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  • Paul's ministry was to complete the divine revelation (Col. 1:25-27) of God's New Testament economy, that is, the Triune God in Christ as the life-giving Spirit producing the members of Christ for the constituting and the building up of the Body of Christ, that the Triune God may have a full expression — the fullness of God (Eph. 1:23; 3:19) — in the universe. Paul's writings were completed around A.D. 67. Paul's completing ministry was damaged by the apostasy preceding and following his death. Then after a quarter of a century, around A.D. 90, John's writings came forth. John's ministry was not only to mend the broken ministry of Paul but also to consummate the entire divine revelation of both the Old Testament and the New Testament, of both the Gospels and the Epistles. In such a ministry, the focus is the mysteries of the divine life. John's Gospel, as the consummation of the Gospels, unveils the mysteries of the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. John's Epistles (especially the first), as the consummation of the Epistles, unfold the mystery of the fellowship of the divine life, which is the fellowship of God's children with God the Father and with one another. Then John's Revelation, as the consummation of the New Testament and the Old Testament, reveals the mystery of Christ as the life supply to God's children for His expression and as the center of the universal administration of the Triune God. Here John used the expression that which to open his Epistle and unfold the mystery of the fellowship in the divine life. That he did not use personal pronouns in reference to the Lord implies that what he was about to unfold is mysterious.

  • This differs from in the beginning in John's Gospel (John 1:1). In the beginning traces back to eternity past before creation; from the beginning proceeds forward from the creation. This indicates that John's Epistle is a continuation of his Gospel, which concerns the believers' experience of the divine life. In his Gospel, John revealed the way for sinners to receive the eternal life — to believe in the Son of God. In his Epistle he pointed out the way for the believers, who have received the divine life, to enjoy that life in its fellowship — to abide in the Son of God. And in his Revelation he unveiled the consummation of the eternal life as the believers' full enjoyment in eternity.

    The phrase from the beginning is used four times in the Gospel of John, eight times in this Epistle, and twice in 2 John. In John 8:44; 1 John 1:1; 2:13-14; 3:8, it is used in the absolute sense; whereas in John 6:64; 15:27; 16:4; 1 John 2:7, 24 (twice); 1 John 3:11 and 2 John 1:5-6, it is used in the relative sense.

  • Gazed at with a purpose.

  • First, have heard, then have seen; after having seen, beheld, gazed at with a purpose, and handled, touched with hands. These expressions indicate that the Word of life is not only mysterious but also tangible, because He was incarnated. The mysterious Word of life was touched by man, not only in His humanity before His resurrection (Mark 3:10; 5:31) but also in His spiritual body (1 Cor. 15:44) after His resurrection (John 20:17, 27). At that time there was a heresy that denied the incarnation of the Son of God (1 John 4:1-3). Hence, such strong expressions to indicate the Lord's solid substance in His touchable humanity were needed.

  • This is the Word mentioned in John 1:1-4, 14, who was with God and was God in eternity before creation, who became flesh in time, and in whom is life. This Word is the divine person of Christ as an account, a definition, and an expression of all that God is. In Him is life, and He is life (John 11:25; 14:6). The phrase the Word of life in Greek indicates that the Word is life. The person is the divine life, the eternal life, which we can touch. The mentioning of the Word here indicates that this Epistle is a continuation and development of John's Gospel (cf. John 1:1-2, 14).

  • The writings of John are books of mysteries. In this Epistle, life, that is, the divine life, the eternal life, the life of God, which is imparted into the believers in Christ and is abiding in them, is the first mystery (v. 2; 2:25; 3:15; 5:11, 13, 20). Issuing out of this mystery is another mystery, the mystery of the fellowship of the divine life (vv. 3-7). After that is the mystery of the anointing of the Triune God (1 John 2:20-27). Then there is the mystery of abiding in the Lord (1 John 2:27-28; 3:6, 24). The fifth mystery is the mystery of the divine birth (1 John 2:29; 3:9; 4:7; 5:1, 4, 18). The sixth is the divine seed (1 John 3:9). And the last is the water, the blood, and the Spirit (1 John 5:6-12).

