Saturday, July 31, 2010

Basics of Divine Healing

In this article, we look at a Divine Healing account in the Bible, and draw out a few basic doctrines of Divine Healing (This, will perhaps, be a one of a series of articles on Divine Healing). The account is that of Blind Bartimaeus receiving his sight recorded for us in Mark 10:46-52. The same basic doctrines can be drawn out with the account of the cripple receiving his healing by Jesus' Disciples Peter and John in Act 3:1-10, which I will make some reference to, in the exposition below.

Mark 10:46-52 - Blind Bartimaeus Receiving his sight:
46Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (that is, the Son of Timaeus), was sitting by the roadside begging. 47When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" 48Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" 49Jesus stopped and said, "Call him." So they called to the blind man, "Cheer up! On your feet! He's calling you." 50Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. 51"What do you want me to do for you?" Jesus asked him. The blind man said, "Rabbi, I want to see." 52"Go," said Jesus, "your faith has healed you." Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.


1. Jesus gave attention to the blind man. Jesus, his disciples and a large crowd were leaving the city of Jericho. Many from the crowd of Jesus rebuked the blind man, and asked the man to shut up. Jesus, on the other hand, stopped and called out to the blind man. Jesus gave attention to the blind man.

Jesus moved with compassion for the blind man. Others, either just ignored the blind man or rebuked him, and basically asked that the Lord (or so-called important people) not to be bothered.

2. Jesus healed in the name of God. Jesus said to the blind man, “your faith has healed you” What it meant was that the blind man believed that God {faith in God} had vested His authority, power and anointing on Jesus to heal. The blind man believed that Jesus could heal him, because of God. Note that the blind man said repeatedly, “Son of David, have mercy on me”. Bartimaeus, though blind physically, he was with knowledge of God. He has faith in God and that faith, as in any faith in God, came from knowledge of God which he demonstrated he possessed, to us, by shouting to Jesus, as Son of David. Of course, a minister heals in the name of God. Because Jesus has gone to be with the Father God, and He has been restored to His Divinity as God, we can either pray for healing in the name of either, God (the Father), Jesus (God, the Son) or even Holy Spirit (the Spirit of God or Spirit of Jesus). The Christian God (Father God) is Yahweh. One can also use the name, Jehovah Rapha (God the Healer); I believe it can be used to refer to either the Father or the Son, Jesus.

3. Jesus exercised faith. Jesus spoke in faith, “Go, your faith has healed you”. Although nothing was recorded for us to say that Jesus did anything other than to speak in faith, we should realize that, before a surrounding crowd, to say that, was really faith in action.

4. The blind man gave attention to the minister, Jesus. When the blind man knew that Jesus was around, he shouted for Jesus. Generally speaking, the sick must want to be healed, and he must give attention to the minister. Heart conditions that deny God healing, or refusal to be bothered with it, do not help. Of course, sometimes God’s grace was still extended to such people.

5. The blind man responded and cooperated with the minister, Jesus. The person who wants healing should respond positively and cooperate with the minister. Jesus asked the blind man to go over, and the blind jumped to his feet and went over to Jesus, and told Jesus he wanted to see.

6. The blind man claimed his healing. Although, Scripture did not say he opened his eyes, I believe the blind man must have claimed his healing and opened his eyes. Logically, if he did not open his eyes, he will not know he was healed. In practice, not only the sick, at times, dared not do the things they could not do previously without pain or discomfort, and this illustrated lack of faith (of course, some will not try for fear of embarrassing the minister), the ministers themselves lacked the faith to ask people to try. Of course, it could be that the blind man’s eyes were already opened, but not seeing, and then suddenly he saw; even then, immediately he followed Jesus on receiving his sight. Even just this alone illustrated that the blind man claimed his healing. In practice, it was not uncommon for some, subsequent to God’s healing them, to think that somehow they were healed by, either the medication they were taking, or due to some other reasons, or when they still doubted their healing, the old condition came back. He must have claimed his healing, otherwise, he would have stayed on by the roadside to continue to beg, may be just to see if the sight would last out.

In Peter’s healing of the crippled man in Acts 3:1-10, the moment the crippled man felt strength coming to his legs, he claimed his healing and jumped to his feet and began to walk. Like in the blind man’s case, the healed cripple straightaway joined Peter and John into the synagogue.

7. The healed gave thanks and testified, soonest possible. The blind man straightaway left his place of begging, and went with the minister, Jesus. I am sure he was testifying that he was once blind and was now seeing. Similarly, we read in Peter’s healing of the cripple man, the healed man, also a beggar, left everything and went with Peter and John to give thanks and testify of God’s healing in the synagogue.


The basic doctrines of healing are these:

1. the minister must be willing to give attention to a healing need, and has a compassion to help;

2. the minister is to pray for healing in the name of Jesus or God (Yahweh/Jehovah Rapha/Holy Spirit); it is God who heals;

3. the minister should exercise faith, believe in his heart, and as a minimum, speak out. Apart from speaking, other action of faith is encouraged.

4. the “ministee” should pay attention to the minister;

5. the “ministee” should cooperate with the minister;

6. The “ministee” should claim his healing as soon as possible.

7. The healed one should quickly thank God and testify of his healing;

NB: I know there is no such word as "ministee", but just in order it is easier for everyone to remember, I have used the word, making the no. of simple doctrines to be 7, 3 for the minister, 3 for the "ministee", and 1 for the healed one.

Anthony Chia - It is God who heals.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Judges series - Judges 13

The way to read this article is that the orange underlined texts are the verses of the Bible (NIV, unless otherwise stated). The black texts following the Bible verses (and enclosed by square brackets) are my commentaries. At the end of these Bible texts and commentaries, I have inserted a section on "Points to take note/What we have learnt/can learn".
{For full listing of all articles in this series, click here}

