“My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”
My little children,
John addresses his readers affectionately as his spiritual children. He views them as a family. The word “children” is an affectionate term regardless of age. This is a title that God gives to all His children; it is His name for all the family of God.
these things I write to you,
The purpose of writing 1 John is that believers would have a means for addressing sin issues. This is an argument against the idea that Christians must engage in inevitable habitual sinful behavior.
John does not write so that his readers have justification for their sin (1:6,8,10) but that they might conquer sin. Although Christians sin (1:10), they can conquer sin – “so that you may not sin.”
so that you may not sin.
John writes with the purpose that his readers will have a safeguard against sinning. If we practice sin, we will become more proficient in it. That is how we were before we received Jesus as our Savior. Now, it is altogether different; we have Someone to live for. John’s desire is that his readers will not sin at the point of temptation.
Although believers are not free from sin, they can overcome sin.
Temptation never becomes a sin until we allow our negative volition to yield to sin. There is no sin in being tempted, but it is a sin to yield to temptation. Once the temptation becomes a sin, there is a danger of entering into carnality and dominance of sin unless we confess the sin.
Although we are not in a state of carnality when we commit an act of sin, we do step out of fellowship with the Lord. If we go on without confessing, we make ourselves vulnerable to the domination of our sin capacity. Because God is absolute, spirituality must be absolute (1:5). We cannot be 50% spiritual and 50% carnal. At any point in time, either the Spirit controls us, or our sin capacity controls us.
Before we came to Christ, sin was the rule rather than the exception. Now when the child of God falls into sin, he grieves the Father, the Holy Spirit, and the Lord Jesus. He even grieves himself. That is why we do not remain in sin with a clean conscience. The believer who wants to stay in tune with God confesses his sin immediately (1:9). He restores fellowship as soon as possible. He keeps short accounts with God.
Many believers get into a zigzag orientation in their daily walk with God. All of us have had this experience. It is one thing to commit individual acts of sin and immediately confess them, but another thing to cave into the power of our sin capacity. The cross gives victory over the power of sin. By confession, we appeal to the cross and have the right to fellowship with God. Jesus broke the back of our sin capacity on the cross.