  • This indicates that life is a synonym for Word of life in the preceding verse. Both denote the divine person of Christ, who was with the Father in eternity and was manifested in time through incarnation, and whom the apostles saw and testified and reported to the believers.

  • This manifestation of the eternal life was through Christ's incarnation, which John stressed strongly in his Gospel (John 1:14) as an antidote to inoculate the believers against the heresy that said that Christ did not come in the flesh. Such a manifestation, corresponding with being touchable, indicates again the substantial nature of the Lord's humanity, which is the manifestation of the divine life in the New Testament economy.

  • Lit., the life the eternal. This life denotes the divine spiritual life, not the human soulish life or the physical life (see note Rom. 5:174). Eternal denotes not only duration of time, which is everlasting, without end, but also quality, which is absolutely perfect and complete, without any shortage or defect. Such an expression emphasizes the eternal nature of the divine life, the life of the eternal God. The apostles saw this eternal life and testified and reported it to people. Their experience was not of any doctrine but of Christ, the Son of God, as the eternal life, and their testimony and preaching were not of theology or biblical knowledge but of such a solid life.

  • The Greek word implies living and acting in union and communion with. The eternal life, which is the Son, not only was with the Father but also was living and acting in union and communion with the Father in eternity. This word corresponds with John 1:1-2.

  • The Father is the source of the eternal life; from Him and with Him the Son was manifested as the expression of the eternal life for the people of the Father's choice to partake of and enjoy.

  • The manifestation of the eternal life includes the revelation and impartation of life to men, with a view to bringing man into the eternal life, into its union and communion with the Father.

  • In v. 1 it was first have heard and then have seen; here it is vice versa. In our receiving of revelation, hearing is the basic thing; in our preaching, in our reporting, seeing should be the base. What we preach should be our apprehension and experience of the things we have heard.

  • The apostles heard and saw the eternal life. Then they reported it to the believers that the believers also might hear and see it. By virtue of the eternal life, the apostles enjoyed fellowship with the Father and with His Son, the Lord Jesus. They desired that the believers also enjoy this fellowship.

  • The Greek word means joint participation, common participation. Fellowship is the issue of the eternal life and is actually the flow of the eternal life within all the believers, who have received and possess the divine life. It is illustrated by the flow of the water of life in the New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:1). All genuine believers are in this fellowship (Acts 2:42). It is carried on by the Spirit in our regenerated spirit. Hence, it is called "the fellowship of the Holy Spirit" (2 Cor. 13:14) and "fellowship of [our] spirit" (Phil. 2:1). It is in this fellowship of the eternal life that we, the believers, participate in all that the Father and the Son are and have done for us; that is, we enjoy the love of the Father and the grace of the Son by virtue of the fellowship of the Spirit (2 Cor. 13:14). Such a fellowship was first the apostles' portion in their enjoyment of the Father and the Son through the Spirit. Hence, in Acts 2:42 it is called "the fellowship of the apostles," and in this verse "our [the apostles'] fellowship," a fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. It is a divine mystery. This mysterious fellowship of the eternal life should be considered the subject of this Epistle.

    Fellowship here indicates a putting away of private interests and a joining with others for a certain common purpose. Hence, to have fellowship with the apostles, to be in the fellowship of the apostles, and to have fellowship with the Triune God in the apostles' fellowship is to put aside our private interests and join with the apostles and the Triune God for the carrying out of God's purpose. This purpose, according to John's subsequent writings, is twofold:
    1) that the believers grow in the divine life by abiding in the Triune God (1 John 2:12-27) and, based on the divine birth, live a life of the divine righteousness and the divine love (2:28—5:3) to overcome the world, death, sin, the devil, and idols (1 John 5:4-21);
    2) that the local churches be built up as the lampstands for the testimony of Jesus (Rev. chs. 1—3) and consummate in the New Jerusalem as the full expression of God for eternity (Rev. chs. 21—22). Our participation in the apostles' enjoyment of the Triune God is our joining with them and with the Triune God for His divine purpose, which is common to God, the apostles, and all the believers.