The Birth of Samson

1 Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, so the LORD delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years. [History repeated itself, the Israelites did evil again, and so the Lord continued to give them over, and this time to a great enemy, the Philistines, who subjected them for 40 years. A great enemy would require an exceptional deliverer/judge.]
2 A certain man of Zorah, named Manoah, from the clan of the Danites, had a wife who was sterile and remained childless. 3 The angel of the LORD appeared to her and said, "You are sterile and childless, but you are going to conceive and have a son. 4 Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean, 5 because you will conceive and give birth to a son. No razor may be used on his head, because the boy is to be a Nazirite, set apart to God from birth, and he will begin the deliverance of Israel from the hands of the Philistines." 6 Then the woman went to her husband and told him, "A man of God came to me. He looked like an angel of God, very awesome. I didn't ask him where he came from, and he didn't tell me his name. 7 But he said to me, 'You will conceive and give birth to a son. Now then, drink no wine or other fermented drink and do not eat anything unclean, because the boy will be a Nazirite of God from birth until the day of his death.' " [Samson is the name of the deliverer. His father was a Danite, so Samson was from the Dan tribe. An angel announced his coming birth, and said he was set apart to God from birth, and no razor was to be used on his head. Wow! This brought to mind, Jesus and John the Baptist – so special!] 8 Then Manoah prayed to the LORD : "O LORD, I beg you, let the man of God you sent to us come again to teach us how to bring up the boy who is to be born." [Ah! The father knew, his son to come was special, and he prayed for visitation of the angel again, who had previously appeared to his wife, so that he could get instructions for the upbringing of the child.] 9 God heard Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman while she was out in the field; but her husband Manoah was not with her. 10 The woman hurried to tell her husband, "He's here! The man who appeared to me the other day!" 11 Manoah got up and followed his wife. When he came to the man, he said, "Are you the one who talked to my wife?" "I am," he said. 12 So Manoah asked him, "When your words are fulfilled, what is to be the rule for the boy's life and work?" 13 The angel of the LORD answered, "Your wife must do all that I have told her. 14 She must not eat anything that comes from the grapevine, nor drink any wine or other fermented drink nor eat anything unclean. She must do everything I have commanded her." [Indeed the angel came again, and repeated the instructions previously given to Samson’s mother.

Notice that Manoah asked the angel for the rules for the boy’s life and work, but the angel only revealed what the mother of Samson must do. What does this tell us? Or is it supposed to tell anything at all? Maybe, the Lord is telling us that he reveals only what he considers necessary, and we are to lay hold and obey what we have received as the revelation from the Lord. Maybe, the Lord is trying to teach us that we should concentrate on the part that we are to play, and not dictate another’s life and work, when the Lord has become decisively the one’s Master. Maybe, the Lord will like the individual to personally seek the Lord for the will of the Lord for his life and work. Even so, it can also mean that certain things are meant to be kept sealed for a period of time or even eternity. This brought to mind, Deu 29:29 - The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law. Of course, it is not to say that we cannot continue to seek or ask, but that we have to accept God’s sovereignty, wisdom, and, that we are to be submissive, for Pro 25:2 still exhorts us, princes and princesses, to seek out a matter: It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.]
15 Manoah said to the angel of the LORD, "We would like you to stay until we prepare a young goat for you." 16 The angel of the LORD replied, "Even though you detain me, I will not eat any of your food. But if you prepare a burnt offering, offer it to the LORD." (Manoah did not realize that it was the angel of the LORD.) 17 Then Manoah inquired of the angel of the LORD, "What is your name, so that we may honor you when your word comes true?" 18 He replied, "Why do you ask my name? It is beyond understanding." [Here we see an example of an ordinary man seeing and having a conversation with a “heavenly being”. This account is very interesting to me. It implies that at times, really, a man does not know the one who appeared to him is an angel or the Lord himself. When it happens, sometimes the man genuinely does not know what to think. The mother of Samson, based on what she saw, in the first instance, told Manoah, Samson’s father that, the being looked like an angel. Maybe, Manoah thought that the heavenly being was the Lord. He wanted to prepare an offering, a young goat, to the heavenly being. This was the same thing Gideon wanted to do when the Lord appeared to him. Gideon, for his encounter, asked for the heavenly being to stay while he went to prepare the offering, as a sign for him (Gideon) that, indeed it was the Lord who was talking to him. Maybe, Manoah knew about the encounter that Gideon had with the Lord, i.e. the testimonies of Gideon got passed down the generations and Manoah took pain to know and remember the dealings God had with man. In this regard, I encourage people to tell and record their testimonies (encounters with God or experiences of God’s supernatural works), and at the same time, get to know what God was and is doing in our midst. For this reason, the reading, understanding and remembering of the Old Testament are of significance. I believe it pleases the Lord to know that an individual takes the trouble to know Him and his dealings with man.

The reply of the heavenly being is interesting. There are 3 things to learn or should know: Firstly, angels dare not and will not have man bow to them, worship them or receive offerings from man. If any angel does that, he must be a fallen angel, one from the Satan’s camp. Secondly, the phrase, “angel of the Lord”, sometimes was interpreted as the Lord by some Bible scholars, sometimes not, by other Bible scholars. This was one instance that the Lord had taken the “form” of an angel. You will read later on, that this was indeed the case, although at this point, He was talking like any angel would talk. In some other encounters in the Bible, the angel of the Lord was, I believe, really just an angel. Thirdly, the Lord does come incognito, and in this particular case, as an angel of the Lord. Want another instance – read the story of the 2 men on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35). By the way, angels do come in disguise, too.]

19 Then Manoah took a young goat, together with the grain offering, and sacrificed it on a rock to the LORD. And the LORD did an amazing thing while Manoah and his wife watched: 20 As the flame blazed up from the altar toward heaven, the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame. Seeing this, Manoah and his wife fell with their faces to the ground. 21 When the angel of the LORD did not show himself again to Manoah and his wife, Manoah realized that it was the angel of the LORD. 22 "We are doomed to die!" he said to his wife. "We have seen God!" [Part of the reasons for us to study the Word of God is to know the ways of the Lord, to be attentive and know to do the right things when we experience heavenly visitations. I believe also that in the “minor” spiritual encounters with the supernatural, we are to learn through those experiences how to be attentive to God. God is teaching us through those experiences, we can learn from our experiences as well as the experiences of others. When we are in love, we are attentive to our partner, we even try to anticipate what he/she will do, not just his/her likes and dislikes, or what will please him/her. Many of us say we love God, yet we are not at all attentive to God. Sad to say that when I thought about what Manoah did, I realize that I would have missed it; I wouldn’t have done the offering, I would have thought to myself like this, ‘Ok, he (the heavenly being) is not the Lord, and he does not really want to reveal his name. Let’s move on.’ Manoah paid attention and heeded the words of the “angel”, he made that offering. God honored him and his wife by revealing the true identity of the angel of the Lord whom He originally concealed from the couple. Manoah quickly remembered the words that God had spoken to Moses that no one could see God face to face and still live (Ex33:20). I believe they have spoken to God face to face, incognito.] 23 But his wife answered, "If the LORD had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and grain offering from our hands, nor shown us all these things or now told us this." [Manoah’s wife was correct. But I believe it was also true that because God appeared to them incognito that they did not need to die. It was recorded in verse 21 that the angel of the Lord, on consuming the offering did not appear before the couple again. The reason was simple, if the couple saw the Lord again, this time, having known who the angel of the Lord was, it would have necessitated the fulfillment of Ex 33:20, that they must die.]

24 The woman gave birth to a boy and named him Samson. He grew and the LORD blessed him, 25 and the Spirit of the LORD began to stir him while he was in Mahaneh Dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol. [As told by the Lord, Samson was born. As he grew, the Lord blessed him. At a certain place, Mahaneh Dan, the Spirit of the Lord began a stirring in the heart of Samson. For what? We shall see in the next chapter!]

