I'm not going to be real conversational here. I'm just going to hit the highlights. I doubt anyone will accept this challenging study, and I'm sure that people will not agree and feel they need to teach me. Which I'm not adverse too, except I started as conservative as Major is, and had to change from that, to where I'm at now. So here is why I changed, well a small part of it. This will sound foreign and heretical, but I challenge you to hit the book and see if it's not possible and doesn't fit better than what you have been taught. 1 John 1. John, we aren't sure which John, the Apostle Jesus loved, John the Elder, John of Patmos, some other John we haven't been introduced to, whatever/ whomever. We don't know. Anyone that makes an argument and say this is it, is guessing as much as the next guy is. What we do know, is the author speaks for a group, and the group has seen the WORD which was from the beginning and heard him and touched him. And that Word became manifest as a human. redundant, oops. We know that the author and his group, henceforth the COTERIE, were in fellowship with God and His Son. We know that the people that the Coterie wrote to, were not in fellowship with John. Two possible conclusions. In analogy: The Coterie is in fellowship with God, so they are in the kitchen together. The others they write to are not in the Kitchen with John, so thus they weren't in fellowship with God yet. (BUT, below you see they had Christ as their mediator to confess to, so for sure they were saved....) OR The Coterie is in fellowship with God, and the ones he writes to are in fellowship with God, but God is in two different places and thus the group isn't together as ONE fellowship, but it's two fellowships. I admit the latter is a logical conclusion. But I'm pretty sure the first is the picture. Given the use of LOGOS here, I'm assuming JOHN'S Gospel, and this first Epistle are the same guy, or at least thinks the same on that topic. In John 17 there is a prayer for UNITY among the Church. So I think the idea of fellowship will have them all together as one, not separate. The description of the Church in Eph 4 expresses in maturity there is unity. I conclude they were not in fellowship with God, and have a few other arguments in a bit that contribute to my conclusion. This is not what I was taught. But what I ws taught requires a lot of "dancing" with the wording, where this conclusion makes it fit better. My challenge is put your beliefs aside, don't be scared, try to prove what I'm presenting RIGHT before you tell me how wrong I am. If you never consider it, you'll never be capable of discovering how you are wrong. (assuming a situation that you were wrong. I won't make that claim in these discussions, often.) They were saved, as 1:8-2:1 shows, they have a mediator, His Son, and I don't think Christ mediates for the ones that aren't His or chasing Him, seeking Him. so, saved but not in fellowship with God and His Son. The Coterie wants them to be in fellowship, that's the purpose of the letter, that will make their joy complete. GETTING THERE: To be in fellowship you must walk in the light AS HE DOES. <<<<< the AS HE DOES, is pretty bold. It's not sorta like he does, but fully as he does. Which matches the maturity in eph 4, as mature as he was, and the unity in john 17, they may be in me and I in you as you were in me..> (Jesus' prayer to God for the church.) There is no darkness IN HIM. Dilemma Does that mean the darkness is gone before you get in Him, OR The darkness is wiped out WHEN you are in Him. 2:8 answers this. The darkness must be gone before you are in fellowship. (a little more must be washed off). (( also notice, the tie in to LOVE in that verse...)) So, what does a person that walks in the LIGHT AS HE DOES, and has no darkness in them look like? That's the standard to be in fellowship with God. (this is my view, I'm not asking you to accept it, just consider it before you deny it...) So, light is a godly life, dark is a.... ungodly life, or sin. I REALLY KNOW you are itching to tear me apart here, just hang on and hear me out. 18 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. >>>>there is nothing in this that says you sin forever. It says we all have sinned. VS 10 confirms it. If you sinned once, yo uhave need of a savior, you will agree with that. So since all have sinned we all have sin, except Christ. HOWEVER you reach to say that it means you will always sin. That argument relies on claiming JOHN still sinned. However, He said he was in fellowship with GOD, which meant he walked in the light AS HE DOES..... If John still sins, and isn't lying about walking in the light, then God must sometimes sin as well. Else he wouldn't be walking in the light AS HE DOES... SO IT IS POSSIBLE HE MEANS WHAT HE SAYS.... And it doesn't remove salvation. Those who weren't in fellowship yet, still had Christ as a mediator, that's atonement right? That's salvation! (I only use the S word because it's how most of you will think, I hate it and find it demeans the whole Gospel message.... that's another story.) 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. >>>>> After professing that all of us have sinned in our life, He shows the answer. HE will forgive and cleanse us from unrighteousness. That fixes the darkness from the past. The word, walking/Peripateo, is a lifestyle that is moving, in action. Actively in the light as HE is. So to be in the light your old sins are cleaned off, any sins you make along the way are cleaned off through confession, but your walk, will be as HIS is. Which could mean you won't be sinning.... 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us. >>> Again, we all have sinned. Everyone of us has failed that test. For God so loved the world, He gave his only begotten. For all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God. The Coterie here, are just giving the gospel message to thse who were still maturing towards Christ, but not yet there. If you wish to say that it's not consistent, consider this: By assuming that you have two groups, those that are in fellowship, and those that aren't yet, which is by far the easier conclusion, requiring less versal dancing, then the 3:6 verse makes sense. If you still sin, you don't know Him and haven't met Him. <<<< sure sounds like fellowship to me. If you still sin, you aren't in fellowship, you still walk in the dark, and not in the light yet, so you are still being changed. Don't worry, he's God, He can change you, just keep walking. OR 3:9, if you are born of God, you no longer continue in that continual sin life (or the sinful nature, that col 2:11 says is removed by Christ), and in fact you can not go on sinning at all. (Gal 5:16, if you walk by the Spirit you won't give into temptations of the flesh.) BECAUSE HIS SEED IS IN YOU (or Paul says Spirit instead of seed. Considering the confusing of this gnostic type group, I understand why John wouldn't use the familiar term from Paul's letters, Pneuma here. It would confuse things.) So, John paints the standard for "being there" not as one where you defeat sin. But, as one that you have arrived and love as He loves. 1 John 4;16-18. So our focus is to learn to love as He loves, by doing that God changes us, and makes us into what he wants us to be. I don't think saying HE CAN'T is very indicative of an omnipotent God. I'm ignoring knee jerk responses. I've answered the most common one with 1:8. If you disagree then dont' just re read 1:8, give reasoning as well. This kicked my butt for two years. It's not a fly by night, something I learned from some other denomination teaching. It's straight exegetics. If you don't see how a person could live without sinning, does NOT change what the scripture says. Asking me if I've met someone like this, is irrelevant, I've not met anyone who raised from the dead either, I believe that as well. Besides how would I know, only GOD would know. They wouldn't be running around bragging about it, if they were there, would they? John and Paul both accredit it to what GOD does in you. So it's not a matter of if you are capable to get there or not. To say it can't happen, is to say that GOD is not omnipotent. So POSSIBLE is on the table. Now, you don't have to change your views, but if you don't try to make the case FOR, you'll just be in denial and not research. Once you make the case FOR it and understand the arguments, then your refutations will be more potent. Enjoy the fun.