“My lttle children, I am writing these things to you, so that you may not sin.” (I John 2:1)
The Apostle John was good about telling his readers his purpose for writing. In the Gospel of John he specifically stated that the purpose of his writing was that they might believe and have life in Jesus name (20:31). Here in his first epistle John says that the purpose of writing this letter is: “SO THAT (the purpose) you may not sin.” The whole purpose of this letter is to encourage God’s people to purify themselves from sin. The need for a letter like this has not changed in our day.
One of the biggest problems contemporary Christianity faces is that of the compromised and sinful nature of those who are supposed to be Christians. Evidently it was not much different in John’s day — thus his repeated admonitions in this letter for purity in God’s people:
— 1:5-6 “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all … if we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.”
— Chap. 2:1 “Little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin” and :4, “The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”
— 3:3 “Everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies Himself just as He is pure.”
And so on repeatedly throughout this little book. The bottom line: John is admonishing Christians not to be content to regard themselves as God’s people, and yet continue in sin. In fact, he asserts, abiding in sin should cause one to question whether they belong to Christ at all.
This runs counter to the attitude of many contemporary “Christians”, who dismiss their sin lightly, with expressions like “Well, no one is perfect”; who enter sin willfully, thinking: “God will just forgive me”; or who chat glibly about their “walk with God” when they are walking in known, unrepented sin. John shows us here that this is not New Testament Christianity. Knowing that Jesus died for our sins is never to be an excuse to continue in sin. Rather for the genuine Christian it should be the greatest motivation NOT to sin.