  • Only the Father and the Son are mentioned here, not the Spirit, because the Spirit is implied in the fellowship. Actually, the fellowship of the eternal life is the imparting of the Triune God — the Father, the Son, and the Spirit — into the believers as their unique portion for them to enjoy today and for eternity.

  • Some MSS read, your. The apostles' joy is also the believers' joy, because the believers are in the fellowship of the apostles.

  • Fellowship is the issue of the eternal life, and joy, that is, the enjoyment of the Triune God, is the issue of this fellowship, the issue of participation in the Father's love and the Son's grace through the Spirit. By such a spiritual enjoyment of the divine life, our joy in our Triune God can be made full.

  • In addition to the three main things — life, fellowship, and joy — presented in the preceding verses, a further message, which the apostles heard from the Lord, is to announce to the believers that God is light.

  • In the preceding verses the Father and the Son are mentioned in plain words, and the Spirit is implied in the fellowship of the eternal life. Here God is mentioned for the first time in this Epistle, and He is mentioned as the Triune God — the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. This God, as revealed in the light of the gospel, is light.

    The message that John and the other early disciples heard was, undoubtedly, the word spoken by the Lord Jesus in John 8:12; 9:5 — that He is the light. However, John said here that the message was that God is light. This indicates that the Lord Jesus is God, implying the essence of the Divine Trinity.

  • Expressions such as God is light, God is love (1 John 4:8, 16), and God is Spirit (John 4:24) are used not in a metaphoric sense but in a predicative sense. They denote and describe the nature of God. In His nature, God is Spirit, love, and light. Spirit denotes the nature of God's person; love, the nature of God's essence; and light, the nature of God's expression. Both love and light are related to God as life, which is of the Spirit (Rom. 8:2). God, Spirit, and life are actually one. God is Spirit and Spirit is life. Within this life are love and light. When the divine love appears to us, it becomes grace, and when the divine light shines on us, it becomes truth. John's Gospel reveals that the Lord Jesus brought grace and truth to us (John 1:14, 17) that we might have the divine life (John 3:14-16), whereas John's Epistle unveils that the fellowship of the divine life brings us to the very source of grace and truth, which are the divine love and the divine light. John's Epistle is the continuation of his Gospel. In John's Gospel it is God in the Son coming to us as grace and truth that we may become His children (John 1:12-13); in John's Epistle it is we, the children, in the fellowship of the Father's life, going to the Father to participate in His love and light (see note 1 John 4:82c). The former was God's coming out to the outer court to meet our need at the altar (Lev. 4:28-31); the latter is our entering into the Holy of Holies to contact Him at the ark (Exo. 25:22). This is further and deeper in the experience of the divine life. After receiving the divine life by believing into the Son in John's Gospel, we should go on to enjoy this life through the fellowship of this life in John's Epistle. The entire Epistle discloses to us this one thing, that is, the enjoyment of the divine life through our abiding in its fellowship.

  • As light is the nature of God in His expression, so darkness is the nature of Satan in his evil works (1 John 3:8). Thank God that He has delivered us out of the satanic darkness into the divine light (Acts 26:18; 1 Pet. 2:9). The divine light is the divine life in the Son operating in us. This light shines in the darkness within us, and the darkness cannot overcome it (John 1:4-5). When we follow this light, we shall by no means walk in darkness (John 8:12), which, according to the context, is the darkness of sin (vv. 7-10).

  • To have fellowship with God is to have intimate and living contact with Him in the flow of the divine life according to the Spirit's anointing in our spirit (1 John 2:27). This keeps us in the participation and enjoyment of the divine light and the divine love.

