A man rebuked me for admitting that I still sin and often need forgiveness. He quoted verses 6 and 9 of 1 John 3 and said that a Christian does not sin, implying that I was not a Christian. I assured him that I don’t want to sin, but that I can’t say I’m Christlike in everything I think, say, and do. I suggested that the verses in 1 John 3 refer to a sinful lifestyle, and I pointed him to other verses in 1 John which teach that Christians still need forgiveness (1:8-10; 2:1).

Becoming like Christ is a lifelong process. Only in heaven will we be without sin. I believe that’s why John warned us to beware of three lies about sin: First, saying “we have fellowship with [Christ]” while we “walk in darkness” (1 Jn. 1:6). Second, saying “we have no sin” (v.8). And third, saying “we have not sinned” (v.10). Following each lie he gave us the truth. First, if we walk in the light, Jesus’ blood cleanses us from all sin (v.7). Second, if we confess our sins, He forgives and cleanses us (v.9). And third, if we sin, Jesus speaks in our defense before the Father (2:1).

In our struggle with temptation and sin, let’s pray as David did, “Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults. Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins” (Ps. 19:12-13).