1 John 2:1-2 ESV
“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.”
When we believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, we are delivered from the control of sin and of Satan over our lives, and from our slavery to sin, but we still are tempted to sin, and we still have the propensity to sin. So, we might still sin.
So, although we are to no longer live in sin, and under its dominion, we can still sin. But if we do sin, because of what Jesus did for us on that cross, we who believe in Jesus have Jesus as our advocate who speaks to the Father in our defense, so that the sin is not charged against us.
For, Jesus sacrificed his life on that cross for us and for the whole world. In his death he paid the penalty for our sin so that we could go free from both our slavery to sin and from the punishment of sin. And he bought us back for God so that we would now honor God with our lives.
So, by his grace, through divinely persuaded (God-given) faith in Jesus, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, we are born anew of the Spirit of God to new lives in Christ, and now we are empowered of the Spirit of God to live holy and godly lives, pleasing to God (Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24).
1 John 2:3-5 ESV
“And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says ‘I know him’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected.”
Many people today will take the preceding verses (vv. 1-2) out of context and will use them to justify continuing to live in sin. But those verses are not to be taken as free license to continue living in sin, just because Jesus paid for our sin, and because he is our advocate to the Father if we do sin.
For, the Scriptures teach that if we continue living in sin, we will die in our sins, not have eternal life with God (Lu 9:23-26; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Eph 5:3-6; Heb 10:26-31).
These same people will also try to convince you that faith in Jesus Christ requires no repentance, no obedience, and no submission to Christ. But what does this say here? It says that if we say we know Jesus (God), but we do not keep his commandments (New Testament), we are liars.
Jesus himself even said that if we love him we will keep (obey, adhere to) his word. And the Father will love us, he will come to us, and they (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) will make their home with us individually (Jn 14:23-24).
And Paul said something else along those lines when he stated that we are slaves to the one we obey – whether we are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness, which then ends in eternal life with God (See Rom 6:15-23).
For, Jesus is the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him (Heb 5:9). And he chose us in him for obedience to Jesus Christ (1 Pet 1:2). And those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them (1 Jn 3:24). And we are not to be hearers only, but we are to be doers of the word (Jas 1:21-25).
1 John 2:5-6 ESV
“By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.”
If we claim that we live in Christ and that he lives in us, and if we profess that we are abiding in him, remaining, enduring, and continuing in him, then we are morally obligated to (indebted to, required of) God to walk (conduct our lives) in the manner (way) in which Jesus walked.
So, how did Jesus walk? Well he first humbled himself and he came to serve us, not in the sense of doing what we want him to do, but in doing for us what we need. He submitted to the Father in heaven in all things, and he obeyed him. And he willingly gave his life for us for our freedom from sin.
He loved people. He cared about their needs, but not just their spiritual needs, but their physical and emotional needs, too. And he ministered to those needs in various ways. He healed the sick and afflicted, raised the dead, delivered people from demons, and he performed many miracles.
He also told them the truth about their sin and about the consequences of living in sin. And he told them what all he required of any who would follow him. They must deny self, die daily to sin, and follow him in obedience. And he gave hope to those who would believe, repent, and obey him.
Jesus also walked in integrity. He was the only sinless human (who was also fully God) to walk this earth. But he was tempted to sin like we are, only without sin. And He lived a holy and righteous life committed to God the Father and to loving people and to meeting their legitimate needs.
We who are human are born into sin with sin natures separate from God and we are unable within ourselves to be acceptable to God or to be righteous. So, we will never be without sin like Jesus was, but we can live free from the control of sin over our lives because of Jesus’ sacrifice for us for our sins.
And we may not do all the things that Jesus did, exactly, but we are to live like he did and to do the kinds of things that he did, such as love people, be a healer, share the gospel, minister to people’s legitimate needs, and be compassionate, loving even our enemies.
And because we are living for the Lord, walking in his ways, doing the kinds of things he did, and saying what he commands us to say, we will suffer like he did, too, for the sake of righteousness, and for the sake of seeing others be set free from their slavery to sin.
So, we will be hated, rejected, mistreated, falsely accused, called crazy, and we will be accused of being of Satan. We will have our motives misinterpreted, and our words taken out of context and twisted, and people will gossip about us and slander us, and even other “Christians” will not want to be with us.
But Jesus said if we want to come after him, we must deny self, die daily to sin, and follow him in obedience, and he said the result would be that we would be treated as he was treated. So, we must accept that being persecuted is going to be part of our lives if we follow Jesus in full surrender to his will for our lives, and if we walk in like manner as he also walked.
Near the Cross
Hymn lyrics by Fanny J. Crosby, 1869
Music by William H. Doane, 1869
Jesus, keep me near the cross;
There a precious fountain,
Free to all, a healing stream,
Flows from Calvary’s mountain.
Near the cross, a trembling soul,
Love and mercy found me;
There the bright and morning star
Sheds its beams around me.
Near the cross! O Lamb of God,
Bring its scenes before me;
Help me walk from day to day
With its shadow o’er me.
Near the cross I’ll watch and wait,
Hoping, trusting ever,
Till I reach the golden strand
Just beyond the river.
In the cross, in the cross,
Be my glory ever,
Till my raptured soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.
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