What we can learn here:

1. Again, as in the earlier times in the Judges period, the Israelites again did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and they were given over to a powerful enemy, the Philistines. By the time Judge Samson came on, the Israelites were already oppressed by the Philistines for 40 years, and that was for a long time, as long as the time of wondering in the desert before they came into the Promised land. It is therefore, possible that if we continue in our wayward ways, the Lord would continue with his harsh disciplining.

2. Concerning Judge Samson, 4 chapters were devoted to him, Gideon, only had 3, and lady judge Deborah, 2 (without consideration of length). At the end of chapter 16, we will learn that he led the Israelites for 20 years, both Gideon and Deborah, 40 years each. I would regard him as a major judge, along with Gideon, Deborah, etc. Do not dismiss the account of Samson, there are much to learn.

3. In terms of his introduction, he came in the likes of great prophets like Jeremiah who was called even when he was in his mother’s womb, John, The Baptist, and even Jesus, the latter 2, births of which were fore-told. He was among those who were set apart from birth, for the Lord. I believe such class of people, has so special a calling in their lives that often than not, their lives might come out, in some aspects, extraordinary or unorthodox or even strange. Theirs were lives already set apart for the Lord, right from the beginning. While many and many of us do not fall under this category, we are not to envy or be upset. In any case, as vessels, we all have our destinies to fulfill. More is given, more is expected, and the more special is the calling, the more special can be the expectation! At the same time, we are to remind ourselves that there are things we can do in our walk in the faith, regardless that we have not been set apart in like situations like that of Samson. As a believer, we have all been set apart for the Lord. As a New Testament believer, we are to serve God in righteousness, and in the peace and joy of the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17-18). Many people are being taught now to just bask in grace, and just to adopt the attitude of “being”, to throw to the wind, all “should” or “ought”; I believe that is not what the believers’ walks are all about.

4. As I have said, because of the special calling on his life even before he was conceived, Samson’s life, as we will come to learn more, in later chapters, was somewhat strange or unorthodox, and somewhat not easily understood. Despite the difficulty, I do not think he should be regarded as a minor judge whom we just casually gloss over or judge that he, Samson, “wasted’ all that the Lord had given as potentials for him to be. In the subsequent chapters, we will learn of some of his shortcomings, who had none (except the Lord); even Gideon was not with none. I believe it is incorrect to say that right from the start, Samson did wrong; the stirring that this chapter ended with, which we will look at, in the next chapter, is of the Lord, not of Samson’s own.

5. The side lesson, which I also have pointed out in earlier expositions of the Book of Judges, is the need to know our faith heritage, know of how God has dealt with men, and the ways of God. And the sub-lessons are gleaned from the (purposely?) given long text, and my accompanying commentary of how the parents of Samson came to know they are going to have Samson.

6. On the subject of Nazirite, let me say that Numbers 6:1-21 are about one making a Nazirite vow, but here, the state was decided for him by God. As to whether or not, Samson had to fulfill all the commandments concerning Nazirite vow is questionable, the only one command specifically stated by God for Samson is that he must not allow his hair to be cut.

7. Rather than writing off Samson as being the outright irresponsible judge, and consider nothing much to learn from him, we are to understand that for certain people there can be so special a calling and consecration demanded of them, that they do not get to live their own lives, but live their lives according to the strict consecration demanded upon them, which can be, not easy.

Anthony Chia – Lord, help me to walk in your will for my life, no matter how insignificant, men might think it to be; Lord, may I always bear in mind that when it is important to you, it has to be important to me.

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

1 John 1:9 is for believers

This article stamps from my shock that there has emerged a branch of thought that has systematically packaged itself around grace, and is out to distort established interpretations of the Word of God. One particular passage which has its interpretations so much changed as to result in completely different pictures than before, is 1 John 1, particularly, 1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Before I start, let me say that I am not against the concept of grace of God. I have been saved by grace, through faith, because I believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I believe in the Triune God, Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. I also believe in God’s abundant grace and mercy. I also believe that God is love, and more than that, I believe God is Holiness. I believe we are not born-again through works, but by grace, through faith. I believe in the works of the Cross by Jesus Christ, and those included the reconciliation of men to God. I believe that Jesus Christ died for our sins, and at salvation or born-again, Jesus has paid the price for our sins in what is commonly termed as justification, and His death and blood continues to be available as atoning sacrifice for my sins. The Father God loves us, and as a high expression of that love, gave His one and only begotten Son to die for us; the Son of God, Jesus Christ, also loves us, with the Father God's love, and was willing to die for us, and the Holy Spirit also loves us so much so, He was willing to be in us, and guide us into all truths ever so gently.

Because I am for grace, I am against legalism, just as our Lord, Jesus, was, when he walked on the earth. I also subscribe to the Apostle Paul’s teaching that as believers, we should NOT quarrel.

We are to embrace the whole counsel of the Word of God, and I try to do that, and the Word is increasingly becoming my yardstick for measurement in life. Because I embrace the whole counsel of the Word, even though I am for grace, I do NOT think it is right to distill the Word down to grace, and nothing but the grace of God. Grace is central but the whole counsel of the Word is more than just grace. I know for some people, they need to hear more grace messages, but “grace only” as an all-in theology is adequate but is NOT sufficient. We should NOT go round tearing down everything in the name of grace, nor should we be ever so readily attack or thumb down people on every issue, with “grace”. Also, sooner or later, many “grace only” ministries would need to “back-paddle” to the other aspects of the whole counsel of the Word. Some wiser grace preachers have already realised that.

The fact is that grace is only one aspect, no doubt a very fundamental aspect, of the truths of God. But the wild-fires have started, and there are so many die-hards out there, who insisted that God has given them the revelation for all truths, when in fact, such was revelation of a more limited scope.

Some would attack you, the moment you say “ought” or “should” because they would say you are going down the slippery slope of works. For example, I said God first loved us, and so we ought to love Him back, as a response, they bounced on me. Such people’s insistence of “being” as the thing and the only thing, can really put you off.  To them, if you “ought” or “should”, you are NOT “being”, and that is work and law, so they insisted, and you, purportedly, should immediately stop that “ought-ing” or “should-ing”.

Even when we say that “we are to embrace the whole counsel of the Word, and I try to do that”, according to their theology, my trying is works. I believe more of such teachings are NOT consistent with the solid food that more mature Christians should feed on.

The insistence that people just bask in grace as an end is surely encouraging Christians to stay as infants. These people claim that they preach the final gospel, and that, that is the gospel of grace given by the Lord to the Apostle Paul (these people actually taught there were multiple gospels), yet, they pick and choose those teachings which favour the notion of just basking in grace, and nothing else.

