Don’t Be Deceived
1 John 3:4-10, 18 ESV
Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning.
The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother…
Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
There are many people today who would have you believe that you can say some words after them in a prayer to God, after which you are congratulated that you are now a child of God, and then you are given the assurance of men that heaven is now guaranteed you when you die, and that nothing can take that away from you, no matter how you live from that time forward.
But, this is not what the Word of God teaches us. What it teaches us is that our salvation is deliverance from slavery (addiction) to sin, not just a free pass so that we can escape hell and go to heaven when we die. Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. His Word teaches us, too, that the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in us who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit, for if we walk according to the flesh, we will die in our sins, not live with Christ in eternity.
If our new life in Christ Jesus is indistinguishable from our old lifestyle of living in wickedness, sexual immorality, lies, deceptions, immorality, hate, stealing, and/or cheating, etc., then, according to the Word of God, we are still under the control of the flesh and of Satan, and we truly have not been redeemed from our sins. We have not been washed in the blood of Christ and made clean. We are still operating in the flesh, only with a slightly altered heart and mind, but which is still the work of the flesh, not the Spirit.
So, we need to take these words here to heart. If we still make sin our practice after we have professed Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives, we are not truly saved, and heaven is not guaranteed us when we die. We have to know here that scripture does not teach our salvation as a one-time experience, then we live however we want, and one day we get to go to heaven. Our salvation is progressive, and it won’t be complete until Jesus Christ returns for his bride and he takes us home to be with him. It is those who walk according to the Spirit, and who by the Spirit are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, who will live with Christ for eternity.
Whatever We Ask
1 John 3:19-24 ESV
By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.
If we are walking in (practicing) righteousness, by the Spirit of God, and we are not living to please the flesh, but we are living to please our Lord, and we are walking in obedience to the Word of God, and thus our hearts do not condemn us, we can receive from the Lord whatever we ask of him according to his will, if we do not doubt, and if we ask with the right motives.
And, obeying his commandments means we must believe in Jesus Christ in the way in which God’s word teaches such belief, which requires death to sin and living to righteousness, not walking according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit, and by the Spirit putting to death the deeds of the flesh. And, we must love one another with God-like love, which prefers what God prefers, i.e. righteousness, holiness, purity, honesty, morality and integrity, etc. and which does no harm to another. So, this person can’t be practicing hate, abuse, lust, sexual immorality, bitterness, rebellion, lies, and cheating, etc., and expect his prayers to be heard by God and answered.
But, if we are walking in his holiness and righteousness, God will hear and answer our prayers according to his will, and according to his perfect timing, too. We know he is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance, so with confidence we can pray for the salvation of human lives, for them to be turned from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so they can receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Jesus Christ.
The Gift of God
1 John 3:1-3 ESV
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
Jesus Christ is God’s gift to us, as is his grace and his salvation. We can do nothing in and of ourselves, of our own fleshly works and human efforts to earn or to deserve such a great salvation. We have all sinned. We have all come up short of the glory (praise) of God. We cannot earn God’s divine approval through human effort, especially if we are the ones deciding what we will do for God or what we will forgo or sacrifice all the while we are still holding on to the flesh and the world and the control of our own lives.
But, this is not just about works-based salvation. This is also talking about those who will not let go of the flesh, and who cheapen God’s grace to merely a free pass from punishment of sin which requires nothing of us – no repentance, obedience or submission. For, God’s gift of salvation for us is to deliver us out of slavery to sin and to free us to walk in his righteousness. It is not so we can keep on in our sinful addictions expecting God to be pleased with only minor concessions, while we continue to retain control over our own lives. Being born again of the Spirit of God is a metamorphosis, i.e. a complete transformation from living to the flesh to living to the Spirit.
In other words, we don’t have the power within ourselves and our own flesh to transform our own lives. We can’t just slightly alter them, by ourselves, and call that “God’s grace.” That isn’t grace. That is flesh. For God’s grace instructs us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and worldly passions (lusts) and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await our Lord’s return. God’s grace transforms us and it conforms us to his likeness. It does not leave us still enslaved to sin and practicing immorality and wickedness.
Thus, God’s grace, his gift to us, has the power to change us who are yielded to our Lord, and who have died with him to sin so that we might live with him to his righteousness. No matter how deep into sin anyone might be, God’s grace can reach that person, and can save his soul from hell. But, he must let go of the flesh and yield control of his life over to the Lord, and then the Lord can change his mind and heart to bring it into conformity with the will of God. So, there is hope for the wandering soul to be delivered.
Christ Is Able (To Save)
Come ye lost, afraid, forgotten
Let your wandering souls find rest
At your hearts’ door He is knocking
For you His precious blood was shed
He is able, He is able
Christ is able still to save
Come ye sinners, poor and needy
Sing to Him our song of praise
Tuesday, February 27, 2018, 8:15 p.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for these encouraging and hopeful words, that you are able to deliver. Amen!