What about 1 John 1:9? Part four.

Posted: Wed. Jan, 3 2018

1 John 1:9
9  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

The opponents in chapter 1

This week we continue our look at the opponents of John in the letter of 1 John.

Last time we examined  1 John 1:6-10 in this regard.  Verses 6, 8, and 10 give statements that the false apostles had made.  John uses their own words as evidence to prove that they are frauds.

1JO 1:6
6  If we [false apostles -the opponents]  say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;

Right away in chapter 1, John establishes his game plan for exposing the false apostles.   Use what they say and what they do as evidence that reveals who they really are.






1JO 1:6

“We have fellowship with God”

Walk in the darkness

Liars who do not practice the truth

1JO 1:8

“We have no sin”

Deceive ourselves

No truth in them (the devil is their father)

1JO 1:10

“We have not sinned”

Make God a liar

God’s word is not in them


How to spot a false prophet

How do you expose a fraud?  By showing that he is a liar and a hypocrite. What he does contradicts what he says.

TIT 1:15-16
To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. 16  They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.

Jesus taught his closest disciples - including John -  how to identify a false prophet:

MAT 7:15-23
15 "Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.  16 "You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?  17 "So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.  18 "A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.  19 " Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  20 "So then, you will know them by their fruits.

21 " Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.  22 " Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?'  23 "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'

False prophets disguise themselves to look like real prophets. They will tell you that they come from God and that they have a special, close relationship with God.

How can we see through their disguise?

We will know them by their fruits.  The real apostle will produce good fruit, while the false apostle will produce bad fruit.

Jesus is specifically talking about false prophets when he tells his disciples to observe their fruit.

Good and bad fruit

What fruit is good fruit, and what fruit is bad fruit?

Good fruit is doing the will of the Father in heaven.

Bad fruit is practicing lawlessness.

This is exactly what John points to in exposing the opponents as false teachers. They do not obey the commandments of God, and they practice lawlessness.

Jesus says more about good fruit and bad fruit in Luke chapter 6.

LUK 6:41-46
41 "Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?  42 "Or how can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,' when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother's eye.  43 " For there is no good tree which produces bad fruit, nor, on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit.  44 " For each tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they pick grapes from a briar bush.  45 " The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.

46 " Why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?

The hypocrite says one thing but does the opposite.

This passage teaches that you can spot an evil man by the things he speaks.  His mouth speaks of that which fills his heart.


It’s black and white

So, you can spot a false prophet by observing the things he says  and the things he does.

Does he practice the truth, or does he lie?
Does he say one thing and do the opposite?
Does he display the fruit of loving actions or of hateful actions?
Does he practice righteousness, or practice sin and lawlessness?
Is he walking in the light, or walking in the darkness?

False prophets are liars and deceivers.   They disguise their lies with sweet words, hoping  people will swallow them whole.  A little bit of black mixed with a lot of white until the whole thing comes out as gray.

The only way to unmask them is to make it clear that this is black and this is white No shades of gray.

In other words, you speak in absolute terms so there is no confusion.

Pretty much the entire letter is written this way. We’ll see more of this.

After all, this is war.  When you’re on the battlefield, you better know who’s with you and who’s against you.  It’s no time to put too fine a point on things.

You are either a child of God or a child of the devil.  It’s one or the other.


THE controversy of the letter

The conflict between the apostles and opponents is the controversy of the letter.   It is the hub around which the entire letter revolves.

Each of the five chapters in 1 John contains a section that is devoted to exposing the opponents  as false prophets:

1JO 1:6-10

1JO 2:18-26

1JO 3:1-15

1JO 4:1-6

1JO 5:5-12

These sections represent about  40% of all the verses in the letter.

We have already examined the passage in chapter 1.

So let’s continue by looking at the other passages in 1 John that deal with these false prophets.

We will use the technique of “mirror reading” to see that certain statements in the letter mirror claims that the opponents had made.  

We’ll  look for what they say (their claims , their teaching), what they do (their behavior), and who they really are (their real identity).

What they say and what they do reveals who they really are.


The opponents in chapter 2

In chapter 2, John goes after the opponents with a direct counter-attack.  It appears in 1JO 2:18-26.

In the last verse of the paragraph, John tells us why he has written this passage.

1JO 2:26 These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you.

You can’t miss it.  There are people who are trying to deceive the flock.  John wrote to expose these wolves in no uncertain terms.

He gives a sharply-worded denunciation of these opponents.

We learn a lot about the opponents from this paragraph.  It sets the stage for the other things said about them in the rest of the letter.

1JO 2:18-26
18 Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. 19  They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out,  so that it would be shown that they all are not of us. 20  But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. 21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. 23  Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also. 24 As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.

25  This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life.

26 These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you.


Liars, unbelievers, antichrists

John calls them “antichrists”(2:18,22).  He is not fooling around.  There is Christ, and there are antichrists.  White and black.   You either belong to Christ or you are against Him.

The opponents (referred to as “they” and “them” throughout the letter) went out from John’s community.  This showed that they were not really believers, much less teachers with authority from God. (1JO 2:19)

Here are the lies they were peddling about Jesus Christ.  Watch how John turns them  around to expose the opponents as frauds.

1JO 2:22-23
22 Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. 23  Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also.

The opponents denied that Jesus is the Christ.  They claimed that Jesus was not the Jewish Messiah .

This shows that they are liars.

They denied the Father and the Son.  

They speak about God but deny the Son of God.  In other words, they denied the deity of Christ.

This makes them antichrists.

In JOH 10:30, Jesus said, "I and the Father are one."  But the opponents rejected this.  This proves that they did not believe in Christ.  They were not of His sheep.  They did not have eternal life (JOH 10:24-30).

Remember:  the apostles’ fellowship is with the Father and the Son (1JO 1:3).

The opponents deny the Son - Jesus Christ - and therefore do not have God.

They had no relationship with God at all.

Even though they had broken away from John’s community, these savage wolves continued to attack John’s flock with their  heretical teachings (1JO 2:26). These attacks were  corrosive, eating away at these believers’ assurance of salvation.

So John reminded them that God had promised them eternal life (1JO 2:25). And God (unlike the opponents) does not lie.


Evidence and inference

John gives evidence - what the opponents say and do -, and draws the inference -  who they really are.   The mouth speaks of that which fills the heart.

There are two additional passages in chapter 2 of 1 John that further expose these opponents as frauds:  1JO 2:4; 1JO 2:9-11.

These passages focus more on the behavior of the opponents.  What they do contradicts what they say, and reveals who they really are.

1JO 2:4
4 The one who says, " I have come to know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him;

1JO 2:9-11
9 The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. 10  The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. 11 But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.






1JO 2:4

“I have come to know Him (God)”

Does not keep His commandments

A liar

The truth is not in him

1JO 2:9

“I am in the Light”

Hates his brother

Is in the darkness until now (unbeliever)

Blind spiritually


Recall that light in John’s writings means the life that is in Christ.  Darkness is the place of death. Everyone who believes in Christ will not remain in darkness. (JOH 1:4-5; JOH 3:18-21; JOH 12:35-36; JOH 12:44-46).

The one who is in the darkness is an unbeliever.

The opponents profess to know God, but by their deeds - not keeping God’s commandments and hating their brother -  they deny Him.

Next time we will continue our study of the opponents in chapters 3, 4, and 5  of 1 John.


Until the next time, we’re all ….

In His grip,

Pastor John

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