Provision for Sin

Jerry Sittser

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God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. (v. 5)

I freely admit that the love I show my children is often conditional. I attach an “if” to the promises I make. “If you come home right after soccer practice, then I’ll take you out for dinner.” “If you get your chores done on time, I’ll transfer money to your debit account.” What parent doesn’t make conditional promises?

God makes a conditional promise, too. But what a strange condition he attaches to it. He promises to forgive us completely and perfectly, on the one condition that we admit our need for it. That’s it! Of course it would be best if we did not sin. John urges us to try to resist sin, and rightly so. We can claim that we never sin, but everyone of us knows that such a claim would be a lie. Why say such a foolish thing, considering God’s lavish promise of forgiveness?

Here is the good news: if we fall into sin, we only have to confess it. God promises to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. God is light, John says. His light exposes, to be sure; but it also forgives, cleanses, and heals.


Lord, we know we have sinned against you and others. Forgive us. Thank you that you have provided a sure way of forgiveness through Jesus, your Son. Amen.