My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. 1 John 2:1-2 NIV
When we come to faith in Jesus Christ, even though we die with Christ to sin that we might live with him to his righteousness, that does not mean we will never sin again. For, we still live in flesh bodies, and we are still tempted to sin, and we still have the propensity to sin.
Yet, we do not come back under condemnation every time we sin. For, if we are in Christ, by faith in Him, then Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins makes amends for our sins. And so he exhorts us, and he intercedes for us. And, he counsels us, and he corrects us. He leads us to repentance, and then he restores us, and he shows us the way in which we should walk.
He is gentle with us, too, when we slip. He is not standing there with a hammer waiting to hit us over the head every time we sin. He tenderly corrects us, although sometimes he rebukes and even chastises and disciplines us for our good, so that we will be holy as he is holy. But, he does not remove his love from us or reject us or forsake us, if we are truly His.
We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. 1 John 2:3-6 NIV
Nonetheless, not everyone who claims to know Jesus really knows him. Not everyone who says he is in Christ is truly “in Christ.” For, knowing Jesus means we keep (obey) his commands. Yet, obviously this is not saying we will keep them perfectly or that we don’t know him, otherwise Jesus wouldn’t have had to die for our sins, and we wouldn’t be comforted in knowing he is our advocate when we do sin.
So, what this really comes down to is a matter of what we practice. And, this is consistent throughout the New Testament. We must walk in the light as he is in the light, and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from every sin. We must walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh if we want to have eternal life with God. For, if we walk according to the flesh, we will die in our sins (1 Jn. 1:5-9; Rom. 8:1-17).
So, either we are walking according to the Spirit or we are walking according to the flesh. If according to the Spirit, then we do know God, because obedience to God and to His Word is what we practice. But, if we don’t obey God as a matter of practice, then we don’t know God. So, if we say we do, then we are lying. For, to know God is to obey him. And, to know God is to love him, and to love him is to obey him, in practice.
As Jesus Did
The way that we know that we are in Christ is that we must walk (in practice) in like manner as what Jesus walked; in agreement with the way in which he walked. It doesn’t mean we will be sinless like him, or even that we will do all the same things that he did, but it means that our regular conduct, the consistent way in which we live our lives, should be in agreement with him and with his Word.
We should be separate (unlike, different) from the world because we are being conformed to the likeness of Christ. So, we should not live like the world does. We shouldn’t be thinking, behaving or talking like the world, nor should we be adopting the world’s attitudes, philosophies, character, morals, and values. But many who profess Christ do live just like this world.
Thus, lying, thieving, deceiving, conniving, gossiping, stealing, and cheating should not be what we practice. This should not be how we live our lives day in and day out. Instead, what we normally practice should be love, compassion, generosity, purity, honesty, faithfulness and the like. We should live holy and godly lives, pleasing to God.
Also, walking like Jesus walked, in like manner, means talking like he talked, too. And, it means having the heart that he had/has for humankind, too. So, we should care about the hurting, the lonely and the afflicted. We should care about the needy. And, we should be ministering to those who are in need and who are suffering, as Jesus did.
But, this also means that we should be about the Father’s business, too, which is getting out the message of the gospel of our salvation to people so that they can know him, too, and so that they can have salvation from sin and eternal life with God. But, this means telling them the same truth that Jesus told them, and not watering it down to appease human flesh.
So, we need to be those who speak the truth in love, as Jesus did, not only to those who make no profession of faith in Jesus Christ, but to those who profess faith in Jesus Christ, too, for not everyone who professes to know Jesus truly does, for many have been deceived, and they have believed the lies, and they have bought into the cheap grace gospel, because it makes them feel better about themselves while they engage in sinful practices.
So, we have to tell them the truth that if we walk according to the flesh, we are going to die in our sins. And, if sin is what we practice, we don’t have eternal life with God. And, if we don’t practice obedience to Jesus Christ, as our normal course of life, then we don’t really know God, and we don’t have forgiveness of sins or the hope of eternal life with God.
So, although faith in Jesus Christ doesn’t mean we will never sin, and even though when we do sin we have an advocate, Jesus Christ, this is not free license to continue in willful sinful practices claiming God’s grace covers it all. For, many people profess faith in Jesus Christ but they just use him as an out for their continued willful sinful practices against God.
So, just because you profess to know Christ doesn’t mean you do. And, just because you believe in Jesus Christ doesn’t mean you will never sin again. But, faith in Jesus Christ does mean that we should be those who practice what is right, what is what is godly, and what is holy and pure.
So, if you say you know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and yet you think that means you can now sin as much as you want without guilt, then you don’t really know Him. For, if sin is what you practice, you will die in your sins, not have eternal life with God. And, this is so critical that we get this, for so many people think they have heaven secured, but while they are living like hell. And, the two don’t mix!
But, it is not hard for the one believing in Jesus Christ to walk in obedience to him. For, Jesus set us free from our yokes of slavery to sin, and he empowers us to live holy and godly lives. So, in the power of God, and by God’s grace, and because of Jesus’ sacrifice on a cross for our sins, we who are in Christ by faith in Him can walk in obedience to our Lord.
But, if we do fail occasionally, Jesus’s sacrifice for our sins is enough to satisfy the debt that we owe so that we can still have that hope of eternal life with God. We just have to daily, by the Spirit, be putting to death the deeds of the flesh, and daily we have to be taking up our cross and following Jesus Christ with our lives, surrendering our lives over to Him.
Then, the peace of God will rule in our hearts and lives, and God will give us all that we need to live godly and holy lives pleasing unto Him. Amen!
An Original Work / November 29, 2018
Based off various scriptures
Cast your cares upon your Lord.
Come to Him
All you who’re weary.
Know that He will
Give you rest.
Take His yoke upon you
And learn from Him
And you’ll find your rest.
For His yoke is easy
And His burden’s light.
It’s His to bear.
Find the peace of Christ in heart.
Let the peace of Christ
Rule in your hearts,
And be then
And, the peace of God
Which is beyond all
We can comprehend
Will guard your hearts
And your minds in Christ,
For He is Lord of all.
Hope in God will not betray.
Let us hold
The hope that
We now profess.
For the One
Who promised hope
Is faithful to
His ev’ry word.
Therefore, with minds
That are sober,
Set your hope
On Christ’s return.