To people who are feeling guilty and condemned. I John 2:1-2

I opened the Bible program on my computer this morning, and this is the first thing I see, the headline leading into 1John chapter 2:1-2.

To people who are feeling guilty and condemned,

It goes on to say, John (the disciple and revelator) offers reassurance.

Why, after all these years, do I still struggle with guilt and condemnation? Perhaps you do as well.

I sat down one day with my Pastor and talked openly and honestly about things going on around me; things like family members that moved back in and live with us, and how they do not seem to understand what the word boundary means; or, what it means to take care of your dogs. That might seem trivial to some, especially when they are firebombing the church you go to or torturing you for your beliefs in a God other than Allah; but I can assure you it feels real to me.

We are told in scripture to confess our sins one to another, and maybe how I feel could fall under this idea of confessing our sins, especially when “sin” is merely missing the mark – up to and including, some substantially ugly stuff. In truth, I am not even sure what this idea of confessing our SINS looks like, as there are people that you should NOT reveal any of your secrets too. I suppose this idea of confession requires that you spend some time with random people to find out how trustworthy they are.

In recovery there is a constant barrage of instructions that goes something like this, what is said here, stays here!

That is what you would hope you find in the real world as well. I can tell you from experience, that even with such counsel your so-called friends will walk up to your wife, right in front of you, and ask, “are the things he says about you in the group, true?”

James 5:16 CJB Therefore, openly acknowledge your sins to one another, and pray for each other, so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

I suppose in a way, confession is what I did when I talked with the pastor, but I was not looking for a verbal beating. What I wanted was a compassionate and hearing heart; what I got was, “I can’t believe that you, being a follower of Christ for all these years, would feel this way.” My internal reaction was, are you kidding me; you didn’t just say that to me?

What does scripture tell us?

Galatians 6:1 MSG Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out.

When you consider that SIN is merely the missing of the small center of the target, then we all sin daily.

But what happens when someone falls into sin?

Translations vary from the word sin to the sad reality of being caught in and overtaken in a fault. At least with phrases like being caught in sin and overtaken in sin, you immediately can tell that there is much more than a gentle push from the wind while trying to hit a target. The phrases can imply being too casual about the problem, or a non-caring attitude because you think you can handle whatever it is; unfortunately, sin can be deadly.

To be overtaken is the Greek word prolambanō and means to take in advance, that is, (literally) eat before others have an opportunity; (figuratively) to anticipate, surprise (Strong’s concordance)

The words that the Greek conveys cause me some grief, for how do I understand this idea of being captive when the strongest implication comes from the phrase, to take in advance? If I were to collect my earnings before payday, it would either be by permission (most employers would look at you warily from that point on,) or, you stole the money thinking they owed you anyway. None-the-less, you took it in advance. The second option being theft. If what I am trying to understand is this idea of being caught in sin, then perhaps some of the other words available make more sense; such as to “have an opportunity,” or to “surprise.Having an opportunity indicates some thought has been applied, quite possibly for some time, while the word surprise alludes to something that is suddenly before you. A car crash on the motorway can undoubtedly be a surprise, but the result can be a terrible chain of events, with appalling consequences, all of which contribute to the idea of being taken in a snare.

John MacArthur’s commentary tells us that to be overtaken is literally to be “caught,” which may imply the person was seen sinning or that he was caught or snared by the sin itself.

A fault is the Greek word paraptōma and means a sideslip (lapse or deviation), that is, (unintentional) error or (willful) transgression: – fall, fault, offense, sin, trespass.

Paul goes on to say,

Galatians 6:2-3 ERV Help each other with your troubles. When you do this, you are obeying the law of Christ. 3) If you think you are too important to do this, you are only fooling yourself.

We should, at this point, understand that the potential for help and comfort is there. The guest speaker at our church sat and talked with me, saying, we the church should be the place where we can go, take our hurts, and be accepted. I laughed as I said, sadly, that is not reality.

But, what if your guilt and condemnation have been drilled into you through parents, caretakers, childhood, bullies: (many times these can look like church leaders.)

1 John 2:1-2 NASB My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 2) and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.

Note the words, “if anyone sins.” Of course, we are going to sin; it’s built into us.

But 1 John 2:1-2 gives us hope, for:

  • we have an Advocate with the Father,”

    Advocate – paraklētos – An intercessor, consoler: – advocate, comforter.

  • Jesus Christ the righteous;”

    What gave Jesus His ability and right to stand on our behalf? One, you should understand that He is God, and two, His willingness to pay the price on the cross. He repurchased us, and, He bought our redemption. At one point, He told the disciples and those listening, that this same advocate would come in His place if He went back to the Father, and He did. Therefore, the comforter/advocate has come.

John 16:7 NASB “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.

  • and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins;”

    Propitiation – hilasmos atonement, that is, (concretely) an expiator: – propitiation.

    This atonement is what I spoke of when I said, “He gave His life on that cross.” Jesus, we are told, poured out His own blood on the heavenly altar, just as the priest would. In so doing He became our high priest. And, God raised Him up and seated Him at the Father’s right hand.

  • and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.”

