Message in 1 John (6)

No one is without sin.

“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us…If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.” 1 John 1:8, 10, NIV. John here contends with the two most disruptive heresies in the first-century Church; the Gnostics and the Nicolaitans. The core claim of these heresies was that the human body was evil, but the soul is not. John addresses their claim by employing the verb “sinned” in perfect tense indicating that heretics maintained they have never committed a sin and are, therefore, perfect. This heresy is known as the “Perfectionism” which is also present in current-day Christianity. Some of the first-century heretics, however, claimed they might occasionally commit a misstep that is not serious enough to be considered a sin. They maintained that the first human being, Adam sinned as an individual, not as the entire humankind he represented. The heretics viewed sin as a physical act committed individually; therefore, they denied that humans had a sinful nature. They rejected the fact that we sin because we are sinners by nature; we are not sinners because we sin individually.

These heretics are referred to as the Antinomians, in the current-day Christian writings. The Perfectionist Antinomians did not renounce the moral obligation to the moral law. They only claimed they no longer had sinful propensities and, therefore, are not subject to the law because they have conquered sin. These heretics believed they no longer possessed the principle of sin, therefore, are perfect. They were convinced that they had cleansed their bodies of sinful nature and, consequently, they had a “holy flesh.” The “holy flesh” and the “special knowledge” (Gnosticism) are the antinomian heresies in present-day Christianity. The present-day antinomians denounce the “original sin” and, therefore, reject the universal sinful nature. The present-day heretics maintain that human beings are born innocent, and are not sinners until they commit personal sin. Accordingly, the current-day heretics deny that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, but only of those who have conquered sin in the manner Jesus demonstrated.

The present-day antinomian heretics do not view Jesus Christ as the Second, or Last Adam; the representative of the New Humankind. They view Jesus only as an example of how humans could achieve perfection and thus qualify for eternity. However, as we shall see in the ensuing blogs, the entire humankind sinned in the first man Adam and, therefore, was under condemnation to eternal death. The whole of old humanity became God’s enemy because of the deliberate decision and choice made by its representative – the first Adam. Therefore, only through Jesus Christ, the perfect representative of the entire New Humankind, could the old humankind be freed from sin committed in the garden of Eden and, therefore, from all sins against the law.

Continued in the next blog

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Dan Lazich

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