Do Christians sin?
"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." (1 John 2:1)
The apostle John is writing most likely to the believers in Ephesus. In chapter 1 he introduced Jesus, fellowship with our Father and the Son, and walking in the light. Walking in the light implied being honest with ourselves, God and each other about our sin, from which true fellowship with others would happen, and we would be purified from all our sin.
After that he starts the "if" sentences, and there are 21 of them in all of 1 John. I'll use only six of them including the "if" from the verse quoted at the beginning, to show that John's use of "if" are not "conditional" sentences, but "zero conditional" sentences. So, the "conditional sentences" will most likely not happen as it is based on almost an impossible condition, as in "If I win a lottery, I'll buy a house". But "zero conditional sentences" will most likely happen, or are happening, because it's part of our everyday life, as in "If you eat food, you will not feel hungry".
Let's look at those first six sentences with John's ifs in them. "If we claim to have fellowship with him...", "But if we walk in the light...", "If we claim to be without sin...", "If we confess our sins..", "If we claim we have not sinned", "But if anybody does sin...".
So does the "if" in 1 John 2:1 imply that it's unlikely that "anybody" from the believers John wrote to will sin? Because if it's true that the believers in Jesus will hardly ever sin, than that would imply that we won't sin at all, except on a rare occasion. But that is far from the truth and the reality of our lives, no matter how hard we want to hide our blackness and sinfulness from ourselves, others, the people outside Christ and from God himself.
So, let's take a look at the first sentence "But if we walk in the light...". does that mean that we will most likely not walk or hardly walk in the light? No. The grammarians teach that the if in "zero conditional sentences" may be replaced by "when". Let's see how that would look if we replace "if" for "when": "But "when" we walk in the light...". So 1 John 2:1 would look like this, "But "when" anybody does sin...".
Conclusion: Christians do SIN, every day, in many different ways, against God, others and ourselves, in thoughts, deeds, words, intentions, things we ought to do but do not, and things we ought not to do, but we do. We may not feel like we do sin (well, let's not go by feelings in this). We may deceive ourselves that we don't sin, or sin as much as the Bible says we do as believers. And we may pretend to make others think we don't sin (but others are not stupid, you know?). But we definitely will not deceive God in this issue of our sin, he can't be deceived. And he will not let God's children deceive themselves about their sinfulness, he will let them sin and fall, to remind them that they haven't reached heaven and perfection, yet. Pride comes before a fall, as the proverb goes. And pretense is hypocrisy, and that is not attractive.
Jesus said this parable, "To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” " (Luke 18:9-14)
My dear Christian friends, God is light. Let's walk in his light. Let's let his light expose our sin and darkness (darkness which is passing away). And let's be honest with ourselves, God and others about our sin and failures. We don't need to hide and be afraid anymore, because Jesus lived the righteous life in our place as a man, and Jesus took the wrath of God for our sin on the cross already. He loves us with an everlasting love, and he will not leave us as we are, he is gradually changing us by his Spirit, from glory to glory as we look at his Son Jesus Christ - his person and his finished work for us! But we have not reached heaven or perfection, yet.
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