    His atonement covered, not only those of us who believe but everyone – the whole world. This blanket forgiveness seems to be the hardest thing for the religious to understand. This lack of belief or understanding is proven out by comments indicating how everyone caught in sin is going to hell. Logic would ask, what sins, seeing as sins have been forgiven. Taking this idea one step further, what then condemns the world? A lack of belief in Jesus Christ.

There it is, this Jesus has taken all the guilt and condemnation onto Himself. He purchased us back from the debt WE owed. (If you are a movie fan, then the movie adaptation of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, tells this story, as Aslan had to make the secluded deal with the witch, as they met in the tent. Aslan, a symbol of Jesus, gave His own life in place of Peter’s. And, just as Aslan did, Jesus rose from the dead, with great power, and, He was unstoppable.

What is required of me? Faith.

Can I believe that someone, namely Jesus, would do that for me? Yes, and I did, and so can you.

What’s to keep the entire world from accepting such salvation? Nothing, as He simply asks us, in this age of grace, to believe.

Back to this problem of me, struggling with “sins” after so many years in the Lord.

An aspect of what makes me work is the voices in my head. No, I am not nuts, we all have voices in our heads. To some, they sound like a drill sergeant; to others, like me, they sound like my dad or mother; often they sound like some moral authority, especially when acting moral is very inconvenient.

Fortunately, after all these years, I can definitely say that one of those voices belongs to God/Holy Spirit. While I just admitted that I hear from God, I also argue with Him, and that bothers me. Recently I heard Him tell me to go to another fast food stand instead of the one we typically go to on Tuesdays because I was going to have trouble there. Now, in my defense, He did not explain why I would have trouble, but I think I knew why and I saw an image of them. My foolish, manly response was that I could handle problems. It turns out I couldn’t and just about had the police called on me – I sound like a large bear when I get that angry. And yes, I let anger and rage get the best of me. Having spent some time in recovery because of the anger, I have come to the determination that, like the alcoholic, I will fight with this for the rest of my life. (This understanding is really the sanest approach. I like to call it honesty.)

At this point in life, my conclusions are that I (just like all of you) have built-in damage that tries to motivate me to live out of my self-motivated desires; and, I have sustained damage from others that have wounds deep enough to be an active cause of my griefThere is, unfortunately, the third cause of troubles in our lives and that is the enemy, Satan.

Paul speaks to this idea of being snagged by the enemy.

2 Timothy 2:25-26 NASB with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, 26) and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.

Were you aware that people were caught in snares set by the devil, at his will?

It sounds like a hopeless situation and would be if Christ had not purchased our redemption, and that is why we have the freedom of confession (one to another;) an advocate – Jesus Christ; The Word of God, and Galatians 6:1 which admonishes our brothers and sisters in Christ to come to our aid.

Galatians 6:1 NASB Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself so that you too will not be tempted.

This passage came up after the leader of the Monday morning group said, “I believe that if you have fleshly thoughts when the rapture comes, that you will have trouble making it through the pearly gates.” This unsubstantiated statement was his attempt at not adding to scripture, and he informed us so right before he said it. What it shows is this man’s grievous lack of understanding about God’s: word, character, and nature – as the group leader, in effect, is condemning all who sin, to hell. Do you see Christ’s paying the penalty and doing away with the handwriting that was against us, in this leader’s statement? NO.

Moments after making these statements the 92-year-old co-leader asked me directly what I thought about what the leader said; it became a habit with this guy to challenge people in the group by saying, “do you have a problem with that?” I can tell you that he is not looking for a correct answer, he is merely siding with the leader and looking to humiliate someone; this time it was me. I paused to think about this for a moment, and this man called my name out once again. With that, I said, “an alcoholic, if they are honest, will admit that they are an alcoholic and will be for the rest of their life. So, when it comes to human reasoning, I can’t perceive of “fleshly” thoughts any differently than the alcoholic, as I will deal with, in my case, anger, for the rest of my life.

How does one not have human thoughts?
How does a preacher deal with the scantily clad ladies that come to church? Do they only look at the ceiling lights as they are preaching or teaching in order to avoid such “fleshly thoughts?  
And what of the hellfire and brimstone television preacher Jimmy Swaggart (whom many of these men adore) who sinned, multiple times? We only know of his sins because he got arrested.

And yes, once again, in my response to this guy, I let my anger get the best of me. No, I did not cuss, I merely pushed this sacred cow called Jimmy Swaggart down and effectively kicked it in the head.

I was, as I expected, accosted for my statements. However, another pastor in the group brought up Galatians 6:1. He did this because there was no kindness or gentleness in the leader’s response to me.

So, what have I/we learned? That we, as followers of Christ, have an advocate, as does Jimmy Swaggart, and, so does the false teacher of our group.

1 John 2:1-2 NASB My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 2) and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.

This entry was posted in 1 John, advocate, bible study, caught, comfort, condemnation, false teaching, forgive, Freedom from sin, Galatians, God's character, grace, guilt, Hope, Jesus, Law of liberty, Mercy, overtaken, recovery, restore, strongholds, Thoughts on scripture and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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