From: Paul S. Dixon (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Wed Sep 10 1997 - 02:45:56 EDT
Micheal, Carl, Paul, et al:
(I had already started this message, paused for a walk with my lovely
wife, found Micheal's email upon return, and decided to finish this.
Coincidentally, Micheal's thoughts and mine were running parallel
I would like some interaction on the significance of the clause, PISTOS
ESTIN KAI DIKAIOS, in 1 Jn 1:9.
Specifically, how does this follow in the conditional thought introduced
by EAN hMOLOGWMEN TAS hAMAPTIAS hMWN? Certainly God's faithfulness and
righteousness are not dependent upon the confession of our sins (2 Tim
2:13). Yet, this verse does say if we confess our sins, then He is
faithful and righteous so that (if result hINA, otherwise, epexegetically
"that is") He will forgive us our sins and cleanse our from all
unrighteousness. How does God's faithfulness and righteousness follow
from the confession of our sins?
First of all, it is important to note this is a conditional and that it
is not valid to infer the negation, "if we do not confess our sins, then
it is not so that God is faithful and righteous so that He will forgive
our sins, etc." This, of course, is the error of some who fall into the
trap of believing that unless we confess every known (or, even unknown
[?]) sin before we die, then we are indeed in hot water.
Not only is this bad logic, but it also impugns the faithfulness and
righteousness of God, making it dependent upon our confession of sins.
How, then, does our confession of sins result (this is the apodosis of
the conditional) in the faithfulness and righteousness of God, if God's
faithfulness and righteousness stand regardless?
(Now I resume, after the walk and after reading Micheal's email.)
Micheal's explanation is interesting, though, as he says, John's order
seems rather awkward. I agree. Let me give another explanation.
If after the protasis and at the beginning of the apodosis we supply by
ellipsis, GINWSKOMEN or OIDAMEN (both key and prevalent words in the
epistle), then the difficulty is eliminated. John is then saying, if we
confess our sins, then we know God is faithful and just so that our
cleansing and forgiveness is assured.
This has the advantage of making our confession of sins the basis for our
assurance of God's faithfulness and righteousness. It does not make our
confession the condition for God's faithfulness and righteousness. The
basis of our assurance is the practice of the confession of sin, the
first example of walking in the light (v. 7).
The strongest argument is support of this is simply that such
argumentation is typical of John throughout the book. John says
GINWSKOMEN: "that we know him, if ..."(2:3); "by this that we are in
Him"(2:5); "that we are of the truth"(3:19); etc. There are many other
occurrences of this thought using both words for "know". No one can
question this. After all, the purpose of the book is given in 5:13.
John writes to those who believe that you may know (EIDHTE) that you have
John argues that God is light (v. 5). The direct implication of this is
that those who are children of light necessarily reflect that by walking
in the light, vv 6-7. The first example of walking in the light versus
walking in darkness: denial versus customary confession of sin, vv 8-10.
Those who walk in darkness are characterized by denial of sin, both in
the sin nature and in the committal of sin. But, for those who practice
confession of sins, these are the ones who know that God is faithful and
righteous resulting necessarily in their cleansing and forgiveness (which
parallels v. 7b, the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all
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