Second Sunday of Easter – Epistle

by Crossings

1 John 1:1-2:2
Second Sunday of Easter
Analysis by Norbert E. Kabelitz

1We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life – 2this life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it, and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us – 3we declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
5This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. 6If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true; 7but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. 2:1 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; 2and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.


Step 1: Initial Diagnosis (External Problem) – Not Walking the Talk (v. 6)
When confessing (or boasting about) fellowship with God, who is “light,” does not translate into “walking the talk,” we are in the twilight zone, the shadow land (shadow boxing). In other words, we are counterfeit, living a lie, not doing the truth. If the talk does not translate into a walk (doing) we fool only ourselves.

Step 2: Advanced Diagnosis (Internal Problem) – Living in Denial (v. 8)
Our lips may mouth the claim of fellowship and piety, but our hearts are far away from it. The truth is not in us. We are living a lie, deceiving ourselves; living in denial. Trusting the defense of lip service (therefore, “sinless”), our inaction and deception merely provide evidence to prosecute us as liars. Faithless at heart, we do not trust God with the truth about who we really are (confession), and that cripples us. We can’t distinguish the real from the counterfeit, the whole truth from the lie.

Step 3: Final Diagnosis (Eternal Problem) – Worse, We Make God a Liar (v. 10)
Our lies corner us; we have lived under an illusion, and now we are liable to receive the fitting description of “whitewashed tombs” (looking good, without sin). But inside “God’s Word is not in us”; there is dry-rot instead. To say, “no sin” as a “fruit of our denial,” puts us in opposition to God. We make God a liar. The lively, truthful Word which could enable a U-turn translates into a dead end. We are declared unrighteous (v. 9) not because of mere hypocrisy, but because of unfaith. We distrust God with the whole truth of our situation. Whatever is not of faith is sin. We stand condemned, judged and alone, loving “darkness rather than the light.


Step 4: Initial Prognosis (Eternal Solution) – Jesus Comes Alongside (Paraclete/Advocate)
“Jesus the righteous” (2:1), comes over to our side as the One whom God provides to undo our deception and denial and counterfeiting by His own blood (life). For God did not send His Son to condemn but to save and heal and make us real. Now we, through him, are able to overcome the sin and live with the truth of God about ourselves: that God is faithful, and reveals to us that while we are sinners, in his Son we can become saints. The Word of life is revealed (1:1-4) to free us, to expose the unrighteousness and clothe us with Jesus’ righteousness and truthfulness. By his atoning sacrifice (2:2) he makes possible “at-one-ment,” a fellowship of integrity. We are freed to confess our sin openly and turn our dead ends into open highway.

Step 5: Advanced Prognosis (Internal Solution) – Drawing Near with a Clean Heart
In faith we confess our sin openly, trusting God’s saving action in Jesus. “‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fear relieved” (see Ps. 130:4 “But there is forgiveness with you, so that you may be revered” [in Luther’s words: “loved and trusted above all else.”]). Frederick Buechner says, “To confess your sins to God is not to tell God anything he doesn’t already know. Until you confess those sins, however, they are the abyss between you and God. When you confess them, they become the bridge” (Wishful Thinking, p. 15). We are freed to confess (to “talk the talk”) and empowered for the walk of fellowship. For God’s word of forgiveness in Christ puts his Word in us, revealed, seen, testified to, declared (1:1-4).

Step 6: Final Prognosis (External Solution) – In Touch with the Word of Life
Because Jesus comes alongside and inside to give us a clean heart, we are “surprised by joy” (1:4). With a new integrity we can “walk the talk” that binds us together in fellowship with God and with one another–the messenger, the recipients of the message, touched by the Word of Life.


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