2012-06-19 - The Righteous Practice
The Epistles of John ~ Part 44 ~ 1 John 3
Followers of Christ have no reason to fear God's judgment. Christ came to take away sin.
"Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree" (Galatians 3:13).
We know that Christ is without sin. John says that no one who lives in Christ continues to sin. In fact, the presence of sin proves there is relationship with God. Does John mean then that Christians never sin? Remember what John said back in chapter 2:1.
"My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense--Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, ... ."
Since obviously John says Christians do sin, what does he mean by saying we don't? Paul explains it. He wrote in the book of Romans that the unrighteous are slaves to sin.
"Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey--whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?" (Romans 6:16).
While in specific situations they may not sin, their lives are typified by sinful behavior. Paul continues,
"But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted" (Romans 6:17).
The believer may sin, but his life is no longer typified by sin. We can choose not to sin. We will sin, but we are not slaves to sin - so for us - sinning is a choice. For the unrighteous, sinning is not a choice. John refers to this distinction when he says we no longer sin.
John also uses this argument to show the fallacy of the claim that how one lives doesn't matter. Believers are to walk righteously before the Lord, enjoy the blessings of God, and choose obedience to Him.
To be continued.