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.
This is so reassuring and comforting to those of us who have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives. We are only God’s children because of God’s great love for us, and because of his amazing grace. We can only come to faith in Jesus Christ, too, if the Father in heaven draws us to Christ. The word faith means divine persuasion, as well, and if persuaded by God to come to him in faith, we thus submit to him and to his will and to his purposes for our lives. So, even our faith comes from God.
So, coming to faith in Jesus Christ means we yield to his Lordship over our lives. We surrender to him, and we die with him to sin so that we might live with him to righteousness. For, this is the reason he gave his life up for us. So, this means we leave our old lives behind us, and now we walk with Jesus in his righteousness and holiness. Yet, it doesn’t mean we are perfect, for we won’t be complete until Jesus comes back for us and takes us home to be with him. But, we are growing, and he is conforming us daily to his likeness.
And, because now we are no longer living our lives according to our sinful flesh, but we are walking according to the Spirit, by the Spirit, we will be rejected by many of those who are still walking according to the flesh. And, this includes many professing Christians, too. But, if we are rejected because of our faith in Jesus Christ, and because of our belief in the gospel of our salvation, then those who reject us are also rejecting Jesus Christ.
1 John 3:4-10
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.
There are many people today who have this idea of faith in Jesus Christ that it is a one-time deal, i.e. something that happens one day, and then we are “in,” and then one day we die and we go to heaven. But, that is not what scripture teaches us. For, our faith in Christ must be present tense, and it must be ongoing, and growing, and it must endure to the end, the scriptures say. For, we are saved (past), we are being saved (present) and we will be saved (future) when our Lord returns and our salvation is complete.
But, it isn’t just that. The way we know this is true is because of all the scriptures that talk about how our salvation is conditional to what we practice, i.e. how we live. We don’t earn our way to heaven by good works, but our actions (our lifestyles) are the evidence that our faith is genuine. For, faith is not a feeling or an acknowledgment, but it is a life and a heart transformation. It is action, too. For, if you read Hebrews 11, you will see that nearly every one mentioned had faith and did such and such.
Thus, if we have genuine faith in Jesus Christ, it will result in us practicing righteousness, not sin. This is not saying we will never sin (See 1 Jn. 2:1-2), but that sin should not be what we practice. Sin should not be what we live for. It should no longer be what controls our lives. It should not be our “honey” in place of God, or in place of spouse. We should choose Jesus Christ and his righteousness over living for sin and self, for this is faith.
For, Jesus Christ did not die on that cross merely to forgive your sins, or merely to rescue you from punishment in hell. He died to put sin to death on your behalf so that you could die with him to sin and live with him to righteousness. He died to eradicate sin from our lives and to fill us with His Spirit and his holiness, purity, honesty, morality and faithfulness. And, he died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us (See 1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15, 21; Tit. 2:11-14).
1 John 3:11-15
For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
Again, when we are walking in fellowship with our Lord Jesus, and we are no longer living like the world, but we are living separate from the world of sin, and separate unto to God, those who are of this sinful world will often hate us and reject us, and they may even persecute us and put us to death.
And, sometimes that will be out of jealousy because their deeds are evil and ours our righteous, and so they will try to take us out any way they can in order to bring us down. For, they know how to kill us while leaving us still alive, too. For, remember that Jesus said that hate is the same as murder. So, we can murder people by stomping on their hearts, too, and by destroying their reputations, and by playing tricks on them to hurt them.
So, it should not surprise us when we are persecuted for our faith, when people reject us and mistreat us, and when they do all manner of evil against us just because they are jealous of us. For, Jesus told us that as he was treated, so would we be treated. It doesn’t make it easier or less painful, but it helps to know that it all serves a purpose, which is to make us holy, to purify our hearts, to get us to rely on God, and to strengthen us in our faith and in our resolve to walk by the Spirit and not by the flesh.
1 John 3:16-18
By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
So, we should not shy away from being persecuted. It isn’t that we should go out and hunt it down, but we should never be ashamed of our Lord or of his gospel out of fear that we will hated and persecuted and even falsely accused for things we did not do. We must keep on in our faith, and we must keep on in sharing the gospel, for this is laying our lives down for the salvation of human lives. And, we must keep loving and forgiving our enemies, i.e. those who mistreat us, and must do good to them in return.
Some people say that we are sharing the gospel when we do good deeds to others. Yet, it is possible to do good deeds and believe in anything and live like hell, too. And, some people use this as a cop-out because they don’t want to share the gospel because they know it will get them hated and rejected, and they love themselves more, so they convince themselves that doing good deeds is enough. And, that is wrong.
But, then there are those who are good at preaching, but not living it, too, who can expound the scriptures but not show genuine love to people. Jesus knew how to do both, i.e. how to meet people’s physical and emotional needs while not sacrificing their spiritual needs. He was able to heal the sick, raise the dead, feed the hungry and comfort the sorrowful. And, at the same time he was able to confront sin, call for repentance, call for obedience to himself, and let people know that if they didn’t obey, they didn’t know him.
So love for others is not absent of telling them the truth. And, telling them the truth is not absent of meeting their legitimate needs, too. So, to love God and to love others must not be talk only, but it must be in action and in truth, which means we need to walk in righteousness and no longer in sin.
Forever with Us
An Original Work / February 5, 2016
Based off Psalm 46
Be still and know
God is over all things.
Throughout the earth,
He’ll be honored as King.
The Lord Almighty,
Forever with us.
He is our refuge
When we’re in distress.
Therefore, we have
Not a reason to fear.
Trials will come,
But our God is still near.
He is our helper,
So we do not fall.
Mountains will quake,
But on Jesus we call.
Joy to the Church,
Even if sorrow comes.
But our faith marches on.
God’s Holy Spirit,
Now living within,
Gives peace and comfort,
And grace without end.
Saturday, February 16, 2019