father.
God bless you and make this day productive!