Cover-up leads to condemnation
As John wraps up the immediate consequences of his message, God is holy, he again refutes those who make false claims.
The final consequence is laid out in v.10:
If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.
Earlier, John spoke about those who say they have no sin, now he speaks of those who say they “have not sinned.” This speaks of past tense. John writes that those who claim to have not sinned in the past are making God a liar. “Make” speaks of continual action.
Failure to acknowledge past sins as what they are – sin – means that you are continually calling God a liar. If you sinned in the past, but you refuse to admit it as a sin, then you are using your lifestyle to say that God is a liar.
Not only does John say we are making God a liar, but he says that God’s word is not in us. While “light” is one of John’s favorite word picture to use, “word” is another of his favorite figure of speeches.
He speaks of the word in John 1:1:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
In John’s image, who was the Word – v.14:
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John spoke of Jesus as being God’s Word. For John, if God’s Word is not in us, Jesus is not in us and we have no legitimate claim of salvation. There is no access to God unless we are willing to go the way of the cross. We must be willing to admit that we are sinners who have sinned and need a Savior.
The message here in the first part of 1 John is that God is holy. The message of the second part is that God is love.
We cannot have one without the other. Too often we overemphasize one at the expense of the other. God is holy. We cannot get to Him in ourself. He is perfect and removed from sin. Being holy, He must punish sin. He is a just judge that will enact justice against all sin.
The other side of God’s nature is that God is love. It is not a contradiction, but rather a paradox. God is holy, but He is love.
Because of His love, he has prepared a way out of our sin. They have to be punished (God is holy), but He has prepared a way for us out of that (God is love).
His purpose in writing the letter of 1 John was so that his readers would believe and then know that they had eternal life through that faith in Christ. Remember, he is trying to comfort a group of believers who have been dealing with false doctrine and false teachers. He wants them to know (1 John 5:13):
These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.
In summation, talk is cheap – actions really demonstrate where our hearts lie.