  • According to the context, with Him denotes with God and equals with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ (v. 3). Here again the Divine Trinity is implied.

  • Referring to our walk in general in our living; i.e., live, behave, and have our being. So in the next verse. See note Gal. 5:161a. To walk in the darkness, that is, to walk habitually in the darkness, is to live, behave, and have one's being in the nature of Satan's evil works. According to 1 John 2:11, walking in the darkness equals practicing sin (1 John 3:4, 8).

  • Lying is of Satan; he is the father of liars (John 8:44 and note John 8:443). The satanic darkness is versus the divine light, and the satanic lie is versus the divine truth. As the divine truth is the expression of the divine light, so the satanic lie is the expression of the satanic darkness. If we say that we have fellowship with God, who is light, and walk in the darkness, we lie in the expression of the satanic darkness and do not practice the truth in the expression of the divine light. This verse inoculates against the heretical teaching of the Antinomians, who taught that one is free from the obligation of the moral law and said that one can live in sin and at the same time have fellowship with God.

  • This Greek verb denotes doing (things) habitually and continually by abiding (in the things); hence, it has the sense of practice. It is used also in 1 John 2:17, 29; 3:4 (twice), 1 John 3:7, 8, 9, 10, 22; 5:2; Rom. 1:32 and elsewhere. To practice the truth is to live the truth habitually, not merely to do it occasionally.

  • The Greek word means reality (the opposite of vanity), verity, veracity, genuineness, sincerity. It is John's highly individual terminology, and it is one of the profound words in the New Testament, denoting all the realities of the divine economy as the content of the divine revelation, conveyed and disclosed by the holy Word as follows:

    1) God, who is light and love, incarnated to be the reality of the divine things, such as the divine life, the divine nature, the divine power, and the divine glory, for us to possess, that we may enjoy Him as grace, as revealed in John's Gospel (John 1:1, 4, 14-17).

    2) Christ, who is God incarnated and in whom all the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily (Col. 2:9), as the reality of
    a) God and man (John 1:18, 51; 1 Tim. 2:5);
    b) all the types, figures, and shadows of the Old Testament (Col. 2:16-17; John 4:23, 24, and notes);
    c) all the divine and spiritual things, such as the divine life and resurrection (John 11:25; 14:6), the divine light (John 8:12; 9:5), the divine way (John 14:6), wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption (1 Cor. 1:30).
    Hence, Christ is the reality (John 14:6; Eph. 4:21).

    3) The Spirit, who is Christ transfigured (1 Cor. 15:45b; 2 Cor. 3:17), as the reality of Christ (John 14:16-17; 15:26) and of the divine revelation (John 16:13-15). Hence, the Spirit is the reality (1 John 5:6).

    4) The Word of God as the divine revelation, which not only reveals but also conveys the reality of God and Christ and of all the divine and spiritual things. Hence, the Word of God also is reality (John 17:17 and note John 17:173).

    5) The contents of the faith (belief), which are the substantial elements of what we believe, as the reality of the full gospel (Eph. 1:13; Col. 1:5); these are revealed throughout the New Testament (2 Cor. 4:2; 13:8; Gal. 5:7; 1 Tim. 1:1, note 1, points 1 and 2; 1 Tim. 2:4 and note 2; 1 Tim. 2:7b; 1 Tim. 3:15 and note 5; 1 Tim. 4:3; 1 Tim. 6:5; 2 Tim. 2:15, 18, 25; 3:7, 8; 4:4; Titus 1:1, 14; 2 Thes. 2:10, 12; Heb. 10:26; James 5:19; 1 Pet. 1:22; 2 Pet. 1:12).

    6) The reality concerning God, the universe, man, man's relationship with God and with his fellow man, and man's obligation to God, as revealed through creation and the Scriptures (Rom. 1:18-20; 2:2, 8, 20).