Of course, my comments are NOT referring to those who preach grace as well as the full works of the whole counsel of the Word. I believe many of us understood grace and preached grace, although we did NOT note that there were such thing as multiple gospels or the final gospel, rather we have believed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. These people just pushed you over to the “other camp” the moment you are NOT into their “grace only” all-in theology.  I generally label these people as overly grace preachers and believers; there are others who coined the word, "hypergrace" to describe such individuals.

I believe God gives revelations to many people on many aspects of the truths of the Bible, and together we learn from one another; we depend on one another, and benefit from one another.  This would be consistent with His teaching on the people of God being a body with various parts (hands, legs, eyes, ears, etc). As such, we should all be very careful, if one thinks that he has the revelation of the whole thing or all the truths.

Balanced teaching is still the hallmark of a good teacher. And to teach concerning the faith, particularly, on fundamental points of the faith, carry with it, a very heavy responsibility. The Apostle Paul was so upset with false teaching concerning legalistic circumcision that he was saying he wished the perpetrators be cut (you know where!) all the way!

Do not be mistaken or be influenced by erroneous teachings that claimed that people like me tell people to balance a truth. Indeed, a truth is a truth, there is no balancing, and we should NOT attempt that. What I am saying is that there are multiple truths that God gave us in His Word for us to embrace, to successfully maneuver through life. Among theologians, there is a cliché, and yet it is more than a cliché, and that is that, a certain prescription maybe adequate but it may NOT be sufficient, and this is what I am referring to.

After the long preamble, which I believe is necessary so that readers understand where I am coming from; we will now look more specifically at 1 John 1.

Traditions have it that this epistle, 1 John, was written by the Apostle John, who also wrote the Gospel of John, the other John epistles, and the Book of Revelation. There are of course, those who dispute this authorship.

Now, it is also believed that the letter was written to counter the Gnostics who said that Jesus did not come "in the flesh," but only as a spirit.  But to say that  it (1 John 1) was written to counter the Gnostics purely, it really is incorrect, for after 10 verses of 1 John 1, in the 1st verse of 1 John 2(please note that original letter has no chapters and verses numbers), John made clear the purpose of his writing of the letter, i.e. "so that the children of God (of the targeted church) would NOT sin".  In other words, it was about how believers were to live their lives post-entry into salvation.

From the manner the epistle was written, I would say it was written to address a whole congregation of people, and it is NOT unreasonable for us to assume that they were Christians, even though, it was possible then, as in present day scenarios, that some congregations would have non-believers among them. More than non-believers, there were possibly many believers who came from paganistic backgrounds, very much like, in today’s Asian countries like China, Malaysia, Singapore or India, where members of church actually came from various paganistic backgrounds (especially the Chinese and Indians), who need to be taught what they could no longer practise and what they should embrace, after giving of their lives to Christ. It would NOT be surprising then, in John’s time, people, though had given their lives to Jesus, still asked if they could still continue with certain of their lifestyles or practices, particularly, if they had been practised for a long time or passed down from the believers’ forefathers (as in many cases of Chinese and Indian converts, commonly noted in Asia, even currently). Actually, in places such as Ephesus, where both Paul and John had ministered, these things happened.

With this understanding above, just like what we experienced in Asian church congregations, church leaders would speak about things (but unable to clearly mention actual religious practices. In many places, there are sedition acts that disallowed referencing other faiths), about/to certain categories of people, who COULD WELL BE BELIEVERS, but at the same time, such would also be truths which all in the congregation must know and understand. So the choice of words and sentencing would be such that it was addressing certain issues but at the same time, it would be reinforcing what is right, which every believer should be following or adhering to.

What I am saying is that it is unlikely that things were said to a particular group of people who were not even mentioned, and at the same time, the things said, were NOT correct teaching to ALL (believers, included) who would be listening. Regardless of possibility of presence of unmentioned group of people with gnostic tendency who could be believers, we must bear in mind that this epistle of John was directed at believers.  There are clear verses indicating John was speaking to the believers, and we shall look at them further down the article. This way of rendering the context is more correct, I believe; but before I go into the text, maybe it is appropriate to say a little about who were the Gnostics.

About the Gnostics (Any Gnostics reading, if any thing is offensive, please email me)
Although there are diverse religious movements in the whole area of Gnosticism, generally speaking, Gnostics’ broad idea is that, instead of “faith”, they believe in a mystical esoteric (“inward”) knowledge called “gnosis”. Gnostics believe that it is this gnosis that enables the spiritual elements in human to escape materiality (the body or flesh). The Gnostics are class conscious people. They considered men can be divided into 3 orders, the pneumatics (the spiritual people), the psychics (the so-called ESP men, sensory-sensitive men), and lastly, the hylic or somatics (the bodily men, the common folk, low level men). In terms of achieving spirituality and eventual salvation, the pneumatics rank highest, with the bulk, the somatics, unlikely to receive gnosis. With this understanding, we find past Gnostics (including Nicolaitans) regarded themselves as the pneumatics, superior over the hylics/somatics. Because past Gnostics did NOT think that they were the somatics, they have no regard for the flesh. Firstly, they thought they would attain the gnosis to attain spirituality, so they could indulge in licentiousness of the flesh, with no ill consequences to themselves, or so, they thought; and secondly, presumably if by their actions, the hylics or somatics suffered, it was NOT their business or they could NOT be bothered.

Gnostics were believed to have existed before Jesus’ time, and I believe some Gnostics got converted along with all the other Gentiles. In fact, some past Gnostics believed that Jesus was a spiritual being who came on earth to bring the “gnosis” (or the mystical esoteric knowledge) which they believed in. But they found it difficult to subscribe to the fact that Jesus actually came as a man and die in the flesh (meaning they were still very much inclined to think Jesus, as a spirit, came into a man, and then escaped materiality).

Now such kind of conversion was NOT inconceivable. Many Indians, for example, would readily accept Jesus as God, but initially, might be reluctant to drop all the other gods. Or the converted Indian believer might still wanted to practise the many other rituals of other gods! We, Chinese, some of us, have to struggle with pressures from elders (parents and grandparents, etc) to continue with certain practices and rituals (which run contrary to Biblical teachings) especially in connection with funerals and issue of respect and filial piety. I believe among the congregation that John was addressing were such kind of converts, some practiced dual or multiple beliefs, even despite having given their lives to Jesus. {Added 23/08/2010: The point is that they had converted, and they were believers, despite there was much to learn, and which was not unusual; even in the days of the Apostles, the Apostle Paul spoke about some believers, being infants needing to grow to be mature in Christ}.

Such epistles were meant for congregational reading
Another thing we should note is that commonly, such epistles, in those days, would be read publicly to congregations (church congregations).


It was from live account, heard, seen and touched
So, with all the above understandings, it becomes easy to understand why John started his epistle, as in verse 1:

1That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.

