Convincing leads to being consumed
Those who try to say that they are without sin, spend their entire lives trying to convince themselves of that. They are consumed by the task of trying to keep up the lie.
In v.8 we read:
If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.
Hopefully, by now you can tell why I titled the sermon “Talk is Cheap.” Anytime that John wants to detail a negative consequence he begins with say – person making a claim that their actions do not support.
This person is say that at the present time, they have no sin in their life. John begs to disagree. The word deceiving has the connotation of leading someone astray, to cause them to wander without direction. In this case, the person is doing that to themselves. They’ve not just done it once, they “are [continually] deceiving” themselves.
John says the reality is that the truth is not in the person. Not only do they not do the truth (v.6), but the truth is not even in their life.
This person does not have a relationship with Jesus. They are trying to present their good works and claims of sinlessness as reasons why they should have fellowship with God, apart from the sacrifice of Christ. John essentially calls them liars, so does other places in Scripture.
Isaiah 64:6 tells us that “all our righteous acts are as filthy rags.” In Romans 3:10-12, Paul quotes from the Psalms that say there is no one righteous, no one who seeks God and no one who does good, not even one.
The one who tries to deny this fact is self delusional and must spend a lot of time working to make themselves believe the lie. John says they “are deceiving,” which means it is a continual action. They must continually suppress the truth and ignore reality. They are consumed by this task. Instead of finding freedom in Christ, they become a slave to the lie they have created.
Part of the way we make ourselves think that “we have no sin” is that we downplay the true significance of it. We have lost sight of how deadly and disgusting “just a little sin” can be.
If you had been working outside on a hot day and were extremely thirsty and I offered you a gallon of cold water, would you take it? Of course you would. But what if I told you that I had added just a small, tiny, tiny drop of some deadly disease? Barely even a drop. Are you still taking that water? Sin is much more dangerous and deadly than that deadly disease, yet we overlook so many “little sins” as if they aren’t just another form of spiritual cancer.
Sin not only impacts us here on earth, but through out eternity. This is why it is maddening and depressing to me that 60% of evangelical Christians believe that a person can get to heaven, into God’s presence, apart from Jesus Christ. If you believe that, then you don’t understand the magnitude of sin and the holiness of God. That is the message that John wants to establish up front, because if we don’t understand that, then nothing else makes sense. If we say that those who have not accept Christ’s way of forgiveness can get to heaven, then we call John, the Bible and God a liar.
Thankfully, John doesn’t leave us at this place. The next consequence he lays out shows us that there is a way to remove sin.