2012-01-15 - 1 John 2
The Epistles of John ~ Part 13 ~ Being God-Centered
In this passage, John makes the distinction between our positional perfection before God, and the practical imperfection that we experience on a day-to-day basis. The good news is we don't have to sin. The bad news is we do. The best news is that when we sin, we have an advocate with the Father.
There is much confusion on these issues today. Some theologians, in concern over an easy salvation, leave believers with the idea that salvation is dependent on works. In contrast,others are so concerned with the presence of grace in our lives, that they minimize the issue of sin. As already mentioned, one individual has gone to far as to deny that John, in this passage, is speaking to believers.
These same positions can be identified as legalism versus license. Some Christians act as if violating some set of standards, established by them and not Scripture, leads to loss of salvation, or at least proof of the lack of salvation. The other extreme holds that how one lives is irrelevant, and that in God's grace anything is acceptable.
Reality is, God is concerned with the quality of our walk. And the quality is demonstrated by our love of Him and each other. If we truly love God and each other, our actions will flow from that love and will be pleasing to the Lord. It is important that we recognize that God calls us to a walk in light. We do need to remember that our walk is to be different from that of the world. This difference is not so much in actions, though clearly we should not do much of what the world does. But the difference between the believer and the citizen of the world is in what drives behavior.
John would ask, are we God-centered? Do our choices reflect a concern with, first of all, pleasing God? "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God" (1Corinthians 10:31).
Notice this doesn't say what we can or can't do. Paul is calling us to an attitude of pleasing God. If we can please God by our actions, then what we are doing is acceptable. Or, are we self-centered? Do our choices reflect a focus that says, "What makes me happy?"
The "Me Generation" expressed this well. "If it feels good, do it." We must examine our thought processes. Do most of our concerns center on our personal and/or emotional comfort.
This can be observed in the following questions.
These same kinds of principles can be carried over into any of our relationships, employer to employee, or visa versa, pastor to flock, or parishioner to shepherd. Do our concerns focus on ourselves, or how we can move towards others in obedience to the Lord? As the believer matures, his perspective becomes more consistent with God's desires. As we grow, we become more God-centered as opposed to self-centered. God-centeredness is the only valid goal for our lives. This is why the call of the church is to make disciples. We are to help each other become more God-centered, as we love and care for one another. The call is to be conformed to the image of Christ is what Paul is actually speaking about when he said:
To be continued.