    7) The genuineness, truthfulness, sincerity, honesty, trustworthiness, and faithfulness of God as a divine virtue (Rom. 3:7; 15:8) and of man as a human virtue (Mark 12:14; 2 Cor. 11:10; Phil. 1:18; 1 John 3:18), and as an issue of the divine reality (John 4:23-24; 2 John 1:1a; 3 John 1:1).

    8) Things that are true or real, the true or real state of affairs (facts), reality, veracity, as the opposite of falsehood, deception, dissimulation, hypocrisy, and error (Mark 5:33; 12:32; Luke 4:25; John 16:7; Acts 4:27; 10:34; 26:25; Rom. 1:25; 9:1; 2 Cor. 6:7; 7:14; 12:6; Col. 1:6; 1 Tim. 2:7a).

    Of the eight points listed above, the first five refer to the same reality in essence. God, Christ, and the Spirit — the Divine Trinity — are essentially one. Hence, these three, being the basic elements of the substance of the divine reality, are actually one reality. This one divine reality is the substance of the Word of God as the divine revelation. Hence, it becomes the revealed divine reality in the divine Word and makes the divine Word the reality. The divine Word conveys this one divine reality as the contents of the faith, and the contents of the faith are the substance of the gospel revealed in the entire New Testament as its reality, which is just the divine reality of the Divine Trinity. When this divine reality is partaken of and enjoyed by us, it becomes our genuineness, sincerity, honesty, and trustworthiness as an excellent virtue in our behavior that enables us to express God, the God of reality, by whom we live; and we become persons living a life of truth, without any falsehood or hypocrisy, a life that corresponds with the truth revealed through creation and the Scripture.

    The word truth is used in the New Testament more than one hundred times. Its denotation in each occurrence is determined by its context. For instance, in John 3:21, according to the context, it denotes uprightness (the opposite of evil — John 3:19-20), which is the reality manifested in a man who lives in God according to what He is and which corresponds with the divine light, which is God, as the source of the truth, manifested in Christ. In John 4:23-24, according to the context of that chapter and also according to the entire revelation of John's Gospel, it denotes the divine reality becoming man's genuineness and sincerity (the opposite of the hypocrisy of the immoral Samaritan worshipper — John 4:16-18) for the true worship of God. The divine reality is Christ, who is the reality (John 14:6), as the reality of all the offerings of the Old Testament for the worship of God (John 1:29; 3:14) and as the fountain of living water, the life-giving Spirit (John 4:7-15), partaken of and drunk by His believers to be the reality within them, which eventually becomes their genuineness and sincerity, in which they worship God with the worship that He seeks. In John 5:33; 18:37, according to the entire revelation of the Gospel of John, truth denotes the divine reality embodied, revealed, and expressed in Christ as the Son of God. In John 8:32, 40, 44-46, according to the context of that chapter, it denotes the reality of God revealed in His word (John 8:47) and embodied in Christ, the Son of God (John 8:36), which sets us free from the bondage of sin (see note John 8:321a).

    Here in v. 6, truth denotes the revealed reality of God in its aspect of the divine light. It is the issue and realization of the divine light mentioned in v. 5. The divine light is the source in God; truth is the issue and realization of the divine light in us (see note 1 John 4:82c; cf. John 3:19-21). When we abide in the divine light, which we enjoy in the fellowship of the divine life, we practice the truth — what we have realized in the divine light. When we abide in the source, its issue becomes our practice.

  • We walk in the light, but God is in the light because He is light. "The light is the element in which God dwells: compare 1 Tim. 6:16....this walking in the light, as He is in the light, is no mere imitation of God, but is an identity in the essential element of our daily walk with the essential element of God's eternal being: not imitation, but coincidence and identity of the very atmosphere of life" (Alford).

  • When we walk and live in the light of God, we have the joint enjoyment of the Triune God and the joint participation in His divine purpose. The fellowship of the divine life brings us the divine light, and the divine light keeps us in the fellowship, that is, in the joint enjoyment of God and the joint participation in His purpose.