John, being the early direct followers of Jesus, said that they (principally referring to the early followers like the Apostles), right from the beginning, had heard, seen and touched the Word who had been personified as a man, on earth. John was saying that they were proclaiming He, the Word of life (who had existed from the beginning).

Unmentioned group not named, teaching was for all
Yes, one can say the verse may be directed to counter gnostic influence, but as I have said in my explanation of the context, above, things were said in a manner that it would still be correct teaching for all, including all the believers, since the unmentioned group, if any, was not named. Actually, there might NOT even have been a specific unmentioned group, but it was just that John was teaching to counter gnostic belief gaining foot-hold amongst the believers.

Purpose of teaching was to foster like-fellowship
2The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4We write this to make our {YOUR [KJV, NKJV]} joy complete (1 John 1:2-4).

John, using lay terms, said that the Word of life had appeared as man, they had seen Him, and were now testifying concerning Him. John proclaimed that Jesus was and is the eternal {Word of} life, which was with the Father God, and had appeared to them. He said the purpose of the proclamation of what they seen and heard was so that the readers also might have fellowship with them, the early followers. John said he was referring to the fellowship of all with the Father God and with His Son, Jesus Christ.

Some people are arguing that non-believers were being addressed, because they harped on the word “fellowship”. The same people erroneously did NOT consider any of those coming from Gnostic background could have become believers, when they insisted that non-believers were being addressed. I tell you why they keep insisting that the unmentioned group was non-believing Gnostics. It is because, later, for verse 9, they are going to say it is for non-believers, and must NOT be subscribed to, by believers.

Completing of joy implied presence of some fellowship
Now, the way the verses were put, it did NOT say that there was no fellowship as in “you are non-believers, we are believers, you and us, have nothing in common”, rather there were some fellowship but they were NOT in sync, because NOT all the understandings were in-common. Why do I say that?

Verse 4 is the key, it said, so as to make “YOUR” joy COMPLETE. Now, both the King James and New King James versions of the Scripture have “your” instead of “our”. What it meant was that, the sharing was so that the believers’ joy {those with Gnostic tendency or others) might be made complete, from being incomplete (if they had been non-believers, there could NOT have been any joy, of the kind, that was to be completed); so that their understanding can be adjusted, on hearing, to be in sync with those of the others.

Believers being addressed
The epistle was addressed to the believers of Jesus Christ or fellow brethrens, even though in their midst there might be non-believers. The beauty of Scripture is that often times, whether you know or you do NOT know the unmentioned group {if indeed, there was one here}, you are still able to receive its truth if you honestly study Scripture in its straightforward and plain form.

For those still NOT convinced that the epistle was addressed to those, as I stated above, just look at 1 John 2:1a –

“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin.”

Remember, in the original texts of Scripture, there were no chapters. After 10 verses (chapter 1 has 10 verses), we come to the above, “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin.” Write what? Write “this”. What was “this”? The 10 verses before that. And who did John said he was writing to?My dear children”. What did it mean? It meant the old Apostle John was writing to believers.

Now, those who insisted that non-believers were targeted were clearly wrong, because (1) the epistle was meant for congregational public reading, (2) the unmentioned group (Gnostics, if you believe so) was NOT named at all, and (3) NOT far from the opening, as in 1 John 2:1a, John revealed who he was addressing, the believers, at least generally.

Still not convinced, here is 1 John 2:7a –

“Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning.”

You see, by this time the Apostle John was an old man, when he referenced believers in general, he would rightly use, “my dear children”, but when he, as in the above verse, was addressing those of his contemporary, he used, “dear friends” because these were not just believers, but friends or old friends like him, John, who had come into the faith for a long time already.

{added:14/10/2010} - Further strong evidence of the addressees of John were believers were found in 1 John 2:12-14.

This message is trustworthy, it was from Jesus
Having established that the general audience was the believers, and NOT non-believers, we now move on to the rest of the verses of 1 John 1 –

5This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.

In verse 3 above (1 John 1:3), John was saying that he was teaching the readers so that they have fellowship with one another and with God. Before he went to elaborate what that fellowship was all about, he assured them that the teaching was trustworthy. John said the message, the early believers including him, heard it from Jesus, Himself.

God is light
This is how John explained the fellowship: God is light; in God there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with God yet still walk in the darkness, we lie and do NOT live by the truth.

John started past the point of born-again
First and foremost, John did NOT say any of the readers (addressees of his epistle) have NOT accepted Jesus or that he was exhorting people to accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Saviour. I do NOT think people should read this into the verses. Rather, I suggest to you that John was starting past that point, meaning that, he was already assuming that the people had accepted Jesus as Lord and Saviour.

I am NOT contradicting myself when I said earlier that there were certain understandings (particularly, if you had believed Gnostic background believers were among the congregations) that needed adjustment, and that salvation or born-again was assumed. In reality, this happens all the time. Just think about how you and I accepted Jesus Christ; you mean you have all the answers and correct understandings before you accepted Jesus as the Lord and Saviour? If it were so, you did NOT accept Jesus, through faith; saved by grace, yes, but, NOT through faith (because you had all the answers and understandings!). In other words, John was starting past the born-again, but intentionally wanting to address believers who still were NOT very clear of how they needed to walk in the faith.  Is it NOT so, we all go and continue to go to church to hear the Word being preached for our growth, so that we could know God and His love, more, so that we could love Him more, and imitate Him, and walk with Him, and serve Him; we are NEVER arrived.

Want fellowship with God? Be a believer
Of course, if you have NOT accepted Jesus, you have no true fellowship with Christians and the Christian God; I think hardly anybody needs to be taught about it. Hello, when you are an old Apostle like John, and have ministered for many, many years, written the Gospel, and so on, and now addressed a church, you would have expected the church leadership to have at least taken care of that. Again, this pointed to John was NOT addressing non-believers, if he were, he would have said something about accepting Jesus as the Saviour.

Now, do you know why I believe 1 John was written by the same Apostle John who wrote the Gospel of John or the Book of John? It is in part because the same light metaphor was explained in John 3:16-21, where of course, the famous John 3:16 was a part, and which is readily quoted about coming into salvation or to be born again. In that passage of John 3, the basic, the “front” part, so to speak, was explained – you need to be born again before you could even step into fellowship with God who is light. John had already previously introduced the metaphor of light in the Gospel, now in 1 John 1, he was expounding on what it takes for us to continue in the fellowship of God, expanding on the light metaphor.  And so, it was NOT targeted at non-believers, and NOT referring to coming into salvation.

Promise of on-going purification if we confess
Next, 1 John 1:7-10 -

7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 8If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.

But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.

