Each verse from 6-10 here in 1st John is written as a condition and if that condition is met there is a result.
According to scripture, no one can have peace with God and live in known sin at the same time. The remedy for this condition is to walk in the light and to do what you know is right. This is the ongoing work of Christ.
When we are walking in the light, living what is right and good, we are being cleansed from all sin. This continued cleansing deals with unknown sin.
Confession deals with known sin and walking in the light provides and allows Christ to cleanse us from all sin. God has made provision to cleanse us from any sin that otherwise mars our relationship with Christ.
The obvious question becomes, how perfectly do we have to walk in the light to have this cleansing from all sin. The difficulty here is that if we walk perfectly we wouldn’t need this cleansing. No doubt it is talking about a desire too, and a commitment to walking in the light.
If we say that we do not have a natural tendency towards sin, or are incapable of sinning are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in them. People who hold this view must deny that they do any wrong, if they do wrong they may say the devil did it through them.
The remedy for this error is found in verse 9. Confess your sins. Start being honest. Start confessing your known sins. Every time we confess a sin that we are aware of we confirm that we know that we can sin.
The unfortunate reality is that confessing a particular sin does not automatically mean the person will not commit the same sin again. This matter of being a Christian does not automatically deliver us from ever sinning. The reality is that this thing of spiritual growth is a process.
The results of confession of sin, John says, is that God forgives our sins and we are cleansed from sin.
Verse 10 talks about another error, if we deny that we sin as if we have entered a sinless state. We can get very committed to not being wrong, and feeling like whatever we are doing is good and right. This makes God out to be a liar, we’re actually pretty good. John says if this is how we think, God’s word is not in us.
The remedy for this error can be found in the following chapter. It is the same remedy as mentioned before, confessing our sins.
The goal is not to sin, but there is an answer for sin. John emphasizes that a believer can, and does sin. This is not the same as saying a person must, or wants to sin.
The reason we can be forgiven and have peace is Christ. He is the propitiation for our sins. He is the place where God’s righteousness and our unrighteousness meet.
Texts used – 1 John 1, 1 John 2