“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.” – 1 John 2:1-2 (NASB)
Sometimes big words which aren’t commonly used by us can cause us to not quite understand what a verse is saying for us. We have a powerful big word in this passage – “propitiation.” In the New Testament it signifies “an expiation, (another big word) which is a means whereby sin is covered and remitted.” This implies that we, when we believe by faith, have a clear purpose for living. John simply puts it like this: don’t sin — don’t do what dishonors God. John wrote these for us to know that we may not sin. It is possible to not sin because God has forgiven us our sins. In 1 John 3:8 he wrote, “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” We can say this positively, instead of negatively. In 1 John 3:23 is a summary of what John’s whole letter requires. Notice the singular “commandment” — “And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.” That’s our purpose. Two things so closely connected John calls them one commandment: believe Jesus and love others.