Verse 7 is not about coming into salvation or born again
Those who are adamant about the non-believer audience stand, insist that verse 7 was talking about coming into salvation or born-again. It was not. It was about the living out of the believer's life subsequent to being born again. But before I go any further, let me say that the people I am referring to, almost all of them are from the “grace only” all-in theology.

You see, these people insist that by this verse (v7), Jesus has forgiven all of an individual’s sins, past, current and future (those NOT even committed yet!), ALL, AT THE TIME of his born-again; i.e. the believer, once he becomes a believer, for all times, he is righteous, NOT even a moment he was NOT righteous, despite him sinning and is in his sin, and is unrepentant. The extremists even would like us to picture the believer as perfect; perfect, from the moment of being born-again! They argue that the grace of God necessitates this as the only correct explanation and understanding. How very wrong are such assertions?

These teachings are almost saying that after you become a believer, you actually can die for non-believers, and they would all be having salvation; for believers to them are perfect and so, sinless-what! You see these (erroneous) teachings first insist that this verse 7 is about coming into salvation or born-again so that, the next 2 verses would follow through with the same theme of salvation or born-again for non-believers, making 1 John 1:9 for non-believers only.

It is big deal
Now, do not just say, “What is the big deal?” These people claim that 1 John 1:9 are for non-believers only, and that believers must not do what the verse said, and if we, as believers, do that, they said we are profaning the name and blood of Jesus. Their argument of the profanity is not difficult to understand, since they believed that Jesus’ death and His blood has cleansed an individual of all his sins, past, current and future (yes, even those that had not happened!). They argued that it is that powerful and nothing less, and if we do not regard it that way, we are belittling the blood and name of Jesus.

Of course, their argument is contingent on that word, “all” in verse 7. Actually, concerning the sin-cleansing work of the blood of Jesus, the author of the Book of Hebrew dealt with it at length, but again it is subject to like-interpretation issue, but these people I am referring to, use 1 John 1:7 to reinforce their concept. Think about it, firstly, their understanding and concept are treating the blood of Jesus like an “auto-cleansing anti-virus computer program”, the moment a sin is committed, it is auto-cleansed, secondly, it also pushes all responsibilities to God, it amounts to “since you, God, have allowed me to come into salvation or born-again, you got to, by hook or by crook, preserve me till you get me to Heaven with you”. Please do not mistake me for saying God is NOT faithful. I am NOT saying that, I am saying be careful how you construe the faithfulness of God. To me, it does NOT mean anything and everything goes!

Who is profaning, you decide
If you think about what gave rise to Jesus having to come to be the Sacrificial Lamb, and so, what Jesus’ work was to achieve, you will understand, contrary to the above erroneous assertion of profanity by the "overly grace" believers, such understandings of theirs profane the name and blood of Jesus because it insinuates that Jesus is the license to sin, regardless of such people’s denying of actually saying that {Such insinuation of unrighteousness from the heart, need NOT be spoken to displease God. Moses was guilty of that, and for that, Moses was NOT permitted to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. For an understanding of this – read my separate article, “Why Moses did not enter the Promised Land”.} (And I have come across, on the internet, that such people did say, so what if you are sinning, just ignore it and NOT to be bothered by it!).

Already, there is a mega-church preacher, subscribing to 1 John 1:9 as applying to the non-believers only, saying this to his congregation, “How many times you, believers, want to ask for forgiveness!”, NOT as a question soliciting answer (rhetoric), but as an exhortation to believers NOT to do what 1 John 1:9 said to do. I say, if I am wrong, I profane the name of Jesus, if he, and they are wrong, they have misled many people to grieve God and His Spirit and miss full fellowship with God, to say the least.

God is holiness
Let me now give my commentary for the verses 5-10. Like I said, these verses were NOT about coming into salvation or born-again, and believers were being addressed. God is light; some want to say we can equate light to love, but if light is love, what will darkness be? Hate, hatred? Is there no hatred in God? Not exactly, God does hate. He hates sin, wickedness, etc.

Rather, I would say it might be more appropriate to consider light as representing holiness. Not wanting to extend the length of this article, I will NOT go into why I think the number one nature-attribute of God is holiness, but indeed God is first of all, holiness. And if light is holiness (a dimension of which, is righteousness), darkness is the opposite of holiness, or is “unholiness” or wickedness. So, in God there is no wickedness (darkness, v5) at all, Hallelujah!

Let me go further in the light metaphor, but you bear in mind what light and darkness represent: God is light; in God there is no darkness at all. This is one of the most important truths that we must grasp well. Sometimes, man is really a funny creature, when a thing is too simple, we view it with suspect, or we just dismiss it as insignificant.

Light and darkness do not mix
When you look at light, can you see darkness? No, there is no darkness in the light, because darkness and light do NOT mix. Light pushes back or away darkness; where there is light, there is no darkness. No darkness can stay in the light.

So, since God is light, there cannot be any darkness in God. John was saying it is questionable that we have fellowship with God who is light and yet still walk in the darkness. That kind of scenario is untenable. In other words, it is questionable if we, as believers, were to have fellowship with God who is holiness (if holiness is too heavy a word for your understanding, it is ok, just so that it becomes easier for you to understand and internalize, think righteousness), and yet walk (live our lives) in the opposite of holiness or wickedly or unrighteously. Now, I use questionable instead of impossible because nothing is impossible with God, but if you are walking in darkness, and God grants you an audience, it is grace, and mercy of God.  To show how offending unholiness is to God, Scripture in Heb 12:14 said, "... without holiness no one will see the Lord."

But it is NOT wrong to say it is questionable {but John would use impossible, this was his manner of making an emphasis; those interested to appreciate that this was indeed his style, can read my separate article, "Please, 1 John 3:9 does not mean a believer cannot (unable to) sin!"} if we, as believers, were to have fellowship with God who is holiness, and yet still walk (live our lives) in the opposite of holiness or wickedly/unrighteously. If one walks in the dark, and yet claims that he has full fellowship with God, he must be lying, and NOT living by the truth. Because the truth is that darkness cannot persist in light or darkness and light do NOT mix. But if one walks in the light, as God is in the light (since He is light), he has fellowship with God, and with all those who walk in the light.

Darkness is destroyed by light, we are not!
Let us talk a little more about light. Think about it, when we picture a very dark room, does your mind “looks for” the source (of darkness)? Now, picture yourself entering a very bright room, does your mind wonders for the source of the brightness? It is likely the answer for the former is a “no” and the latter, a “yes”. It is only natural; in fact, I believe it is in-built in us all, to look for the source of light. John said here, that God is light. It meant that God is The Light, the source itself. God has no source, God is the source of light; God is The Light.

Now, think about oil and water. Oil and water do NOT mix. The oil pushes the water away, unless the water is converted into oil on contact, in which case, the water has become oil itself. It is similar for light and darkness. Light pushes back darkness, or the darkness has to become light or become what I call light bearer. God is the source, when we come into the light, since we are NOT destroyed by the light, we become bearer of light. In this sense, the analogy of God as light, and us, differs from that of a dark room with light introduced into it. In the room scenario, the darkness is destroyed by the light.

