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1 John Study

Am I Really Saved? A First John Check Up
Lesson 2: Dealing With Sin
Please Read: 1 John 1

Previous Lessons: 1

(Helpful Hint: Using the cross-references {footnotes to related verses} provided in your Bible or in the Bible Gateway links I’ve provided will be very helpful as you study.)

Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
2 Corinthians 13:5

1 John 1:1-4

As we saw in our introductory lesson last week, in the opening verses of chapter 1, John places a great deal of emphasis on the fact that he was an eyewitness to the ministry and teaching of Christ.

  • What are some key words and phrases in verses 1-4 that show John was tangibly present with Jesus during His ministry?
  • Why would this eyewitness testimony have been important in terms of John’s credibility? As you read the rest of 1 John, do you believe John has the right and the credentials to make the claims he makes (in addition to being inspired by the Holy Spirit)?

1 John 1:5-10

If you’ve never studied 1 John before, one thing you might find interesting is that John, generally speaking, is a pretty black and white kind of guy. He sometimes uses words that draw a sharp contrast between one end of a spectrum and the other as he does here in the last half of the chapter.

  • What are the two contrasting words John repeatedly uses in the first half of this section?
  • What/Whom does “light” represent? “Darkness”?
  • What is the key word for the second half of this section?

Am I Really Saved? Checkpoint 1: Do I walk in the light or the darkness? (6-7)

6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

  • What does it mean to “have fellowship” with God? What are some words we use, labels we claim, behaviors we display, or activities we participate in that “say we have fellowship with him”?
  • What does it mean to “walk in darkness”? Do you think you might be walking in darkness while claiming to be a Christian?
  • What label does John use for people who live a lifestyle of walking in darkness while they simultaneously claim to be Christians? Are they really born again?
  • What does it mean to “walk in the light as He is in the light”? Does this mean we will never sin? How does the end of verse 7 answer this question?
  • Verse 7 tells us two results of walking in the light as He is in the light. What are those results? How does it impact the church when its members walk in the light? When they walk in darkness?

Am I Really Saved? Checkpoint 2: Do I confess or deny my sin?

8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Most of us wouldn’t boldly stand up and say we’ve never sinned, but what about justifying our sin or denying that something is a sin when the Bible clearly says it is? Have you ever heard (or said) things like:

“I’m gay because God made me this way.”

“It’s just a little white lie.”

“It’s OK if we live together because we love each other and we’re married in God’s eyes.”

“God called me (a woman) to be a preacher.”

“I’ll respect my husband when he starts acting respectable.”

“She started it.”

  • Aren’t statements and actions like these saying “we have no sin”?
  • Verse 8 gives us two results of saying we have no sin. What are those two results? Verse 10 gives us two more results of saying we have not sinned. What are those two results?
  • What does it mean to “make him a liar”? (10) What do our actions say to others about God? What is another way to say “the truth is not in us” (8) and “his word is not in us” (10)? What implications do those phrases have for our lives?
  • Verse 9 gives us two results of confessing out sins. What are thse two results? How, and to whom should we confess our sins?

This week, we are examining our salvation with regard to the way we deal with sin in our lives. A person who is genuinely born again will still sin, but she will agree with the Bible about what constitutes sin. She will be grieved over her sin, confess it to God (and others when appropriate), ask forgiveness and cleansing, and will want to avoid that sin. Her greatest desire will be to walk in holiness and to be conformed to the image of Christ out of her love for Him.

An unsaved person cares nothing about holiness beyond her appearance to others. She might do and say “churchy” things, but her heart isn’t truly in it, because, not having been born again, she has no love for Christ. She will unrepentantly persist in her sin, even arguing that the Bible is wrong, outdated, or doesn’t apply to her when confronted with her sin.

Do you walk in repentance or persist in sin? Do you desire real, inward holiness or just the outward appearance of being a good person? Prayerfully examine your heart, asking God to make clear to you the way you regard your sin, and repenting of any sin He reveals. Thank Him for the foriveness He promises through the blood of Christ.

Additional Resources:

1 John 1– Matthew Henry’s Commentary

The Certainty of Sin, Part 1– John MacArthur

True or False? A Study in 1 John– at Naomi’s Table (lessons 5-6)

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