Saturday, October 27, 2012

Five "If"s

"If" is a powerful word. If represents a choice to be made. As a software developer, I can tell you that in programming, "IF" is what separates computers from adding machines. And we, being made in God's image, are far greater than any mechanical device we could possibly create.

Let's take a look at five "If"s that occur back-to-back right in the book of First John.

1 John 1:1-10 KJV - [1] That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; [2] (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) [3] That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. [4] And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. [5] This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. [6] If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: [7] But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. [8] If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. [9] If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. [10] If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

[6] If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:

A duck is a bird, even if it occasionally dives underwater. A fish is a fish, even if it occasionally manages to leap in the air for a moment. If you say you are a Christian, but spend your time walking in darkness and doing the things that are wrong, are you sure you really are a Christian?

Now, a duck dives underwater to get something to eat, that is how it survives. We, however, have no need to dive into sin.

[7] But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

Who is the "we"? Those who believe in Jesus. Who is the "he"? Jesus. So if we walk with Him, it would be a fair guess to say we are walking together with Him, so we would be one big group walking together. We have fellowship with one another. We encourage one another. And the blood of Jesus cleans us from our sin.

Going back to my duck analogy, ducks do not stay wet after they dive in the water because they have oily feathers and skin which repel the water. If they stayed wet, they would be too heavy to fly and they would probably sink in the water. We as believers are washed from sin by something far more powerful, by the blood of Jesus! I do not have a stain stronger than the blood of Jesus can clean. If Jesus has forgiven you of your sin, then you have been forgiven of your sin.

[8] If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

You know what, I just cannot imagine somebody seriously trying to claim they have no sin. But I have heard two people in my lifetime make that very claim! People, do not kid youselves. We all sin.


Romans 3:23 KJV - [23] For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

That pretty much covers it, right? Right.

[9] If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.


I have not found a more encouraging verse in a long time. This verse explains how verse 7 in First John 1 works. God didn't write in His word that the Blood of Jesus forgives you for your past sins, but if you ever sin again, you're back to being Hell-bound. He said that if we confess our sin, he, GOD, is both faithful and just to forgive us.

We can all understand that God is faithful. Gravity holds us down as it always has. The sun rises every morning. But just? As in justice? What does it mean to be "just"?

According to dictionary.reference.com, "Just" means...

just
— adj
1.a. fair or impartial in action or judgment
b. ( as collective noun;  preceded by the ): the just
2.conforming to high moral standards; honest
3.consistent with justice: a just action
4.rightly applied or given; deserved: a just reward
5.legally valid; lawful: a just inheritance
6.well-founded; reasonable: just criticism
7.correct, accurate, or true: a just account


So we know we are sinners, and that in fact, we have sinned specific sins. You can probably think of a few you are guilty of right now. How then is it just for God to forgive us?

Let's take a look at the word "Justice"

justice  (ˈdʒʌstɪs) 
— n
1.the quality or fact of being just
2.ethics
a. the principle of fairness that like cases should be treated alike
b. a particular distribution of benefits and burdens fairly inaccordance with a particular conception of what are to count as like cases
c. the principle that punishment should be proportionate to the offence
3.the administration of law according to prescribed and accepted principles
4.conformity to the law; legal validity
5.a judge of the Supreme Court of Judicature
6.short for justice of the peace
7.good reason (esp in the phrase with justice ): he was disgusted by their behaviour, and with justice
8.do justice to
a. to show to full advantage: the picture did justice to her beauty
b. to show full appreciation of by action: he did justice to the meal
c. to treat or judge fairly
9.do oneself justice  to make full use of one's abilities
10.bring to justice  to capture, try, and usually punish (a criminal, an outlaw, etc)

"Justice" typically refers to punishment of the guilty. And we're guilty. We have sinned. We are guilty. And yet, God is just; not for punishing us, but instead, for setting us free! Where is the justice in that? There is no justice in that at all, if we are thinking of human justice, legal justice. But instead, we're talking about God, being the sole creator of the rules, the source of life, the final decision-maker of the fate of the universe which He created out of nothing in six days.

He allowed His Son, His only begotten Son, to demonstrate to us His deep love for us. He allowed His Son to become one of us, which in and of itself is humiliating enough. He allowed His Son to be laughed at, to be beaten, and to be killed. For us. That is what it took to pay for the debt we have racked up.

So, with such a huge price being paid to cover that sin, it would be wrong to not make use of it. This forgiveness may be free, but it was not cheap. Not by a long shot. If we confess our sins, God is just to forgive us. Not because we deserve it. After all, we are the ones confessing the sin. There is no doubt we know we did what we did, that's why we are confessing it. But when Jesus died for our sin, that was such an extravagant act of grace, of kindness, of love, it would be criminally wrong to not apply that blood as He expected it to be applied.

God is just to forgive our sins when we confess them.

And finally,

[10] If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

This reinforces what was covered in verse 8. If somebody seriously tries to say they have not sinned, they are not only wrong, they are Hell-bound wrong. They can stand before God on Judgement Day and plead their case in vain. We have all sinned, and the only thing that separates us from Hell is the blood of Jesus which cleanses us from sin.

So those are the five "If"s. Now you have to decide what you are going to do with them.


Bibliography


Modern Language Association (MLA):

"just." Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. HarperCollins Publishers. 18 Sep. 2012. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/just
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