When we come into the light of God, and we are NOT destroyed, we have become bearer of light. This gives us the understanding that believers are the one who can have fellowship with God, because believers are NOT destroyed in the light. That is why I said that to have fellowship with God, born-again, is already a pre-requisite thing (which John assumed at the outset of his exposition of the metaphor of light, here). There is something in us, believers, which makes us different from the non-believers (and from even Adam and Eve), which enables us to be light bearers. Have you guessed it yet? This also helps us to understand why Scripture put it that we are to be light to the world. We, as the followers of God, have become bearers of His light.

That which enables us to be light bearers
God is light. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, Scripture said that God put a deposit of His Holy Spirit in us. It is the Holy Spirit that enables us to become a bearer of God’s light. This is also to say, we become a bearer of light at salvation or born-again. We can walk in the light (have fellowship with God) and NOT be destroyed by it, because we have become bearers of His light.

In fact, when we persistently stay in the light, we will keep receiving the light from the Source, and we will shine brightly {this also tells us one of the things we must do, to be His light for the world}. When we stay away from the light, we will be away from the source, and we will become dim. So, verse 6 was really saying that one cannot expect to receive light from source when he walks outside of the light. And it also means that he can (if he chooses to) walk outside of the light.

And so, when you are not born again, you are not a light bearer
What the above also meant is that without salvation or born-again, man is NOT a bearer of God’s light. And so, if one is NOT a bearer of light, it is unlikely that one can stay in the presence of God on any persistent basis. It is like one would be destroyed by the light. Therefore, to have persistent fellowship with God, one must first be a bearer of His light.

Everything is not yet bright and shining
With these understandings, we now return to verse 7; when you are in the light, the blood of Jesus purifies you from all sin. Firstly, I believe that when one becomes a bearer of light, it does NOT mean that one is boxed up in the room of light, so to speak. This only happens when we reach Heaven; it is described for us in the Book of Revelation, written by John himself who had had visions including visions of Heaven, that in Heaven, there is going to be only light, no darkness, no night, only day, no sun, only God, God’s light will always be there, and I believe everything up in Heaven will be “bearer” of God’s light, leading to everything being bright and shining. In this fallen world there is still darkness; and we are asked to be light bearers in this world.

In this world, things are NOT in perfect state, although I am NOT saying we should NOT "push" towards that state. We are in effect bringing the Kingdom of God into the fallen world by being light bearers in the world. I believe in what Jesus said to the disciples: He said what He did, they (we) would do, and greater things they (we) would do, because He was going back to be with the Father God (paraphrased from John 14:12, excluding words concerning faith). Yet, still, we are to look to Jesus or God for bringing down the Kingdom of God into the fallen world; we do NOT have the perfection of Jesus, at least NOT yet, regardless how hard “grace only” leaders preached it. If we were, a believer would be able to die for non-believers for salvation!

The Apostle Paul put it clearly in 1 Cor 13:12 - Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then {“the day of perfection”} we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. The day of perfection, obviously cannot be our day of born-again or entry into salvation, for if it were so, Paul could NOT have used, “Now” and “then” the way he used in the verse, 1 Cor 13:12.

Israelites’ Journey to the Promised Land is a “type”
Our Christian walk is like the Israelites wandering in the wilderness for 40 years (on the way to the Promised Land; the journey of the Israelites to the Promised Land is a “type” of man’s journey to the Promised Land, Heaven); in the night, there was a pillar of fire or light to show the way, but the Israelites had to stay under the pillar of light. Could an Israelite wander away from the pillar of light? Yes, but what would happen? He would probably be separated from the rest, and be lost to the darkness, around. It is the same here, for verse 7; if we stay in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and with God. If we go out of “coverage”, we break from the fellowship of brethrens and of God, and risk being lost.

We return to the “type”, suppose an Israelite wandered off, but before he was lost to the darkness, he quickly went back under the pillar of light/fire, he would still be safe, wouldn’t he. God was faithful then, and still is; God has undertaken to take us forward to the Promised Land so long as we are careful in the exercise of our free-will, and NOT to wander off to our own destruction and NOT come back into the light.

Likewise, make every effort to stay in the light
Make every effort to stay in the light, please. Remember now, what light represents; holiness (or righteousness). If you find yourself wandered off, please come back into the light. The important thing is that you must turn back and come back into the light, failing which you are outside the “coverage”.

God’s promises, certain of them (in fact, many of them), have boundaries (or conditions); we must know the boundaries; if you crossed over the boundaries, the promises may NOT be applicable to you anymore. All of us stray, but the important thing is that we must turn back into the light; in other words, repent and ask for forgiveness whenever we strayed. This is what the 2nd part of verse 7 was all about; that when we turn back into the light, i.e. we repent and ask for forgiveness, God is faithful to forgive us, in other words, Jesus will wash us clean of our sin.

The overly grace preachers like to argue that repent is just turning back (no confession or asking for forgiveness, etc); nothing more than that.  My answer is: One can dart in and dart out; is that turning back into the light, we don't know!  It is either God ask you, or you got to tell God!  Well, Scripture tells us that we got to tell God - confess your sins, and ask God for forgiveness for your disobedience which would result in you being offensive to Him, from engaging darkness.  Verses 8-9 were the "what we need to do", to get the cleansing of the Lord, of verse 7.  Please, confession to God is NO works; neither is repenting (or turning back; otherwise, the overly grace preachers themselves are guilty of the very thing they are against - works!).

Way of Holiness – the highway of the believers
The balance few verses, vv8-10 were intended as the expansion or exposition of the 2nd part of verse 7. For those who still cannot accept the likening of light by me to holiness, do you know the Prophet Isaiah, when he had been commissioned as the prophet by God, after having a vision of God in all His holiness, prophesized (in Isaiah 35:8-10) that, believers journey on a highway, a way of holiness.

It was very plain that only those redeemed or have obtained salvation could travel on this highway, just like I said, one has to be a believer in order to have true fellowship with fellow believers and God. For the Israelites, in the “type” of journey to the Promised Land, had to stay under the coverage of the pillar of light in order NOT to be lost to darkness, the same was explained by Isaiah for the highway of holiness. Those who want a clearer understanding of this Highway or Way of Holiness, read my separate article on “Way of Holiness, The Way of the Lord”.

Similarly, here, in the light metaphor, it was also exhorting us NOT to stray into the darkness, lest we get re-taken over. But we do stray and we do commit sin; if you don’t, Scripture, as in verses 8, and 10, said that you have NOT been truthful, or you are calling God a liar.

