Does Practice Make Perfect?

1 John 3:4-10 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.”

Sinful Addiction

A person who makes a practice of sinning is addicted (enslaved) to sin. But Jesus Christ died on that cross to free us from slavery to sin so that we would now become slaves of his righteousness. He died on that cross so that we would die with him to sin and live with him to his righteousness (Rom 6:1-23; 1 Pet 2:24; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9).

So, if we abide in Christ, and he abides in us, we will no longer live in sin. We will not make sinning against God our practice. We will not plot evil on our beds and deliberately and premeditatedly continue committing the same sins over again. It doesn’t mean we will never sin (1 Jn 2:1-2), but that sin will no longer be our master. Jesus will be our only Lord.

So, we are not to let anyone deceive us into thinking that we can believe in Jesus, be saved from our sins, have heaven guaranteed us when we die, but that we can keep on living in sin, in sinful addiction, as though Jesus Christ never set us free, and that God’s grace will just cover it all.

And don’t let anyone deceive you into thinking that righteousness is just a status that we wear now that we are in Christ by faith in him. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as God/Jesus is righteous. We must walk (in practice) according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh if we want to be saved from our sins and have eternal life with God (Rom 8).

The Addict

The one who makes a practice of sinning, especially after making a profession of faith in Jesus Christ, is one who gets “high” off of doing what he (or she) knows is wrong to do. He gets a feeling of exhilaration from doing what he knows is against God and against God’s morals.

Instead of getting his sense of purpose and his peace from God, he looks to the flesh to gratify the sinful cravings of his flesh. He is self-indulgent, lacking in self-discipline and self-control, and he is addicted to self-gratification. He is intoxicated with sin, in other words.

This person has an insatiable appetite for what is of the flesh, and for whatever gives his body and/or emotions some sense of tingling and excitement and exhilaration. The addiction can be to drugs, to alcohol, to sexual perversion and adultery, to video games, to movies or to whatever allows him to escape from reality into a fantasy world of his own making.

He can also be addicted to false religion, to having a sense of goodness and righteousness based on some type of false performance, much like the Pharisees of the Bible times. He is addicted to the praise of humans and to wanting their accolades, so he performs for the audience.

The addict is often a person who is torn between fantasy and reality, between healthy relationships and unhealthy relationships, who “shoots himself in his own feet” by deliberately and habitually doing what is destructive to his relationships with spouse and children, etc.

He says he wants to have healthy relationships with God and with others but then he habitually and premeditatedly continues to do what is opposed to those healthy relationships and which only destroys them time and again. Even though his addiction to sin is killing the relationships he says he so desires, yet he continues living in intoxication to sinful practices.

Even though this person (he or she) is having to live in the results of his/her behaviors, yet he continues in them. Even though he/she says he loves God and spouse and children, etc., he continues to knowingly do what he knows will destroy those relationships. So, he is self-destructive.

The addict, though, will often convince himself that he is not the person that he really is, but that he is this other person who is really a good person who just has some minor flaws. He will lie to himself continually to convince himself that he is not as bad as what he really is, so he lives in self-denial.

What we Practice

Yes, we are not perfect people. Yes, we still live in flesh bodies. Yes, we still have a propensity to sin and we will be tempted to sin. But Jesus made the way of escape for us out from underneath temptation to sin via his death for us on that cross. He made the way for us to die to sin and live to him.

When we believe in Jesus with genuine faith in him, we die with him to sin and we are reborn of the Spirit of God to newness of life in Christ, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. We aren’t reborn of the Spirit so we can continue living in sin without guilt (Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24).

If we have genuine faith in Christ, the Spirit of God lives within us, and he trains us in godliness, and he teaches us the right way, and he empowers us and strengthens us to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and to live self-controlled, godly, and upright lives (Tit 2:11-14).

Yet, there is a battle for truth going on within the gatherings of the church and within the hearts of people who profess faith in Jesus Christ but who are still making sin their practice (habit, addiction). And there is a war going on against God and against truth coming from those who are professing to believe the truth and who are teaching a false gospel.

For, many are teaching that we can believe in Jesus and still live in sin. Scripture does not support that! If we live in sin, we will die in sin. We will not have eternal life with God. Please know the truth! (Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8).

The Battle for Truth

An Original Work / May 18, 2013
Based off Malachi 1-4

Truth is marching, truth is marching.

I love you. Honor me.
Tell the truth. You’ll be free.
Sing My praise all your days.
I will give all you need.

Truth is marching, truth is marching.

Turn from sin; cleansed within.
Stand in awe of My Name.
Teach what’s true. Walk in peace.
Follow Christ, in His ways.

Truth is marching, truth is marching.

Show to God faithfulness.
Do not be adult’rous.
Do not shed shallow tears.
Do not be insincere.

Truth is marching, truth is marching.

I have sent messengers,
Who have giv’n my address.
They call for repentance,
And they warn of judgment.

Truth is marching, truth is marching.

I, the Lord, do not change,
So return – blessings gain:
Healing comes; joyfulness;
Freedom from your distress.

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