As chapter 1 transitions to chapter 2, you’ll find an interesting dichotomy. On one hand, John is talking about the light and God himself being the light and how we can share in that life with Him and with others. But here’s the kicker:
If we claim we’re free of sin, we’re only fooling ourselves. A claim like that is errant nonsense, John says.
And I’d have to agree. I haven’t met a person, including myself, who was perfect and free of sin–even after Jesus got ahold of my/their life. There’s no one perfect.
So that’s the truth on one hand.
But on the other hand, we have this saying from John, which I’ll quote in full:
Here’s how we can be sure that we know God in the right way: Keep his commandments. If someone claims, “I know him well!” but doesn’t keep his commandments, he’s obviously a liar. His life doesn’t match his word. But the one who keeps God’s word is the person in whom we see God’s mature love. This is the only way to be sure we’re in God. Anyone who claims to be intimate with God ought to live the same kind of life Jesus lived.
So if we say we’re free of sin, we’re lying and fooling ourselves. But if we don’t live the type of life Jesus lived and we don’t keep God’s commandments, then we’re liars.
How do you balance that one out?
If I had the perfect answer, I’d clearly tell you. The best I can come up with right now, after walking with Jesus for 18 years, is you live in that balancing act. You give it your best in trying to keep His commandments, day-in and day-out; and you pray for a lot of help from the Holy Spirit and a lot of forgiveness when you inevitably fail at it. You fail forward. You fall 7 times, but get up 8. You don’t make a habit or lifestyle of sin. Instead, you make habits and a lifestyle out of following Jesus and living out the fruits of His Spirit (which you can find in Galatians 5).
Live in the balancing act.
Now, let’s see what John has to say in the next section.