If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
Imagine that you were experiencing severe pain in your arm, so you went to a doctor and explained that every time you lift something your arm hurts. Even at times when you are just sitting around, it starts aching and throbbing. The doctor takes an x-ray and finds out that at some point in the past you had unknowingly broken that arm. As it healed itself, it had healed wrong, and as time progressed the situation only got worse and worse, until now the pain was largely unbearable. The doctor then sits you down in conference and says, “I want to help you. I want you to live a pain free life. I want you to be happy and to be able to play sports and to be able to enjoy the rest of your life without the constant aching and throbbing in your arm, what do you think?” Your reaction no doubt would be the same as every rational human being, “Absolutely!” Unfortunately, the doctor proceeds to explain how this joyous thing is going to happen. “You see, I have to re-break the bone, and do surgery on the fracture, and dig out scar tissue, and put in a metal rod, and tighten screws into the bone. The whole process will take about six months, but after that, you will be as good as new, no more aches and pains.” Sadly, faced with the agony of surgery, many turn away and live in pain the rest of their lives.
In verse 8, the apostle John is sitting in conference with you, saying, “Your life is broken. You don’t have true lasting joy, and I want to bring that to you. But we have to do deep, cutting, soul-searching surgery. We will have to start by slicing through your self-righteous thinking. You are not perfect, only Jesus was. You sin. Now get it right. Healing can happen and joy will come. Don’t walk away because you fear the pain of the scalpel. Joy is within reach. Surgery hurts, but trust me, it‘s worth it.”
Food For Thought: What is the benefit in v. 4 that John mentions will come from this “soul-surgery”? What realization must we come to in v. 8, before we can get the benefits of v. 4?