What’s Your Practice?

1 John 2:1-2 NASB

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.

When We Sin

Jesus Christ died for us in order to free us from the control of sin over our lives so that we would no longer walk (live) in sin, but that we would now walk in victory over sin and in Christ’s righteousness, in the power of his Spirit now living within those of us who believe in him. So, one of the goals of our walks of faith is to not sin, but that does not mean we won’t ever sin.

Thus, if we who are followers of Jesus Christ should sin, we don’t lose our salvation. Yet, our sin, until repented, can hinder our fellowship with the Lord and with one another, and it can hinder our walks of faith, too. But, because of Jesus’ sacrifice for our sin, we are not eternally condemned if we should sin. For, Jesus speaks to God the Father in our defense.

Thus, God is not standing up in heaven with a hammer hanging over our heads to strike us every time we should sin against him. He is a loving and merciful God, full of compassion. And, because Jesus once lived in a flesh body, he knows what it is like to be tempted to sin, and so he became our compassionate and merciful high priest to whom we can go when we do sin, to repent of that sin, and then he restores us, and we keep going forward.

Yet, on the flip side of this, we can’t confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives and still live a life of sin. We can’t keep on living in our sinful addictions as though Jesus did not die to set us free. This is “where the rubber meets the road.” This is where our faith is tested to see whether or not our faith is genuine. For, if we walk according to the flesh, we will die in our sins, but if we walk according to the Spirit, we will live for eternity with our Lord in heaven (Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 6:7-8).

1 John 2:3-6 NASB

By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.

Keep His Word

Obviously, this is not speaking about having to live a life of sinless perfection and absolute perfect obedience or “Wham!” we are eternally condemned once more. Again, context is everything. We must read this and other scriptures like it in the context of the book, as a whole, and in the context of the New Testament (New Covenant) teachings that are for the church.

For, if we could obey the law with absolute perfection, Jesus would not have had to die for our sins. But, because of the flesh, we were not able to be perfected through the law. And, that is why Jesus gave his life for us, for he became sin for us on that cross so that he might put sin to death, not just on that cross, though, but in our individual lives, too.

BUT, it is not those who merely profess faith in Jesus who are made righteous, but it is those who walk according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh who are made righteous (See Rom. 8:1-17).

Basically, it all comes down to lifestyle and to what we practice, for what we live and what we practice define who we are and what we truly believe. And, this is why our salvation is not a one-time experience, and “Bam!” we are in, and now we are headed for heaven no matter how we live our lives from that moment on. Our salvation has a beginning, but it is ongoing until the day when Jesus takes us all to be with him and our salvation is complete.

Thus, although we do nothing to earn or to deserve our own salvation, our faith in Christ means we repent of our sin and, in fact, daily we die to sin and self and we follow Jesus Christ in obedience to his will for our lives. Yet again, this is not speaking of sinless perfection, but it is talking about lifestyle and practice, for either we practice holiness or we practice wickedness, and we can’t do both at the same time.

1 John 2:7-11 NASB

Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard. On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining. The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

If You Hate

To hate someone is the opposite of love. Love is self-sacrificial, not selfish. Love considers others’ legitimate needs above one’s own personal desires, especially for acceptance. Love does no harm to its neighbor, but only what is beneficial for them, for their good. And, love prefers what God prefers, which is what is holy, good, moral, pure, upright, godly and righteous.

Hate, on the other hand, will cheat others, lie to them, commit adultery against them, slander them, gossip about them, manipulate them and steal from them, etc. So, if we harm others for our own advantage, and for their disadvantage, it is hate, not love, although some will think they “love” the person they are treating with hate, because they confuse lust with love.

Yet, again, we are not perfect people, so we have to see this in the context that it is speaking about what we practice and how we live (lifestyle). Yet, being “not perfect” is never to be used as an excuse for willful, continued sin against Almighty God. Either our practice is to treat people with love or with hate, and we need to understand the difference, for if we practice hate, we don’t know God, and we are still walking in darkness, not in the Light.

1 John 2:15-17 NASB

Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.

Don’t Love the World

This is not saying we should not love the people of the world. We should. We should love all people. We, though, are not to get entrapped by the things of this sinful world which lead us to follow after the flesh and not after the Spirit of God.

The things of this sinful world should not be what we desire, crave, have passion for, and get excited about. We should not bow down and worship the things of this world or to make them our gods. For, if this is our practice, again, we don’t have God or his love living within us. For, it is those who DO (practice) the will of God who have eternal life with God.

Praise the “I AM!”
An Original Work / February 24, 2012

Jesus, my Savior, full of compassion,
Glorious in power, mighty in strength;
Gracious Redeemer, mighty deliv’rer,
My heart adores Him. Praise to His name!
Perfect salvation my Lord provided
When He died for my sins on a tree;
Crucified my sins; conquered in vict’ry,
When He arose, so I could be free!

I am so thankful for His forgiveness;
Grateful that He chose to pardon me,
Giving me new life full in His Spirit,
So I can serve Him; His servant be!
Walking in daily fellowship with Him,
Obeying Him whate’er He commands;
Forsaking my sins, living in freedom,
I will endure with Him to the end!

He gives me peace and calm reassurance
In times of sorrow, or in distress.
His grace is sure, and oh, how sufficient
To meet me in my need for sweet rest.
Oh, how I love You, Jesus, my Savior.
My heart longs for You where’er I am.
Your word is precious; speaks to my spirit;
Brings comfort, healing. Praise the “I AM!”

Tuesday, September 25, 2018 – Thank You, Jesus, for dying for us on that cross and for being resurrected back to life so that we can die with you to sin and live with you to righteousness and have life eternal with you. Amen!

2 thoughts on “What’s Your Practice?

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