Day 5 Read: 1 John 2:1-6
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
Reflect: What evidence does John indicate will be revealed in the life of a true follower of Christ?
Consider: The Greek term rendered expiation/propitiation (here and 4:10) is derived from a verb which outside the New Testament generally means, “to pacify,” namely, an offended deity. Another meaning of the verb, rarer in non-Christian writers, is: to perform an act by which ritual or moral defilement is removed. In the Greek and Hellenistic world, it was believed that the prescribed rituals (which might or might not include the slaughter of animals) could serve, so to speak, as a powerful disinfectant. Everyone who had performed this ritual could be confident that the taint was removed.5
Respond: Why did John address his readers as little children? What does that indicate about the nature of what he is about to share? Did John think it was possible for people to be completely without sin? How do you know? If he didn’t mean that a person could be without sin, what was his intent?
5 C. Haas, Marinus de Jonge, and J. L. Swellengrebel, A Handbook on the Letters of John, UBS Handbook Series (New York: United Bible Societies, 1994), 35–36.