One thing common, in all the three scenarios (light metaphor, Israelites' journey to Promised Land and Way of Holiness of Isaiah prophecy), is that to be safe, and to eventually arrive safely to where we are supposed to go, if we do stray or commit sins, we are to turn back; and what is that? Yes, repent, confess and ask for forgiveness. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

You do not address non-believers in this manner
I become upset whenever I encounter preachers/speakers who claim that verse 9 is for non-believers only. It is really sad to know that even the Senior Pastor of a mega church preached that this verse is for non-believers only. These verses are NOT referring to non-believers, they are every bit applicable to believers; just read again honestly, and you will agree with me. One just need to look at verse 10, one does NOT address non-believers in this manner:

“If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives (1 John 1:10).”

The last part of the verse clearly indicated that believers were addressed; if non-believers were addressed, that last portion, “and his word has no place in our lives”, would NOT be relevant because non-believers were never expected to have the Word in their lives.

Ask for forgiveness, said The Lord’s Prayer
Furthermore, the Lord’s Prayer, given to us by Jesus, Himself, on how and what to pray, clearly teaches us to ask for forgiveness for our sins. Obviously the Lord’s Prayer is NOT for NON-believers. Or is it for believers to say once, upon the receiving of Jesus into one’s life, and never to be repeated? Of course, not.

Different gospels, just excuses
Those who preached that the initial Disciple Apostles (of which Paul of Tarsus was NOT one), were preaching a different gospel, and those who even insinuate that Jesus Himself was preaching a different gospel to that which He gave to Paul of Tarsus, are just finding excuses to exclude some of the teachings of Scripture, including those of the Lord, like the Lord’s Prayer which exhorts believers to ask forgiveness for their sins and transgressions. I am of the opinion that many of such people do NOT even follow all the teachings of Paul of Tarsus when they claim they are following the “final gospel” given to Paul by the Lord Himself.

In any case, I suspect the problem with such people is that they already made up their mind what theology they want, and then they went round spinning webs to agree with their theology. In their spinning, they had to pervert the interpretations of Scripture, to justify their stand. If you are NOT like that, but are misled, today, practise 1 John 1:9; confess to God you have understood wrongly, had sinned and had NOT sought His forgiveness, and ask for His forgiveness and cleansing.

Scripture exhorts us to be holy and to resist sins
For those who want to absolve themselves from responsibility to resist sins on the pretext of grace, and nothing but the grace of God, and push squarely that responsibility back to God, ought to know that there are numerous verses by different Bible authors, apart from Jesus Himself, exhorting us to be holy or to resist sins. Here are some:

1 Peter 1:14-16 - As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he [the Lord] who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."

2 Corinthian 7:1 - Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.

What are “these promises”, above? The preceding verses of this Corinthian text tell us that if we separate ourselves from wickedness, from darkness, and from idolatry, God will receive us, and God will be a Father to us and we will be his children.

Hebrew 12:1-5a - 1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses {referring to patriarchs}, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith {what does this tells you?; we still need to be perfected on being born again}, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. 4In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:

Clearly the Book of Hebrew was addressed to believers, as can be seen from above. In verse 4, the author exhorted us to resist sin to the point of shedding our blood. Scripture DID NOT teach that to resist sins is God’s responsibility. No, it our responsibility, all the more when we are believers. It is also very clear that we, believers, are still work in progress, and NOT finished, still need to be perfected.

Hebrews 12:10 - Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.

Hebrews 12:14 - Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.

Right standing and right living
It is even obvious that 1 John 1:7-10 was similar in kind to a whole lot of exhortations in the Bible, some of which I have listed above, on the need to be living right or have right living. There is no doubt, right standing is paramount and fundamental, and that is imputed upon us from Jesus’ work on the Cross, and we all receive that by grace, through faith. I do NOT deny that, and we must NOT deny that, it is this right standing that qualifies us to come into fellowship with God who is light. Still, from the overall counsel of the Word, it is very clear that right living is exhorted, and we have responsibility for it. Preaching of right standing may be adequate (in connection to scenarios) but is NOT sufficient as the solution to the Christian’s walk.

“Grace is not the cure for all ills”
Teaching grace is fine but teaching grace, and nothing but grace, at the exclusion of all others, such as responsibility and accountability, exercise of will (or volition), effort, and action, etc, is NOT sufficient. My advice is NOT to try to explain everything in Scripture using grace alone. If we start with that premise, we are going to distort the interpretation of a lot of Scripture.

What 1 John 1:7-10 really meant, a recap
What the 1 John 1:7-10 verses meant was this: That it is very difficult for us, believers, to be without sin, we do sin, from time to time; we should NOT deceive ourselves. If we claim we have NOT sinned, we also made God out to be a liar, and His word has no place in our lives. Rather, confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

To break it down to the 3 scenarios that I talked about above: God would still shine His light for the Israelite that wandered off, but was able to get back into coverage of light before he was lost for good into the darkness of the desert night. The one who were travelling at the edges of the Highway of Holiness, even on and off, stepped out of the edge, the Commander of hosts still stretched forth His hands to him and beckoned him to come back on. For the believer who wanders off from the fellowship of the light, the God of light calls to you to scan for Him, the source of light, and follow its direction back before everything gets too dim.

There is the faithfulness of God, and there is our turning back to Him. Know who He is; He is Holiness; be holy as He is holy. God desires none be lost; in this regard what do we have to do? Stretch out our hands, and help pull them (the lost ones) back where possible, and this is the purpose of this long article, to provide the understanding to help draw believers back to proper “light fellowship”.

Yes, Jesus died for us when we were yet sinners. Yes, we can say that we are no longer a sinner since before entry into salvation we were sinners; afterwards, we may opt to say that we are no longer sinners to acknowledge that there was indeed a conversion experience, but it does NOT mean that we cannot sin or have NOT sinned since conversion. The point of 1 John 1:7-10 verses, in fact, is to remind believers that they do sin, and they are to repent, confess their sins, and ask for forgiveness, so that they can be purified again and again. This is entirely consistent with the Lord’s Prayer.

I could talk of Jesus’ priesthood role, as explained by the author of the Book of Hebrew, but I shall NOT dwell on it here. It suffices to say that, it is still subject to interpretations, and mine is NOT inconsistent with the interpretation of 1 John 1:9 given here.

Do not be misled
Those who teach that we cannot sin as a Christian, are liars. Those who teach that we have never sinned since conversion are also liars. Those who teach that we do NOT need to repent of our sins are misled. Those who teach that we do NOT need to ask for forgiveness, their teachings are inconsistent with spirit of these verses and those of the Lord’s Prayer, and many other verses, and are misled.  Those who teach that believers confess "already forgiven sins" in their confession is WRONG and inconsistent with 1 John 1:9.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions – 1 John 1:9 - “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” is for ALL, INCLUDING BELIEVERS.

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