For our Post-Easter services here at Mount Hebron Presbyterian Church we are taking the theme “Sin, Forgiveness and Love (Messages from the First letter of John).” The first in our series will reflect upon 1 John 1:1 – 2:2 and be titled “Walk in the Light.”
John's first letter has many similarities with the Gospel of John. Themes of darkness and light appear throughout both books. Likewise both speak a lot about how love is the ultimate manifestation of God's presence among us, and how we, as compromised human beings, find the task of loving incredibly difficult.
The reason for our difficulty is identified as “sin.” We have an inbuilt tendency to prefer the darkness over the light. This affliction steals away from us the joy that could be ours in Christ. The solution that is offered is to “Confess our sins.” 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
One way to think of confession is to see it as admitting to something. That we admit to ourselves, to each other and to God that we are messed up and need all the love and hope and healing and forgiveness that God offers to us at the Cross of Jesus Christ. When we take that step, God offers us the presence of the Holy Spirit as a comfort and a helper and a Guide.
In both the gospel of John and letters of John, the Greek word used to describe the Holy Spirit is “Paraclete.” In general Greek the word “Paraclete” meant “A legal advocate, or counsel for defense, an intercessor, or a helper.” In the New Testament the word is usually translated as “Comforter”, “Helper” or “Advocate.”
So the solution to sin, is firstly to admit that we are sinners, secondly, to realize that the only hope for us is to trust in God to get us out of the mess we have made of things, and thirdly, to understand that such is exactly the role the Holy Spirit can play in our life.
The gospel and letters of John relate all of this to the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. In particular His death and resurrection, the core of the Easter message. He died for our sins. He was raised to bring us new life. (Last weeks Easter Message “Bang, Woosh, Kappow” can be found here)
John invites us to walk in that light. To walk in the light of the revelation of Christ. To walk in the light offered to us through the Holy Spirit. To walk in the light of God's love, wherever we are and whatever we are doing. And God promises, that when such is our hearts desire, God will help us with every step we take. Thanks be to God!
For some music, a song that ties many of those themes together ... “Lord I Need You”by Matt Maher
The Reverend Adrian J Pratt B.D.