JESUS CHRIST, OUR DEFENSE 1 John 2:1-2 Key Verse: 1
"My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One." In the Super Bowl, the best defense is a good offense. It used to be said that defense wins championships. Do you want to live a champion life or defeated life over sin? Today’s passage deals with two key points that are the core in the gospel; first, Christian’s attitude to sin, second, what a Christian should do when he sins. Sin is the most crucial problem to be solved to live a victorious life. Down through the generations, not only Apostle John’s generation but also our generation, sin has become a serious problem in one’s life. Sin is the most harassing enemy to us. However, our postmodern people do not treat sin seriously, but rather treat it lightly.
Due to the frequency of sin, people do not regard sin as sin and in the name of freedom they commit sin without any hesitation like drinking a cup of coffee. As a result, people’s inner beings are destroyed, families are broken, and society becomes more corrupted like Sodom and Gomorrah. The most serious problem in our society is the loss of a value system that determines what sin is and what is right or wrong. Therefore, based on such trends in our society, it is very important for us to study what attitude Christians should have and what we should do when we sin. May God help us to listen to Apostle John’s teaching so that we may live a victorious life by defeating the waves of sin through depending on our defense, Jesus Christ!
Part I: You Will Not Sin (1a) Look at verse 1a; “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin.” John gave us the earnest advice not to compromise with sin. Why does John say, “I write this to you so that you will not sin“? It is because there is a possibility that the grace of forgiveness of sin can be abused. In 1John 1:9, John testifies that we can enjoy the wonderful grace of the forgiveness of sin when we confess our sins sincerely. This is the word of promise that even if we commit any kinds of sins, God may wash away all our scarlet like sins as white as snow with the blood of Jesus as long as we truly confess our sins.
But people in this world cover their sins by any means when they commit sins, and persistently deny sins when what they did is uncovered. It is because if they confess their sins, others may judge and condemn based on what they admit. The spiritual world, however, is different; God hates sins but really loves repentant sinners. Whenever we truly confess our sins, God cleanses all our sins with the precious blood of Jesus. This is indeed the wonderful promise of God. How can we believe this promise of God? We can believe God’s promise because it is based on God’s faithfulness that God never breaks what he promises and keeps it at any cost. But there is one problem. There is the possibility of abusing God’s grace of forgiveness.
Why? It is because people may think that if they have a guarantee to be forgiven, they do not need to struggle against sin and it might be okay to sin anyway. Therefore, Apostle John clearly says that the purpose of writing this letter is not to encourage them to sin, but to give a clear warning so that they may not sin. Our society has many problems. But a greater problem is that people are so busy to deal with the visible symptoms, rather than solving the fundamental problem. Five years ago, I went to a clinic because of severe pain in my stomach. The doctor diagnosis was that there was a lot of gas in my stomach and then gave me something to aid in digestion. But it did not work. So later I went to the Samaritan Hospital and it turned out to be ‘helicobacter problem,’ not ‘indigestion problem.’
Likewise, even though our society has serious diseases, people do not know what the fundamental problem is and try to manage its obvious symptoms. But this only makes problems worse and worse. For example, more than 30,000 Americans commit suicide each year. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people between the ages of 14 and 25 in America. It reveals that our society has become increasingly sick. We are proud of having over 77% of Christians among U.S. population. Then why does our society become so sick like this? Because of bad economy or high divorce rate, or American dream, or education system? We can find the causes and solutions in various ways. But we humbly have to listen to what the Bible says. The Bible clearly says that the fundamental cause of moral depravity is our disobedience and departure from God.
Romans 1:21 says, “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” What a precise diagnosis! Here, we learn that sin is caused by the broken relationship with God. In other words, sin is to live for our own glory, not to live for the glory of God. When our lives are controlled by sinful desires instead of being controlled by the truth, it is sin. Sin is to live according to what our flesh wants to do (Ro 6:12; Eph 2:3). The Bible not only makes a precise diagnosis of our fundamental problem, but also clearly shows us a wonderful medicine to solve all these problems in our lives; that is we should repent our sins and come back to God.
Then, we can have a right relationship with God by struggling against sin. The Christian life is a struggle against sin. How much should we fight against sin? Hebrews 12:4 says that we should have a struggle against sin to the point of shedding our blood. Wow! In the past, we did not believe in Jesus so we enjoyed a sinful life. We were swallowed up by the muddy stream of sins. Under this stream, the final destination would be an everlasting downfall. But by the grace of Jesus, we were rescued from a sea of sin and granted a new life. Now, the new life in Christ is to live a life that supercedes the muddy stream of our sins. The new life in Christ is to turn our direction from enjoying our sinful life to fighting against sin.
