Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
From Genesis to Revelation the word "sin" occurs 430 times in 380 verses in the New American Standard Bible. I know I counted them—not really!
Remember last week I told you about a pastor who said he couldn't sin? This pastor sadly committed adultery, which hurt many people in the wake of his actions.
The word "sin" seems an archaic word to some. Especially with a world that accepts wrong for right so that "others" are not offended.
So what is sin anyways? The simplest explanation is doing wrong, but then as I mentioned, "wrong" is relative in today's society. What's wrong to me according to my faith, might not be wrong to others. I think though we forget that there is a law much higher then the law of our man made laws and our feeble minds.
Merrill F. Unger put it this way, "The underlying idea of sin is that of law and of lawgiver. The lawgiver is God. Hence sin is everything in the deposition and purpose and conduct of God's moral creatures that is contrary to the express will of God (Romans 3:20; 4:15; 7:7; James 4:12, a7; Italics mine for emphasis)."
1 John 2: 1-12
In the first twelve chapters we find repeated key words:
John did not pen this portion of his epistle to say, neaner, neaner, neaner, you're a big fat sinner!
Lets read Verses 1 & 2
On the contrary he opens with an endearment, "My little children," Then he continues to tell why he is writing, "I am writing these things to you that you may not sin. And if anyone sins; we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world."
I like the fact that he says, "I write that you may not sin," then goes on to say "but if any one does sin . . . " To me this says follow these words of mine so that you will not sin but I know you're human and sin just might seep through your nature. Therefore . . .
I want to put the spot light on two words: advocate and propitiation.
The Greek word for advocate is parakletos and is "someone who is called to one's side." And advocate is also someone who comforts. John is telling us in these verses that Jesus became our Advocate. That is, Jesus speaks in our defense before the Great Judge of all Judges—the Almighty God of the universe and our tiny little world.
That has got to keep us thankful!
Because of my trust and faith in Jesus Christ, he defends me before God the Father, not on my righteousness because as much as I'd like to think I'm a "very good person" inside swarms all sorts of manure, BUT because of God's love, I've become righteous based on Jesus' righteousness alone. No one can reach Heaven's gates without the righteousness of Christ poured into their lives.
Not only would I be in shock and stunned that someone so generous would do such a thing for me, I'd be gratefully grateful. That's what Jesus did for humanity.
"God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God, (2 Corinthians 5:21; NIV).
When propitiation is used, especially when God is the subject, the verb for propitiation means, "to forgive." The meaning is important because "God himself provides the means whereby the lost relationship between him and men is restored." (Italics mine)
God's saving grace is for the whole world. Although, it is not a cheap saving grace—someone made a sacrifice, meaning that a person gave up something valuable for somebody else, and considered the person or persons to be of more value or importance, and that person who sacrificed his Heavenly state of being was and is Jesus the Christ, the Son of God.
We find then that we sin; yet we have and Advocate, who became our propitiation that we can be reconciled back to God.
"And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, "I have come to know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him, the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked."
Wow that is a mouthful. A few questions pop into my mind and maybe yours too.
How do you know you know Him? What are his commandments? How do we keep them?
How do we know that we know that we know Him, this Jesus?
John gives us the answer, we keep his commands and we walk as Jesus walked?
That might sound like a high call because how can any of us walk as Jesus walked. What was it that Jesus did?
Will first of all Jesus said, "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and YOU SHALL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy, and my load is light," (Matthew 11:28-30).
First of all we know we know Jesus when we come to Him in faith for who He is, the Son of God who came to be our Salvation.
Secondly we keep his commands and although the Ten commandment are relevant for today (Deuteronomy chapter 5) Jesus gave a new commandment.
Jesus said when ask of the Pharisees "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law? Jesus answered, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: "Love your neighbor as yourself,'" (Matthew 22:36-39; NIV).
And in the Gospel of John chapter 13 verse 34 Jesus says, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another, (NIV).
Matthew 11:28-30, this is Jesus talking to you!
That is why John wrote these verses, "The one who says he is in the light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. The one who loves his brother abides in the light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes."
However John reminds his readers . . .
"I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name's sake," (verse 12).
To know Jesus is to walk in His light and light is the absence of darkness (sin). The love of God, when Christ is in us and we are in Him, permeates us . . . with that comes change from within. Instead of being haters, love fills our hearts creating compassion for others. The sin that rules our lives now becomes distasteful.
In his book Neil Anderson wrote, "Many Christians fear the prospect of facing an angry God, knowing that He is holy and we are sinful. They haven't grasped the fact that we have already been justified. The Greek language makes the concept of our justification very clear. Because of the precision of the verbs, the language is explicit in describing when something has already been done (past tense), is being done (present tense), will be done (future tense), or is a continuous action. In Romans 5:1, it clearly says we have already been justified before the Holy Father, Jesus has already paid the penalty for our sins, establishing our peace with God the Father."
So how many sins can Jesus wash away?
The answer, as you probably already know, is all the sins we have ever committed, past, present, and future! We are forgiven through faith and forgiven of sins in which we have repented of. To repent is literally to do an about face, to turn away from our own way to follow Christ. To verbally testify to His truth.
Let me leave you with this reminder, "But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.," (1 Corinthians 6:11).
 Unger's Bible Dictionary by Merrill F. Unger, Moody Press, Chicago, 1978
 The Letters of John and Jude, Revised Edition, by William Barclay, 1976
 The Letters of John and Jude, Revised Edition, by William Barclay, 1976
 Living Free in Christ, by Neil T. Anderson, published by Regal Books, 1993
 "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, . . . " (NIV).