1 “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.

He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2:1-2

If we take the time to study these two amazing verses we will notice that there are six main themes or truths about Jesus found in the verses. First Jesus desires that sin would disappear from our lives. Second, though the ideal is that we don’t sin, Jesus promises us that we will never be abandoned because we do sin. Third Jesus is our advocate and fourth He is our Righteous One. Fifth He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and lastly Jesus secures forgiveness for our sins and offers that forgiveness to the whole world.

When we study the Bible it is important to determine the context concerning the verse we are looking at. For example, I have heard more times than I wish to count the first part of verse one quoted as a proof text that we are not to sin, can overcome sin and must eventually be masters over every sin in our life. In light of the rest of verse one and verse two that interpretation is totally wrong.

The verse is an encouragement for Christians to turn away from sin and stop doing self-destruction and damaging things in our lives. However, John acknowledges that we are sinful creatures and do sin so He presents the antidote to our failures in the person of Jesus Christ.

It is because of Jesus death on the cross as our substitute where He bore our guilt, shame, punishment and judgment for sin that I need not live in despair, fear, and disillusionment because I don’t keep the law. Jesus is our advocate to the Father and will never abandon us because He is the Righteous One who bears all the sins of the world upon His shoulders that we might be declared righteous before the Father.

John is not demanding perfection in these verses but offering hope for a humanity that doesn’t live up to the ideal of perfection. The greatest theme is therefore that, since we do sin, we have the assurance of a Savior who still loves us in spite of our failures, a Father who still accepts us, and the Holy Spirit who never gives up on us.

From your emails I know there are many of you who have been beaten up over the years by people who misquote verses like 1 John 1:1 and as a result have stolen your joy and security in Christ. When Christianity becomes nothing more than moralism, legalism, and duty it destroys everyone in its path.

Satan loves nothing more than to hear Christians push law keeping and standards as the core of what it means to be a Christian. And why is he so happy over that view of Christianity? Because it belittles the sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary’s cross and takes our eyes off our Savior and places them upon us.  As a result every time we start looking at our own performance and not the merits of Christ, we become discouraged and overwhelmed by how far short of the ideal we have fallen.

Jesus is “the atoning sacrifice for our sins”. Do you believe that with all your heart? Do you know deep down in your soul that it is not about how good you are or how much obedience you offer to God but it is His atoning sacrifice that saves you? This is where our assurance takes root and allows us to live as free men and women.

In the Garden Jesus took the cup of God’s wrath for sin and bore all the anger and curse for sin that was meant for us and He carried it to the cross. He paid our penalty for sin by offering freely His own life to be the substitute for our treason and blasphemy against the Father. Through that death He offered us His righteousness, His forgiveness, His love and acceptance in return.

What evil lurks in our hearts that we can believe for one moment that through our works and obedience we can add one iota to the self-sacrificing death of the God of the Universe who gave everything to redeem us from sin, Satan, and death? We are never going to be strong and have absolute assurance until we grasp the wonder and glory of the cross. It was there that we were freed from the bondage to death and promised eternal life.

I apologize for the view of Christianity that beat so many of you down over the years and discouraged you. I received an email recently from a woman who had given up on God because of the picture of God she had been presented way back in grade school. She said she feared God and cringed at the thought of His return because she wasn’t good enough to be saved.

That is nothing but a lie and a demonic lie at that. Of course we are never good enough to be saved, but we are saved by the grace of God in spite of our failures. That is the whole reason Jesus came to this world and died for us.

Tonight I encourage each of us to pray a simple prayer of acceptance of God’s grace in our lives and then cast all our cares and sins upon Him. He will carry them into the deepest part of the ocean and they will never come back upon us again. Feel the freedom of being loosened from the power of sin and discouragement.

Now here is one more amazing thing about surrendering your fears, discouragements and sins to Jesus. You will actually find yourself walking closer to God than when you were trying hard to live up to His standards and laws. You will find your heart soaring skyward in newfound joy and a new desire to worship and praise God.

1 John 2:1-2 tells us that the shackles have been taken off us and we are no longer slaves to our failed life of struggling to overcome sin, because Jesus has lived the perfect life of sinlessness and has accredited that life to us through His blood.

Walk with your heads held high because you are sons and daughters of the King, bought with an infinite price. The God of the Universe loved you enough to die for you so what more need be said?

Cares Chorus by Kelly Willard

* The persecution of Christians has not stopped.  If anything it’s increased. The main stream media doesn’t talk about it much anymore but that doesn’t mean it’s not happening.  Pray and stay informed and inform others.  Please take the time to read some of their stories at  http://thebeggardanced.com/nine-oclock-club/ there is much more on the internet…