A Biblical Look at the Word: IF

A Biblical Look at the Word: IF
August 15, 2021
Passage: 1 John 1:5-2:1
Service Type:

This evening I want to talk about a very important word in all of the Bible. It's one of the most overlooked words in all of the Bible. It's one of the shortest words. We're going to specifically be looking at the book of First John. There are various ways to study John’s Letters. One can look at the word, know. One can look at the concept of, born of God. One can study the word, love. We often talk about the Apostle John as the Apostle of love. We could study his books and  go verse by verse.

Tonight, we are going to look at the word, if.

The little big word, if. Little in that, it is only two letters in length. Big in it's importance.  It can make the difference between truth and error, obeying God and disobeying God, being saved and being lost, being in Heaven or being in Hell.

When you think of nearly every promise throughout history that God has given, it was conditional. It's conditioned upon, if. The Israelites would have the promised land, if, they would remain in the promised land, if. If they remained in God's ways and if they obeyed God's commandments.  They were told that if they transgressed they would be cast out, and that's exactly what happened.

That little-big word is that important!

Defining If:

 "It is used as the sign of a condition, or it introduces a conditional sentence…” — Webster’s 1828 Dictionary

"In the event that; allowing that; on the assumption that; on condition that." — Merriam-webster.com

“Used to say that a particular thing can or will happen only after something else happens or becomes true:” — dictionary.cambridge.org

How Important is IF?

The word if appears in the Bible some 1,637 times. You'll find it 993 times in the Old Testament and 602 times in the New Testament. Twenty-four times in John’s epistles.

IF is a subordinating conjunction . . . It does not stand alone.

For example:

  • “If he would have stayed home, he would still be alive…”
  • “If I would have taken that job, I would be president of the company by now…”
  • “If I would have bought Microsoft stock when the company first got started, I would be rich…”

The Fatal If

  • 1 John 1:6
  • 2 Corinthians 6:14
  • Ephesians 5:11
  • John 3:20, 21

We have too many Christians who are trying to live in the world and in Christ at the same time. At times, we're all guilty of this. We try to have both, to live both ways. We can't be pleasing to God when we do this. 

The Assuring If

  • 1 John 1:7

If you substitute truth for light and you have the same thing. If you walk in truth, you are walking in the light. God is both truth and light.

If the Isralites had continued to walk in God's statutes, He would have continued to bless them.

The blood of Christ keeps on cleansing us. This is the case until we change masters. 

  • Luke 1:5,6

Walk means they kept on living,  on walking. Two people walking in the light assures for them fellowship with God and one another. When we walk in the light individually, and when we are both walking in the light we also have fellowship with each other. 

  • 1 John 1:3

When we walk in the light we have continual cleansing of our sins.

The Deceiving If

  • 1 John 1:8

I"ve heard people say, I can go where there is sinful things and it not affect me. But, this isn't true. People can, and do, fall away. We're wrong if we think we can take fire in our bosom and not be burned, Proverbs 6:27.

  • James 1:22

How often do people come to the verge of repentance, but don't actually change?

Ways people deceive themselves:

  • Proverbs 20:1
  • 1 Corinthians 3:17,18
  • 1 Corinthians 6:9
  • 1 Corinthians 15:33
  • Galatians 6:3
  • Galatians 6:7

We deceive ourselves when we believe truth is not absolute and attainable. Or, when we try to change God’s laws to fit our situation. (marriage, divorce, remarriage; anger, drinking, stealing, gossip, white lies.

The Blessed If

  • 1 John 1:9
  • 1 Peter 3:12

If we confess our sins He is faithful and just.

Confess means to admit, or own up to. If we refuse to admit or confess our sins, then God cannot forgive.

If we walk in the light the blood of Christ cleanses us from our sins, but walking in the light is confessing when we do sin, so that He can continually cleanse us. That is the conditional part. We must confess our sins to recieve that continual cleansing.

The Insulting If

  • 1 John 1:10

God cannot lie, Titus 1:2.

God's word is truth, every word of it is truth. If we say we are without sin, we are sinning by our lying to ourselves and others. The Bible tells us that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

  • Romans 3:23
  • Ecclesiastes 7:20

Are we trying to make God a liar when it comes to:

  • James 4:17
  • Revelation 3:15, 16
  • 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9

That insulting if, we make God a liar if we say we have not sin. His truth is not in us, His word is not in us.

The Advocating If

  • 1 John 2:1

If any man sin, we're all going to sin. It's not a condition that we might not sin. Looking at the definition of if, in the event that, on condition of our sin, we have an advocate.

  • Hebrews 7:14

We have an advocate, an intercessor in Jesus Christ. He goes to the Father on our behalf. We have the best lawyer there is! Jsus pleads our case. We have a lawyer who has never lost a case.

  • Romans 8:31

If we are walking in the light, if we are obeying the truth, then God is for us and who can be against us.

If you are not a Christian, today, you can put on Christ in baptism. You would then be walking in the light and have an advocate with the Father. If the Lord comes tomorrow, would you have that advocate.

To go to Heaven, you need to repent, believe, confess, and be baptized.


 If we can help you in studying the conditional requirements of walking in the light, please contact us

Adapted from a sermon outline by Wesley Simons and Chuck Horner


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