Sunday, January 15, 2017

582. Reminding God of Sins He Remembers No More?

Under the Old Covenant, Israel was constantly reminded of sins through the repeated offering of animal sacrifices, which resulted in a guilty conscience. Under the existing New Covenant, God declared long ago that He would be merciful to our iniquities and He would remember sins no more. Yet religion has made it a point to pull a single verse from the Bible out of context by advocating that sins need to be confessed in order to be forgiven (again). What’s wrong with this picture? That’s our discussion on this week’s program.

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  1. If I may ask you guys to check out a blog I wrote at called Still think it's Gnosticism part 1. In it is a different perspective regarding who John may have been directing his comments to since most of the time Paul was also having to deal with in much of his letters as well and that is the Jews. If you read the gospel of John then read 1John directly after I am sure you will find an amazing parallelism! Nelson starts out the book of 1 John terribly so it may not be a good "scholar" to use. The blog I wrote was in December 14 I believe. Take a peek if you can. You may just be intrigued as I have yet to hear anyone take that view into consideration! Thanks...Lisa

    1. Hi Lisa,

      I hope you and George are doing well! I found your blog post and read it with an open mind, and I can certainly see what you're saying. With all the studying I've done of Gnosticism infiltrating the early church, it's going to be hard to sway me from how I see it, but I do thank you for taking the time to share this view.

      Nelson is far from the only source I've read in my studies on Gnosticism. I have primarily used Nelson because the way he words it is simple and easy to understand, but I have found various other sources that give insight into all this. One example is the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, which quotes several authors on the subject of Gnosticism. You can find their full article here.

      While Paul (and the others) did indeed spend a great deal of time addressing the Jews, the above ISBE article points out that "the late books of the New Testament are all occupied, more or less, with this movement, which was the more dangerous as it threatened the church from within." Here's the full quote from this part of the article:

      "For a long time the pagan beliefs had ceased to be taken seriously by thoughtful men and had been displaced by various creeds derived from philosophical speculation. These in themselves were abstract and unsatisfying, but had been partly vitalized by union with theosophies of the East. An attempt was made on the part of this philosophical religion to effect an alliance with Christianity. A section of the church was dissatisfied with the simplicity of the gospel, and sought to advance to something higher by adopting the current speculations ..... The late books of the New Testament are all occupied, more or less, with this movement, which was the more dangerous as it threatened the church from within" (Professor E. Scott, The Apologetic of the New Testament, 14)."

      As I said, there are also other sources that I've looked at, but for time's sake I'll just say that I find them credible and I have no reason to doubt them.

      As to the context of the epistle of 1 John itself, we addressed that in the podcast that follows this one. That podcast can be found here. The following week we'll also spend a bit more time on it.

      One thing to note is that John writes in 1 John 1:8, "If we say we have no sin..." He wouldn't have been addressing Jews here, because the Jews didn't say they had no sin. They dealt with sin through animal sacrifices. They were not the ones who needed to confess (acknowledge) sin. The Gnostics believed that all matter was evil, and so redemption was really a matter of being redeemed from matter rather than from sin. The Gnostics didn't believe that Jesus had come in the flesh, because if all matter is evil, then Jesus couldn't have really come in material form. Right at the beginning of the epistle, John addresses this: "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of Life..."

      All that to say, I believe a strong case is made for John addressing Gnostics in the first part of his epistle, and later on in it as well.