Yesterday at church, the sermon text was 1 John 1:5-2:2. The pastor focused on 2:1 "My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."
The pastor made the observation that Christians often fall into two categories regarding their sin: some take their sin far too lightly, not acknowledging God's holiness and abhorrence of all sin. Others are consumed by their sin, racked by guilt, and unable to accept God's forgiveness through Christ.
1 John 2:1 deals with both sets of believers. The God-inspired words given to John in this epistle are "so that you may not sin." When we encounter the truth of God's word, we are given no room to harbor our sin. And when we do sin, "we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." Christ's death on the cross for our sin removes all doubt whether we can be forgiven.
So how should we treat sin in our lives? We must take the attitude of Paul, who both acknowledged the gravity of his sin, and the surpassing power of Christ to cleanse us from our iniquity:
Romans 7:24-25 "Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin."