As I live a life that emulates God’s character I am being cleansed from every sin. What does being cleansed mean? Is salvation in question here or is this about becoming pure in daily life? This post is all about 1 John 1.7
As I looked into what John meant by the blood of Jesus, God’s Son, cleanses us from every sin.” I ran across several quotes that I thought I would simply string together in order to give an answer to the question, “Is salvation in question here or is this about becoming pure in daily life?” The answer is ‘becoming pure in daily life.’
Craig Keener talks about the need for a sacrifice that could pay for sin, “Although water, not blood, cleansed in a physical sense, blood also purified in an Old Testament ritual sense . . . . Sacrificial blood set apart what was sacred for God, purifying from sin by making atonement (Lev 16:30).” ((Craig S. Keener and InterVarsity Press, The IVP Bible Background Commentary : New Testament –Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1993–. 1 Jn 1:7.))
Daniel B. Wallace tells us about constant purifying from sin when he says, “To walk in the light is not to live without sin: otherwise, the blood of Jesus would not be needed to cleanse us while we are walking in the light. All the verbs in this verse are present tense. The force seems to be that while we are walking in the light the blood of Jesus is cleansing us from our sins.” ((Bible.org: Honest to God! Or, God is not a Pit Stop –1 John 1:5-10–, –last visited Feb. 17, 2009–.))
Hall Harris says that what the Apostle John “wants to do here is reassure them about their forgiveness of sins committed after having become Christians.” ((Bible.org: Exegetical Commentary on 1 John 1:5-2:2, –last visited Feb. 17, 2009–.)) He spends a good amount of time in his article, “Exegetical Commentary on 1 John 1:5-2:2” explaining why John here does not “refer to initial justification” but to sanctification.
What does this mean? F.F. Bruce gives us a great explanation: “What John has in mind here is that cleansing of the conscience from guilt and moral defilement which is so insisted on in the Epistle to the Hebrews ((Heb. 9:14; 10:2; 10:22)), and which takes a leading place among the saving benefits of the redemptive self-sacrifice of Christ. These saving benefits are permanently available to those who are united to Christ, but not to those who sever themselves from Him. To be severed from the fellowship of Christ’s people is to be severed from the fellowship of Christ Himself, so closely are He and His people joined.” ((p. 44, Bruce, F. F. The Gospel & Epistles of John. Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1983.))
I hope that helps. It did clarify things for me.