“If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
Note that each false claim in 6, 8, and 10 denies the truth that immediately precedes it in verses 5, 7, and 9 respectively. The corrective immediately follows the false claim.
Now we come to the third false plea. This claim is a denial of having committed any sin at all.
If we say that we have not sinned,
Sin is an ongoing reality in the life of Christians because God is a God of absolute perfection. John is still dealing with the idea that “God is light” (1:5). To deny that fact is to fool ourselves and reject the Word of God.
we make Him a liar,
If we claim that we have not sinned, we make God out to be a liar. We say in effect that what God says about Himself in the Bible about our sin is not right. This claim is completely inconsistent with God’s character. What an awful thing to make God out to be a liar!
and His word is not in us
God’s Word always confronts our sin. We either admit or deny what the Word says about our sins. If we deny that we have sin in our lives, we fly in the face of the Word of God. We do not appropriate the principles of the Word properly to our experience.
The word “in us” indicates intimate fellowship. The Word of God does not have intimate fellowship with those who claim to be free from sin.
Openness to the full integrity of the Word of God is essential for fellowship with an absolutely holy God.
If we claim that sin is not sin, we dismiss the reality of an absolute God and set ourselves up as the standard for what is right and wrong. A person who claims to be free from sin is a super snob. The sinless perfectionist, or the person who denies committing actual acts of sin, is a super snob.
We live in a day when our society denies the distinction between light and darkness. Tolerance is the only norm of consensus for North America. God says that this is dangerous. It is even more dangerous when Christians do not use biblical discernment to indicate what is right and wrong. We make God a liar in this.
We are people of rationalization: “Other people are conceited, but I am a person of self-respect. If someone else takes the initiative, he is presumptuous; if I take the initiative, I am creative. When others lose their temper, they are angry; when I show indignation over something, it is righteous anger. Others are prejudice; I have convictions.” Nice labels do not change the poison inside the bottle. The problem is not the circumstance but sin. We need to admit and confess this to God.
The more sensitive we are to the Word of God, the quicker we will detect our sin and confess it. It can take some time for the Spirit to convict us of sins of omission and ignorance. We cannot confess sin until the Holy Spirit brings us to the conviction of sin. In the meantime, the first two verses of chapter two take care of our situation during our time of no confession.
Ro 14:23, “But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.”
Jas 4:17, “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”
If we want to walk in unbroken fellowship with the Lord, we must confess our sin. The believer cannot have anything between the soul and the Savior for God to fellowship with him. We acknowledge any guile, bitterness, or hard feelings that we might have toward others.