1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 2 and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. 3 By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 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; 5 but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: 6 the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. 7 Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard. 1 John 2:1-7
When you know that you can right the ship with simple confession of sin, it may be tempting to think that you’ll simply pull that card after allowing yourself to enjoy some pleasures of life. Maybe the activity is not particularly wrong, but it is a known gateway to things that are. From past experience you know there is a possibility that things can go south, but you suppress that knowledge and proceed anyway. This is the allure of sin and Satan’s way of entrapping you yet again–he lies.
John’s purpose in writing this letter is to remove the apparent “out” of the confession booth and to keep you squarely on the right track. You know that you’re making progress when you begin to habitually tell yourself, “no, I’m not going there!”
But the cool thing about John’s letter is that there is an acknowledgment of the truth that there is no one who never sins, no, not one (Eccl. 7:20, Rom. 7:18). Despite all that we might do, there is still the inevitable slip. In Jesus we not only have a defense attorney to make our case, but someone who has reached deep and paid our fine. Since we all sin, he reaches deep many times over, all the time.
If the still small voice is now convincing you that what you contemplate is sin, or a known detour to sin, and you are heeding the warnings, you are practicing real Christianity. Not only this, you are able to pull this off only by some supernatural power, proof positive that you are “in Him.” This is confidence that you are saved. If you constantly succumb to sin in weakness, though, you’ll never have the sweet assurance that emanates from exercising the Spirit’s power to head off sin at the pass. Wow, you’ll say, where did that come from, but from God?
This is love being perfected, my friend. This walking as Jesus walked.