Whoever Says

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.”

The goal of our salvation from sin is that we no longer live under the control of sin or under bondage to sin. For, if we believe in Jesus Christ with genuine faith, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are born again of God’s Spirit, and we are raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him no longer according to the flesh but now according to and by the Spirit.

Since we have died with Christ to sin, how can we live in it any longer? God forbid! For Jesus Christ gave his life up for us on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us, and so we would now honor God with our lives (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Pet 2:24; 2 Co 5:15; 1 Co 6:19-20).

But we are still human. We still live in flesh bodies. We still have the propensity to sin against God, and we still are able to sin against God. Yet, if we are in Christ, by genuine faith in him, we are not cut off from Jesus Christ every time we sin. For Jesus paid the price for our sin so we could be forgiven our sins. But he also paid the price so we’d be delivered from our slavery to sin and so we would now be slaves of God and of his righteousness. So, read on…

1 John 2:3-6 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. 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.”

There are conditions that God has established for our salvation from sin. If we don’t meet those conditions, then we don’t have salvation from sin, and therefore Jesus is not our advocate when we sin. And one of those conditions is that we must be obeying (keeping) our Lord’s commandments which we received through the teachings of Jesus and his NT apostles.

Now, as we study the Scriptures, as a whole, we understand this is not speaking of absolute sinless perfection, otherwise that would negate the prior statement of him being our advocate when we sin. This is speaking of what we practice, which is taught all throughout the New Testament. If we practice righteousness we are righteous, and we have eternal life. But if we make sin our practice then we will not inherit eternal life with God.

So, obedience to our Lord is part of our saving faith. It is our faith put into practice in our daily lives. Jesus said that if we want to come after him that we must deny self, take up our cross daily (daily die with him to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. He said if we hold on to our lives (of living in sin and for self) that we will lose them for eternity. But if we lose our lives for his sake (die with him to sin) then we have life in him (Lu 9:23-26).

Also, as followers of Jesus Christ, we are to be emulating him and we are to be surrendering our lives over to him and walking in obedience to him and allowing him to live his life out through us. So, our lives should reflect Jesus Christ. Again, this is not saying we will be absolutely perfect, but that lack of perfection is never to be used as an excuse for deliberate and habitual sin.

1 John 2:9-11 ESV

“Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever 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.”

The context appears to be speaking of a fellow follower of Jesus Christ, i.e., another sibling in the Lord who is following after the Lord and after his ways. We are not to despise, detest, denounce (accuse, censure, vilify), and/or renounce (discard, reject) another follower of Jesus Christ. We are not to persecute, oppress, harass, bully, and/or torment a fellow Christian.

Now, this is not saying that we can’t speak the truth in love to another Christian, or that we can’t exhort him, or rebuke or correct him if he is clearly in the wrong, or that we can’t confront him with his deliberate and habitual sin in order to bring him back to the Lord and to restore him.

But this should be done properly with female to female and male to male unless someone else is present, or unless it is one’s own spouse, for the safety and protection of all concerned. And this should be done biblically, too, following the guidelines laid out for us in Scripture.

But backing up a bit, we are not to deliberately sin against a fellow follower of Jesus or to be deliberately mean and hateful or to be back biting or resentful, bitter, and unforgiving. We are to love all people but especially those of the family of God who are true servants of the Lord.

For, if we make it our practice to be hating other followers of Jesus who are walking in obedience to the Lord, then according to Scripture, we are still in the darkness. But if we are loving our fellow Christians with God-like love which prefers what God prefers, and which walks in holiness and in righteousness and which does not deliberately sin against them, then we are abiding in the light.

Therefore, it is not enough to say that we love Jesus or that we believe in him, but we must walk in that love, and we must forsake our sins to follow our Lord in obedience, and we must love those who love the Lord with the love of God and not treat them with hate, and we must no longer walk in sin, making it our practice, but righteousness must be what we practice.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 3:4-10]

Have Thine Own Way, Lord

Words by Adelaide A. Pollard, 1907
Music by George C. Stebbins, 1907

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine!

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway.
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me!

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