“.If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” ~ 1 John 1:8
Explanation of the Text: In one single sentence, John packages the historical perspective of human sin. One of the scariest things about our current state is the willingness of people to not only deceive others about sin, but to deceive ourselves. We have come to a point in time in which each individual is no longer responsible for their own behavior. Instead, it is now acceptable to pass blame or rationalize our own behavior and thus, not need to bear the responsibility for it. This becomes a second danger of sin exemplified in this particular section of John’s writing. The first is a denial of sin (see verse 6) and now deceiving about sin.
This deception is indicative of something far greater. Deception about sin reveals that the truth is not in the person who claims to be without sin. An deep examination of Romans 12:1-2 reveals that those who are true believers, individuals who are walking in the light, are being transformed by the truth. That is, those who actively being transformed give evidence that the truth is within them. In a like way, those who deceive themselves about their own sin reveal that the truth is not in them.
Examination & Application of the Text: I remember trying to share Christ with a friend one time. During that conversation, I highlighted the fact that everyone is sinful. Highlighting myself, I described my own selfishness. This person responded by saying, “Oh no. I am not that way. Everyone tells me how giving I am.” But she failed to recognize that her purpose in that was to garner the approval of others, which was actually a selfish motivation. What had happened is she had deceived herself into thinking that she was a better person than she really was, and thus was not sinful. It is hard to recognize the need for a savior when one doesn’t recognize their own sin.
This is the heart status of so many people. Failure to recognize that sin pervades every person, we think so highly of ourselves that we no longer need the help of God or the help of others; life instead becomes all about our own ability. It was Guy King who wrote, “We are not sinners because we sin; we sin because we are sinners in character” (1).
We must stop rationalizing our sin and leading ourselves astray. Instead, we must be honest with ourselves, examining our lives in the light and openly acknowledge those areas which God would call sin.
Questions to Consider: In the previous discussions, I have asked a variety of questions that build off of each other urging you to write those down and keep them with you. Review those questions briefly and think about your responses:
- Prayerfully and humbly examine your own life.
- What darkness dwells in you?
- What kinds of relationships do you have? Do you have one or two people in which you have a deeper relationship with, maintaining a level of encouragement and accountability? If you do not have anyone, pray that God would provide someone with which you can have a deeper relationship with.
Today, I ask that you consider the following:
- As you prayerfully examine your life, ask God to reveal those specific areas in which you deceive yourself as not being sin. Usually these are easy to determine, because we already know what sin is there, but we rationalize it.
Continue to make a list of those areas in which you struggle that are sin. Pray and confess them, and give some specific ways (and specific verses) to counteract and get rid of that sin.
(1) Guy King, The Fellowship (Marshall, Morgan, & Scott, 1954).