  • When we live in the divine light, we are under its enlightenment, and it exposes, according to God's divine nature and through God's nature in us, all our sins, trespasses, failures, and defects, which contradict His pure light, perfect love, absolute holiness, and excelling righteousness. At such a time we sense in our enlightened conscience the need of the cleansing of the redeeming blood of the Lord Jesus, and it cleanses us in our conscience from all sins that our fellowship with God and with one another may be maintained. Our relationship with God is unbreakable, yet our fellowship with Him can be interrupted. The former is of life, whereas the latter is based on our living, though it also is of life. One is unconditional; the other is conditional. Our fellowship, which is conditional, needs to be maintained by the constant cleansing of the Lord's blood.

    In this section of the Word there is a cycle in our spiritual life, a cycle formed of four crucial things — the eternal life, the fellowship of the eternal life, the divine light, and the blood of Jesus the Son of God. Eternal life issues in its fellowship, the fellowship of eternal life brings in the divine light, and the divine light increases the need for the blood of Jesus the Son of God that we may have more eternal life. The more we have of eternal life, the more of its fellowship it brings to us. The more fellowship of the divine life we enjoy, the more divine light we receive. The more divine light we receive, the more we participate in the cleansing of the blood of Jesus. Such a cycle brings us onward in the growth of the divine life until we reach the maturity of life.

  • The name Jesus denotes the Lord's humanity, which is needed for the shedding of the redeeming blood, and the title His Son denotes the Lord's divinity, which is needed for the eternal efficacy of the redeeming blood. Thus, the blood of Jesus His Son indicates that this blood is the proper blood of a genuine man shed for the redeeming of God's fallen creatures, with the divine surety as its eternal efficacy, an efficacy that is all-prevailing in space and everlasting in time.

    The title Jesus His Son is also used by John as an inoculation against the heresies concerning the Lord's person. One of the heresies insisted on the divinity of the Lord by denying His humanity. The title Jesus as the name of a man inoculates against this heresy. Another heresy insisted on the humanity of the Lord by denying His divinity. The title His Son as a name of the Deity is an antidote to this heresy.

  • The tense of this verb in Greek is present and denotes continuous action, indicating that the blood of Jesus the Son of God cleanses us all the time, continuously and constantly. Cleansing here refers to the instant cleansing of the Lord's blood in our conscience. Before God, the redeeming blood of the Lord has cleansed us once for all eternally (Heb. 9:12, 14), and the efficacy of that cleansing lasts forever before God, so that that cleansing need not be repeated. However, in our conscience we need the instant application of the constant cleansing of the Lord's blood again and again whenever our conscience is enlightened by the divine light in our fellowship with God. This instant cleansing is typified by the purification with the water of impurity mixed with the ashes of the heifer (Num. 19:2-10).

  • The New Testament deals with the problem of sin by using both the word sin (singular) and the word sins (plural). Sin refers to the indwelling sin, which came through Adam into mankind from Satan (Rom. 5:12). It is dealt with in the second section of Romans, 5:12—8:13 (with the exception of Rom. 7:5, where sins is mentioned). Sins refers to the sinful deeds, the fruits of the indwelling sin, which are dealt with in the first section of Romans, 1:18—5:11. However, in this verse sin in the singular, used with the adjective every, does not denote the indwelling sin but every single sin we commit (v. 10) after we are regenerated; each such sin defiles our purged conscience and needs to be cleansed away by the blood of the Lord in our fellowship with God.

    Our sin, the indwelling sin in our nature (Rom. 7:17), has been dealt with by Christ as our sin offering (Lev. 4; Isa. 53:10; Rom. 8:3; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 9:26). Our sins, our trespasses, have been dealt with by Christ as our trespass offering (Lev. 5; Isa. 53:11; 1 Cor. 15:3; 1 Pet. 2:24; Heb. 9:28). However, after our regeneration we still need to take Christ as our sin offering for the sin in our nature as indicated in v. 8, and as our trespass offering for the sins in our conduct as indicated in v. 9.

