Setting

The introduction of the epistle ended with the fellowship with God as the purpose of the epistle. This section goes into descriptions of the members of this fellowship (God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the believers) and the condition for entering into the fellowship

Key Verse

(1:7)

Did You Know...?

1. Advocate (2:1): “The Greek word (parakletos) translated “advocate” literally means “one called to one’s side,” or a helper. In New Testament days the word was used in a court of justice to denote a legal assistant, or counsel, for the defense.” [ref]

Outline

  • Walk in the Light
    (1:5-7)
  • Confess our Sins
    (1:8-10)
  • Advocate and Propitiation
    (2:1-2)

General Analysis

  • 1.

    What kind of lie is meant in these verses? a. 1:6 b. 1:8 c. 1:10

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    a. When our actions do not conform to God’s requirements, our claim of godliness becomes a lie. Not only are we lying to others, we could also be deceiving ourselves.
    b. When we claim that we are without any sin, we are fooling ourselves. This false claim is to our own loss because we would not be able to receive forgiveness if we do not acknowledge our sin.
    c. Denial of our sins is denial of the need for Christ. God became flesh in order to save us from our sins. If we claim that we have never sinned, we make God, who tells us of our sins and calls us to repentance, a liar.

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  • 2.

    What is taught about Jesus Christ in this section?

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    Christ’s blood cleanses us from all sin if we walk in the light. He is our advocate and the propitiation for our sins and the sins of the world.

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  • 3.

    What are the requirements, according to this section, for fellowship with God?

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    We need to walk in the light. We need to confess our sins. We need God’s faithfulness and justice. We need the atonement of Jesus Christ.

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Segment Analysis

  • 1:5-7

    1a.

    What does darkness refer to?

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  • 1b.

    What does it mean that God is light?

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    He is perfect and without sin. He is the absolute moral standard. The light refers to God’s grace and truth (Jn 1:14,16) which bring us blessings such as hope, peace, joy, reconciliation, spiritual wisdom, and a godly life. So God’s salvation is like the light that shines in darkness (Mt 4:16; Acts 26:18; Ps 27:1) and enables us to receive the light of life (Jn 8:12).

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  • 2.

    Have you ever felt that you lived in darkness and lie? What was it like?

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  • 3a.

    How do we walk in the light?

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    We need to confess our sins (1:9), obey God’s commands (2:3), and love one another (2:10).

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  • 3b.

    How is walking in the light fellowship with God and with one another?

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    When we walk in the light, we have fellowship with God because we are forgiven and we are taking part in God’s goodness and love. Walking in the light also enables us to have fellowship with one another because we are doing what is beneficial to others (e.g. loving others) and sharing God’s character with them.

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  • 4.

    What does verse 6 teach us about saying and doing?

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    Lip service is not good enough. Our walk is more important than our talk. Claiming to have fellowship with God without living godly lives makes us liars. Although we may win the praise of men, we are actually far from God and still remain in darkness.

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  • 5.

    How does Jesus enable our fellowship with God and with one another?

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    He reconciled us to God through His sacrifice so we may receive His grace (Rom 5:1). He also brought peace among us so that we can become members of one body (Eph 2:13-18)

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  • 1:8-10

    6.

    What does this paragraph teach us about God’s character? What does it have to do with forgiveness?

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    He is faithful and just. God’s faithfulness makes Him trustworthy. Because He is true to His promises, and He has promised to forgive His people (e.g. Jer 31:34), we can always come to Him with a repentant heart to receive forgiveness. He will not turn us away. God’s justice assures us that we may be cleansed of our sins because of the cross. Since Christ, who is sinless, has died for sinners, God’s just requirement has been met. So God, who judges justly, will pardon our sins because of the sacrifice of Christ.

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  • 7a.

    Why would a person say he is without sin?

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    To avoid a sense of guilt; to cover up shame; to boast of his own righteousness.

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  • 7b.

    Why does God make confession of sins a condition for forgiveness and cleansing?

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    Confession is an expression of repentance. God does not forgive the unrepentant because they will continue to live in sin. Confession is also an acknowledgment that we need God’s forgiveness. If we justify ourselves rather than seek forgiveness, we are rejecting God’s righteousness and the salvation of Jesus Christ (Rom 9:31,32; Lk 18:9-14).

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  • 2:1-2

    8.

    What is the significance of the author’s statement “…these things I write to you, so that you may not sin”?

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    In the previous paragraph, we are taught that we can be forgiven if we confess our sins. But the author reminds us here that God’s grace is not an opportunity to continue in sin. We must leave our sins and live a new life (Rom 6:1-4).

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  • 9a.

    What does an “advocate” do?

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    He speaks in defense of the accused.

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  • 9b.

    How is Jesus our advocate?

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    He intercedes on our behalf based on His sacrifice for our sins so that we are protected from accusation and condemnation (Heb 7:25; Rom 8:33-34). The Greek word for “advocate” is the same word for “comforter,” which our Lord spoke of concerning the Holy Spirit (Jn 14:16,26; 15:26; 16:7). Since the Holy Spirit is also the spirit of Jesus Christ (Gal 4:6; Acts 16:7; Jn 14:18), the Lord Jesus intercedes for us through the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:26,27). When we pray in the Holy Spirit and confess our sins, the Lord Jesus speaks on our behalf and His blood washes our sins away.

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  • 9c.

    Does Christ’s advocacy mean that our sins are automatically forgiven whenever we sin against God?

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    No. We need to first confess our sins before God (1:9).

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  • 10a.

    What is propitiation?

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    It is also translated as “atoning sacrifice.” It is the sacrifice of the sinless on behalf of sinners to remove their guilt.

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  • 10b.

    How is God the propitiation for the sins of the whole world?

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    The saving grace of God is available for the whole world because God loves the world and sent His Son to save the world through Him (Jn 3:16-17). Everyone may be saved through faith in Jesus Christ, regard-less of race, gender, or social status (Gal 3:27,28).

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