Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
In just twelve short verses, the beginning of 1 John lays out a tremendous number of important points. 1:1-4 tell about the centrality of Jesus, the Word of life, who draws us into fellowship with God and one another. 1:5-10 speak of many ways God has reconciled people to himself through forgiveness. The forgiveness we have moves us from wandering in the darkness to walking deliberately in the light. It shifts us from being lost to being found.
By the end of 1:10 we may well be wondering how we can be worthy of the care of God. It seems lavish. It seems that it should be available only to those people who live a perfect life. And 2:1 does say that we receive these words so that we should not sin. How can that be? We realize based on 1:8 and 1:10 that either we are sinful or that God was lying when he said we were sinful. What are we going to do? We have no positive case to make before God.
1 John 2:1b says, “if anyone does sin.” I’d like to take issue with the translation. It isn’t actually wrong, but it isn’t quite as clear as it could be. Unfortunately, to make it work more clearly, we have to mangle the English expression, which is probably why very wise Bible translators have used the word “if.” “If anyone does sin [and that’s what we’re going to expect to have happen because it never happens any other way], we have an advocate with the Father.” Or maybe we could say, “Since anyone is certainly going to sin…”
When we look into the Word of God we find it working partly as a mirror, showing us all our own failings, all our own sin. But we also see Jesus, the light of the world. He makes our sin visible. But he also shows that he is the advocate. He is the one who begs for our forgiveness. He is the one who has a sure case for our defense. He can exonerate us, because he is the one who became sin on our behalf. He is all the advocate we need. Therefore, we don’t deny our sin, but we confess that our sin is forgivene in Christ.
There’s our hope. It’s the eternal life we read about in 1 John 1:2. It’s there for you and me. We have an advocate. Thanks be to God.
If this brief meditation was helpful to you, I hope you will check out the other materials on our website at www.WittenbergCoMo.com and consider supporting us.