Therefore, we should not commit sin which abuses God’s grace of forgiveness of sin. We should wage war and fight against sin because sin breaks our relationship with God and damages our relationship with other people as well. In addition, sin destroys our inner-being. It makes us powerless and useless. When we have sinned, there is no peace in our hearts and joy disappears. Moreover, when we sin, God is not happy and we have no strength to carry on the mission He has given to us. Finally, we will stand before the righteous judgment seat of God and be judged (2 Cor 5:10). So, Apostle John earnestly urges the Christians not to sin, saying, “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin!” Why should we not sin? It is because when we sin, we become a slave of sin. Jesus says in John 8:34, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.” We have to recognize the fact that while sin is sweet temporarily, but it is poisonous leading us to death. We have to struggle against sin, knowing how miserable and destructible the result of sin is. Therefore, we should live a sacrificial and mission centered life for God’s glory. Romans 6:12 says, “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.” When we have enough time and enough room, we tend to think aimlessly and seek all different kinds of pleasure, which results in committing sin. Therefore, we should study hard and work hard for the glory of God with very little time for sinning. Listen to Apostle John; “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin.” Part II: Our Defense, Jesus Christ (1b-2) Many young people are on the phone calling their father to ask him for help as soon as they get a traffic ticket or their car does not start or they are locked out like my daughters. Although we struggle against sin no matter how diligently, we may sin unintentionally due to our weakness. When we become lazy in praying and studying the Bible, we fail in fighting against sin and float on the muddy stream of sin. When we sin, our spirit discourages and groans. Whenever we sin, Satan comes and whispers, “Hey! Now you can’t go back to God again! How can God forgive such a sinner like you again and again? Basically, you are hopeless, don’t you know that!!!” Satan disheartens us so that we may not come to God again, torturing ourselves and being powerless. But this is a time when we need desperate help like my daughters. Who can be the true helper for us?
Look at verse 1b; “But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.” Jesus is our defense. Yes! We cannot solve the sin problem in our lives without our defense, Jesus Christ. When children do something wrong and ask their parents’ forgiveness, parents forgive them unconditionally because of their love toward children. Likewise, when we realize our mistakes and ask God’s forgiveness, God who has infinite love may also forgive us. But the Bible says that there is no forgiveness of sin without the shedding of blood (Heb 9:22). It means that we never solve our sin problem without Jesus who shed his blood and died on the cross for our sins.
In Hellenic, the word “defense” is “Parakletos,” which is the same word, “the counselor” (Jn 14:16). The “counselor” is literally the person who stands right next to those who need help. In other words, he is with us all the time and helps us whenever we need help. In verse 1b, “defense” is the same meaning to a lawyer. In court, while the prosecuting attorney probes a suspect to find possible evidence against the suspect, the defense lawyer stands beside the suspect, convincing the court that the suspect is innocent and repeatedly saying the constitutional rights for the suspect. But today, because of expensive legal fees and many corrupted lawyers, the image of lawyers has been damaged a lot like O.J. Simpson’s lawyers.
Jesus, however, who is our defense, is a righteous lawyer. Jesus knows all about our situations, stands beside us, and defenses us faithfully with responsibility. Romans 8:34 says this very clearly, “Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” In verse 1b, “one who speaks to the Father” means ‘one who sees God face to face.’ In other words, Jesus, who is our defense, does not come to God, but is with God all the time, who is the judge, seeing God face to face in order to defense us.
When we sin, we must stand before God, who is the righteous and honorable judge. At this time, Satan accuses us of our sins that we committed knowingly and unknowingly, and then charges us with the punishment of death. But Jesus is our lawyer, defenses those who believe in him, and leads us into the way of eternal life. Only Jesus is qualified to be our defense because he is the Son of God who is sinless and righteous (Heb 4:15). Yet, when Jesus stands to defense us, he does not claim that we are innocent without reason. Instead, he suggests his own atoning sacrifice as the evidence of the payment of our sins and sets us free.
Verse 2 tells us how Jesus is qualified to be our defense; “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” Here, “the atoning sacrifice” means that Jesus became an object of sacrifice to save us from the wrath of God due to our sins and to be the righteousness one. When we sin, we have to pay the wages of sin which is death (Ro 6:23). We have to die in misery because of the cost of our sins. If everything is over with death, it will be really good enough; O.K.! But just as man is destined to die once, we all must face the horrible judgment (Heb 9:27). That judgment is the second death with the everlasting suffering in the fiery lake of burning sulfur (Rev 21:8).
God, who is merciful, however, sympathized with us and sent his One and Only son, Jesus, into the world. Jesus was crucified on the cross to pay all prices of our sins. Sometimes we are preoccupied with worries and fears by all our past sins and sins that we will commit inevitably in the future. But we need not to worry about them at all. It is because Jesus paid the full price once and for all--all of our past sins, present sins, and even future sins as well. Jesus is the atoning sacrifice not only for our sins but also for the sins of the whole world. John the Baptist proclaims when he sees Jesus, “Look the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (Jn 1:29)
The grace of Jesus’ forgiveness is deep and wide. Only Jesus can be qualified to be our defense. Because we have such a defense, we are able to live a life of faith again and again even after sinning. A little baby like Evelyn Hajek repeats in falling down on the floor but gets up constantly in order to learn how to walk. Finally, some day Evelyn can walk by herself after having enough strength in her legs. Likewise, through the course of falling down and getting up due to the sins in our lives of faith, we will be spiritually stronger little by little and grow as God’s people, and bear Jesus’ image.
Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Whenever I fail from spiritual struggling and fall down, I come to my Lord, Jesus, just as I am. The place I come to is not the throne of the condemnation or judgment, but the throne of the grace of Jesus. The reason why I may come to the throne of God boldly is not because of my effort, but because of the grace of Jesus who shed his precious blood and died on the cross due to all my sins. Whenever I come to Jesus based on the grace of his precious blood, Jesus forgives my all my sins and supplies new spirit to me to fight against sin. Praise Jesus, my defense!
*Conclusion: In today’s passage, we learn that we should not give in to sin but struggle against sin to the point of shedding our blood. Also, we learn that we have our defense, Jesus, who is able to help us all the time when we are tired and fail in the course of fighting against sin. Are you going to be discouraged or lose hope when you sin? No! Instead, by faith you may come to Jesus who is your Defense and struggle newly against sin with new strength! This is the only way to overcome this sinful world and live a victorious life. Thank God who grants us Jesus Christ as our defense!