Children of Darkness

John MacArthurby John MacArthur

“If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth” (1 John 1:6).

Those who deny the reality of their sin affirm the unreality of their salvation.

Ours is a society that rejects the concept of individual responsibility. People blame society, their parents, their genes—anything but their own actions and choices—for their problems. The biblical teaching that all people are responsible for breaking God’s holy law is scoffed at as primitive, unsophisticated, and harmful to a healthy self-esteem.

Even some who claim to be Christians refuse to acknowledge their sin. They say, “I make mistakes. But I’m a good person. Surely God won’t reject me!” Such people are tragically deceived and will miss out on salvation; those who don’t see themselves as lost will not seek God’s gracious salvation. In the words of the Lord Jesus Christ, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17).

The apostle John gives three characteristics of those who deny their sin.

First, they walk in darkness (1 John 1:6). That reveals that they are not saved, since only those who “walk in the light” are cleansed from their sins by the blood of Christ (1 John 1:7).

Second, they are self-deceived (1 John 1:8). The Bible makes it unmistakably clear that all people are sinners (2 Chron. 6:36; Rom. 3:23); there are no exceptions (Rom. 3:12).

Third, they defame God, making Him out to be a liar (1 John 1:10) by denying what His Word affirms—that they are sinners. That is a serious, blasphemous accusation to make against the God who cannot lie (Titus 1:2), whose word is truth (John 17:17).

In Luke 18, Jesus described two men praying in the temple. One, a proud, self-righteous Pharisee, denied his sin. The other, a despised tax-gatherer, cried out, “God, be merciful to me, the sinner!” Which of the two do you identify with?

by John MacArthur

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