Wednesday, March 1, 2017, 10:00 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “I Sing of His Mercy.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 1 John 5 (Select vv. NASB).
Born of God (vv. 1-4)
Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
What does it mean to believe that Jesus is the Christ? I can tell you it is not mere intellectual acknowledgment. James said that even the demons believe, and they shudder. So, what is it, then? And, who is the Christ?
Christ is the Anointed One (of God). He is the promised Messiah of Israel, i.e. he is the God-anointed deliverer to redeem both Jew and Gentile from their sins. He is Jesus, the Son of God, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Father chose him to come to the earth, to take on human flesh, to suffer as we suffer, and to be tempted as we are tempted, yet without sin. He was despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering. Yet, he willingly went to the cross for you and for me so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; so we might walk in the Spirit and not according to the flesh (1 Pet. 2:24; Ro. 8).
So, what does it mean to believe in him? Well, first of all God the Father must draw us to Christ. Even the faith to believe in him is a gift from God. Because this faith is God-given, it is spiritual, and not human faith. Therefore, it is divinely persuaded as to God’s will for our lives, and as such, it submits to the cross of Christ and surrenders to God’s will for our lives. It repents of (turns from) sin, and turns to follow Jesus Christ in obedience. Yet, even the repentance is granted by God, and the ability to obey is given to us by God, too, so none of this is of the flesh, but only of the Spirit. We don’t produce our own salvation, in other words, but we are saved by the blood of Jesus, and we are regenerated by the Spirit of God.
Therefore, to believe that Jesus is the Christ is to have faith in what he did for us in dying on a cross for our sins, and to appropriate that to our lives by acceptance of God’s gift of grace into our lives, which teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return (Tit. 2:11-14).
Water and Blood (vv. 5-8)
Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? This is the One who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ; not with the water only, but with the water and with the blood. It is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.
So, what does it mean that Jesus came by “water and blood.” There are varied thoughts on what this means, so I will share with you what I believe the Lord is showing me here. For one, to come by water means to be born of woman, i.e. to be flesh. Jesus, when he walked the face of this earth, was fully God and yet fully man. Although he was God, he became flesh and made his dwelling among us. Yet, he also came by blood. To come by blood, would be to come by his death on a cross for our sins, which is how he, thus, redeemed us from sin so that we could be saved and have eternal life with God. He came by life (water) and he came by death (blood).
Yet, I also see that water symbolizes cleansing (holiness, righteousness, purity). Through faith in Jesus Christ we can be cleansed of our sins and be made pure and righteous. And, yet, he came by water and blood. So, the blood represents death, and the death is death to sin. So, if we want to be cleansed of our sins, we must die with Christ to sin. We can’t have the cleansing without the blood. We can’t live unless we first die with Christ to sin so that we can be resurrected with Christ to newness of life in Him. Too many people these days want the resurrection without the cross, but you can’t have one without the other. He had to die so we could live. And, we have to die to sin if we want to live with him for eternity.
Continuing in Sin (vv. 16-21)
If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this. All unrighteousness is sin, and there is a sin not leading to death.
We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him. We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.
Little children, guard yourselves from idols.
This passage of scripture is a little complicated, i.e. it has many different interpretations as to what the sin leading to death entails. So, once again, I am going to share what I believe the Lord is teaching me through this.
To truly be born again of the Spirit of God we must have accepted the gift of faith given by God, which means we would have believed in our hearts, not only that Jesus died that we might be free from condemnation, and have eternal life with him, but that he died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. We would have accepted that coming to faith in Christ means we forsake our former way of living for sin and self, i.e. that we must repent of our sins, and that we must turn from sin to God/Christ, to follow him in obedience.
Jesus didn’t die just to forgive us of our sins, but to cleanse us, and to deliver us out of slavery to sin so we might be servants of his righteousness. If we are truly born again of the Spirit of God, we have been crucified with Christ in death to sin and resurrected with Christ to newness of life in him. We now walk according to the Spirit of God and not according to our flesh. Yet, this does not mean we will never sin again. It just means we are not living in sin, i.e. that sin is no longer our master, and that we are not continuing to sin against God in “willful and obstinate rejection of God’s grace and persistence in unrepentant sin” (Pulpit Commentary).
So, when this says something about us seeing a “brother” (one who professes to believe in Jesus Christ) commit a sin not leading to death, I believe this is speaking of someone who has been cleansed of his sin, forgiven, delivered out of slavery, and who has the hope of eternal life. If he sins, Jesus Christ is our sacrifice for our sin, i.e. that sin is covered by the blood of Christ. We can pray for that person to be renewed and restored in his relationship and fellowship with the Lord. We can pray for healing, strengthening, encouragement, and for steadfastness of faith for him/her.
Yet, if this “brother” is one who is living in willful and obstinate rejection of God’s grace and persistence in unrepentant sin, then this is speaking about a false brother or sister in Christ whose faith is based upon a lie. The lie says that they don’t have to turn from their sins and that they don’t have to obey Jesus or his commands. It says, in fact, that God is pleased with them no matter what they do. It gives carte blanche (free rein) to continue in willful sin against God while promising them the hope of heaven when they die.
This is sin leading to death, because there has been no repentance, and there has been no death to sin, and no living to righteousness, because the “believer” has been told he/she doesn’t have to, that nothing is required of them at all, and that God does it all. What a mockery of our faith!
If we are truly born of God, we can’t continue living in sin (in lifestyle). We can’t be those who make it a practice to sin, and especially to then cover it up with lies and deceptions. We especially can’t proclaim we have been brought out of darkness into God’s wonderful light, if we are still walking in the darkness. If we do that, then we are liars! If we claim we have not sinned, when we have, then we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we give off an image to others that we are living righteously, but we are knowingly living in secretive sin, and if we are refusing to acknowledge the sin and to repent of it, then we are not born of God, according to God’s Word. There is no forgiveness of sin for such a person. But, there can be if he/she repents of their sin and turns to follow the Lord in obedience.
I Sing of His Mercy / An Original Work
Based off Psalm 32 / April 10, 2014
Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven
By the blood of Jesus Christ.
Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does
Not count against them; freedom found.
When, in silence, I did not confess
My sin to You; had no strength.
Then I owned up to my sin and
You forgave and cleansed me within.
Therefore let the godly pray to You;
Draw near to You; grace they’ll find.
They will not be o’ertaken by afflictions,
But in Christ peace abounds.
Lord, You are my hiding place.
I find my refuge in You secure.
You protect me from all evil.
You give songs of vict’ry in You.
Lord, You teach me to walk in Your ways;
Counsel me in love, I know.
Help me to not be stubborn and
Unwilling to follow in Your truth.
Thank You for Your love and mercy.
I put my trust in You always.
I rejoice in my Lord and
I sing of Him throughout all my days.