  • I.e., do not have the indwelling sin (Rom. 7:17) within our nature. This was what the Gnostic heresy taught. The apostle was inoculating the believers against this false teaching. This section, 1 John 1:7-10; 2:1-2, deals with the believers' sinning after their regeneration. Such sinning interrupts their fellowship with God. If after regeneration the believers do not have sin in their nature, how could they sin in their conduct? Even if they sin only occasionally, not habitually, their sinning is adequate proof that they still have sin working within them. Otherwise, there would be no interruption in their fellowship with God. The apostle's teaching here also condemns today's teaching of perfectionism, which says that a state of freedom from sin is attainable or has been attained in this earthly life; and it annuls today's erroneous teaching of the eradication of the sinful nature, which, misinterpreting the word in 1 John 3:9 and 1 John 5:18, says that regenerated persons cannot sin because their sinful nature has been totally eradicated.

  • Or, we are leading ourselves astray. To say that because we have been regenerated we do not have sin is to deceive ourselves and to deny the actual fact of our own experience; thus we lead ourselves astray.

  • Truth denotes the revealed reality of God, the real facts, conveyed in the gospel, such as the reality of God and all the divine things, which are all Christ (John 1:14, 17; 14:6); the reality of Christ and all the spiritual things, which are all the Spirit (John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13; 1 John 5:6); and the reality of man's condition (John 16:8-11). See note 1 John 1:66. Here, it denotes especially the reality of our sinful condition after regeneration, exposed under the enlightening of the divine light in our fellowship with God. If we say that we do not have sin after being regenerated, such a reality, the truth, does not remain in us; that is, we deny the true condition after our regeneration.

  • This denotes the confessing of our sins, our failures, after regeneration, not the confessing of our sins before regeneration.

  • God is faithful in His word (v. 10) and righteous in the blood of Jesus His Son (v. 7). His word is the word of the truth of His gospel (Eph. 1:13), which tells us that He will forgive us our sins because of Christ (Acts 10:43); and the blood of Christ has fulfilled His righteous requirements that He might forgive us our sins (Matt. 26:28). If we confess our sins, He, according to His word and based on the redemption through the blood of Jesus, forgives us because He must be faithful in His word and righteous in the blood of Jesus; otherwise, He would be unfaithful and unrighteous. Our confession is needed for His forgiveness. Such forgiveness of God, which is for the restoration of our fellowship with Him, is conditional; it depends on our confession.

  • To forgive us is to release us from the offense of our sins, whereas to cleanse us is to wash us from the stain of our unrighteousness.

  • Unrighteousness and sins are synonyms. All unrighteousness is sin (1 John 5:17). Both refer to our wrongdoings. Sins indicates the offense of our wrongdoings against God and men; unrighteousness indicates the stain of our wrongdoings, which causes us not to be right with either God or men. The offense needs God's forgiveness, and the stain requires His cleansing. Both God's forgiveness and God's cleansing are needed for the restoration of our broken fellowship with God, that we may enjoy Him in uninterrupted fellowship with a good conscience, a conscience void of offense (1 Tim. 1:5; Acts 24:16).

  • Verse 8 proves that after our regeneration we still have sin inwardly. Verse 10 proves further that we even still sin outwardly, though not habitually. We still sin outwardly in our conduct because we still have sin inwardly in our nature. Both confirm our sinful condition after regeneration. In speaking of such a condition, the apostle used the pronoun we, not excluding himself.

  • The word of God's revelation, which is the word of truth (Eph. 1:13; John 17:17) and which conveys the contents of God's New Testament economy. It is synonymous with truth in v. 8. In this word God exposes our true condition, which is sinful both before and after regeneration. If we say that after regeneration we have not sinned, we make God a liar and deny the word of His revelation.

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