1 John 2:1-6
My little children, these things write I to you, that you sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father…
The Apostle John presents us with a very clear and emphatic testimony to the doctrine of full and free forgiveness of sin.
I. THE SAINT IS STILL A SINNER. Our apostle says — "If any man sin." The "if" may be written in as small letters as you will, for the supposition is a matter of certainty. Far be it from us to deny that Divine grace has wrought a wondrous change, it were no grace at all if it had not. It will be well to note this change.
1. The Christian no longer loves sin; it is the object of his sternest horror. The head and the hands of Dagon are broken, although the stump remains.
2. The Christian never sins with that enormity of boasting Of which the unregenerate are guilty. His heart is broken within him when he has sinned.
3. Nor does he sin with the fulness of deliberation that belongs to other men. He who can carefully arrange and plot a transgression is still a true child of the old serpent.
4. And again, he never chews the cud of his sin; for after he has sinned, however sweet it may have been in his mouth, it becomes bitterness in his bowels.
5. The Christian, unlike other men, never finds enjoyment in his sin; he is out of his element in it. Conscience pricks him; he cannot, even if he would, sin like others.
6. You will notice, too, how different the Christian is as to the habit of sin. The ungodly man is frequent in overt deeds of rebellion, but the Christian, at least in open acts of crime and folly, rather falleth into than abideth in them.There are all these degrees of difference between the Christian and the ungodly man, and far more, for the believer is a new creature, but for all that we must come back to that with which we started — that the Christian is a sinner still.
1. He is so from the imperfection of his nature.
2. As the Christian thus sins in his devout performances, so he constantly errs in the everyday tenour of his life. Sins of omission, to wit, how many of these may be compressed into a single hour!
3. Moreover, many Christian people sin from certain peculiar infirmities. Some sin through shortness of temper. There are others who have a high and proud spirit, and if they fancy they are a little snubbed or put into the background at once they feel inclined to resent it. How many we know who have to contend with constant unbelief brought on through depression of spirits! Their nerves, perhaps, have experienced a great shock at some period in life, and constitutionally they look always at the black side of affairs. And then we all sin from the assaults of evil. The temptations of the world, when we are thrust into ungodly company, and the trials of business and even of the household, all these in unguarded moments may take the Christian off his feet.
II. OUR SINS DO NOT DEPRIVE US OF OUR INTEREST IN CHRIST. "If any man sin we have an advocate." Yes, we have Him though we do sin; we have Him still. He chose us when we were sinners; He loved us when we were dead in trespasses and sins; and He loves us still.
III. THE ADVOCATE IS PROVIDED ON PURPOSE TO MEET THE FACT THAT WE ARE STILL SINNERS.
1. "Jesus." Ah! then He is an advocate such as I want, for He loves me and takes an interest in me.
2. "Jesus Christ," the anointed. This shows His authority to plead.
3. "Jesus Christ the righteous." This is not only His character, but it is His plea. It is His character, and if my advocate be righteous then I am sure He would not take up a bad cause. What can there be asked more for the sinner than this? Jesus Christ the righteous stands up to plead for me, and pleads His righteousness; and mark, He does this not if I do not sin, but if I do sin. There is the beauty of my text.
IV. THIS TRUTH, SO EVANGELICAL AND SO DIVINE, SHOULD BE PRACTICALLY REMEMBERED. It should be practically remembered at all times. Every day I find it most healthy to my own soul to try and walk as a saint, but in order to do so I must continually come to Christ as a sinner. Make this essentially the rule of your life on particular occasions. Here let me say a word that may at once comfort and enlighten some who are in darkness. Perhaps you will tell me that your sin has had some gross aggravation about it. If you are a Christian it has, for a Christian always sins worse than other men; if the sin be not in itself so bad as other men's, it is worse in you. For a king's favourite to play the traitor is villainy indeed. Fly with a humble, contrite heart, and throw thyself at the feet of that Advocate, and by His blood He will plead for thee, and thou shalt prevail.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: