New Defender's Study Bible Notes
1:5 God is light. Since God is light, dwelling in light (I Timothy 6:16), He did not have to “create” light, but simply say: “Light, be!” (Genesis 1:3). On the other hand, He did create darkness (Isaiah 45:7) as the initial state of the unformed and uninhabited earth (Genesis 1:2). When light appeared to disperse the darkness, it could thereby become a model of the shining of spiritual light into a soul born in the darkness of innate sin (II Corinthians 4:6). Physically, God is the light of shining glory; intellectually, He is the light of truth; and morally He is the light of holiness. He is also the light of life (John 1:4) and of true guidance (John 8:12).
1:6 do not the truth. Note that the truth is not only something we should believe and teach, but also something we should do!
1:7 fellowship one with another. That is, we are in fellowship with the Lord, and therefore also with other believers who are in fellowship with Him. Since there is no darkness in God, if we truly walk in His light, there can be no reason for any error, sin, or ignorance of His will on our part.
1:7 all sin. All sin, whether known or unknown, is cleansed by His blood, as we walk in fellowship with Him.
1:8 deceive ourselves. The heresy of “perfectionism”—that is, the claim that our sin-nature has been completely eradicated, so that we no longer commit sin—is self-deception. It is related to the Gnostic heresy of the time which claimed that the soul had been set free from one’s sinful flesh.
1:9 confess our sins. To “confess” one’s sins does not mean merely to confess one’s sins in general, but rather to identify them specifically, and then to agree with God as to their specific sinful character, thus in reality repenting (that is, changing one’s mind) about them and viewing them as God does. Since Christ’s blood has already been shed to cover them, He is faithful to His Word and provides forgiveness in perfect justice.
1:9 cleanse us. The “confession” of this verse is not merely a pat formula that one can glibly apply and then all is well. When God forgives our sins, He also expects to “cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (not just from the penalty of unrighteousness). The Greek word for “cleanse” is katherizo (from which we get our English word “catharsis”) and is often translated “purify” and even “purge.”
1:10 have not sinned. To say either that we “have no sin” (I John 1:8) or “have not sinned” (I John 1:10) is presumptuous, blasphemous and false. Those who make such claims may deceive themselves, but others can easily discern sin in them.