â€œIf we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.â€ (1 John 1:8)
Here John is writing to Christians, and his epistle is full of exhortations to the Christian to purge sin from his life, with grave warnings to any who do not. Yet he also says that for a Christian to claim sinless perfection is self-deception. â€œIf we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in usâ€ (1 John 1:10).
Only by Jesus Christ Himself could such claims be truly made. The greatest theologian, Paul, said concerning Christ that He â€œknew no sinâ€ (2 Corinthians 5:21). His closest friends, Peter and John, said that He â€œdid no sinâ€ (1 Peter 2:22) and that in Him is no sin (1 John 3:5). His betrayer, Judas, said, â€œI have betrayed the innocent bloodâ€ (Matthew 27:4); His condemning judge, Pilate, said, â€œI find in him no fault at allâ€ (John 18:38); and His executioner said, â€œThis was a righteous manâ€ (Luke 23:47). Christ Himself claimed human perfection: â€œFor I do always those things that please himâ€ (John 8:29).
Jesus Christ alone was sinlessly perfect in His human life, and it was because of this that He could die for our sins. It is arrogant for one of us to claim a state of perfection, thus leading such a person into repeated assertions of boasting and self-justification, trying to explain why apparently sinful behavior is not really sinful. Even Paul himself acknowledged: â€œNot as though I had already attained, either were already perfectâ€ (Philippians 3:12).
But between these two key verses in Johnâ€™s epistle, he gives us the moment-by-moment remedy for sin in a godly believerâ€™s life: â€œIf we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousnessâ€ (1 John 1:9). â€œThe blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sinâ€ (1 John 1:7). HMM