CHRIST IS THE ONLY SOURCE OF TRUE OBEDIENCE
Today’s Scripture: “No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.” 1 John 3:6, ESV
Theme: When we disregard God’s commands and keep on sinning, we have either forgotten or never knew His love and holiness.
AM I REALLY SAVED?
When I read 1 John 3:6 I feel scared. Is it saying that although I have trusted in Jesus as my Savior I might not really be saved because I keep committing sins? What is the truth? When reading a confusing or scary verse I have learned to read several verses above and below, and sometimes the whole chapter for clarity. Reading a single verse in isolation can result in unnecessary confusion, fear and misunderstanding. Reading within the context of the Bible’s gospel story can bring not only clarity to a single verse but can be a means to truth and wisdom, helping me to live out the gospel in obedience to God.
SALVATION IS NOT LOST
Fortunately, today’s scripture does not say that when I commit a sin or multiple sins that I am not a Christian or no longer in Christ. Jesus taught his disciples to pray “Give us our DAILY bread AND forgive us our debts” (Matthew 6:11-12, ESV). Jesus knew sin would be a present daily battle in true believers’ lives because of our remaining sin nature. “If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth” (1 John 1:8, NLT). Then immediately in the following verse we are given a promise; “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness “(I John1:9, NIV). This is abiding in Christ.
1 John 3:6 is a warning to anyone who claims to be a believer and follower of Christ yet gives no thought to sins in their lives and has no felt need to repent, change, or grow in obedience. They may actually be very religious on the outside (think Pharisee) justifying themselves by the rules they do obey and dismissing those they don’t.
Paul demonstrated the life of a mature believer abiding in Christ. He desperately desired in his heart to do good, yet he was aware of his failures. That led him to repentance and grateful joy in Christ who rescues him (Romans 7:14-25). The person who is not abiding in Christ has no love of God’s law, does not lament sin and has no joy in salvation. It’s a matter of the heart.
LOVE IS THE ANSWER
Abiding in God’s love which is Jesus Himself is how we make progress toward holiness. Paul writes “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me” (Philippians 3:12, ESV).
I like connecting the dots this way:
“Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” (Luke 7:47, ESV)
“We love because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19, ESV)
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15, ESV)
Our growing awareness of sin and God’s love demonstrated on the cross motivates us to love him back giving us a heart of obedience. When we fail, that same love creates sorrow and repentance. It’s a lifestyle of repentance from sin and belief in the gospel. We are then abiding in and knowing Jesus more and more. There are 2 ways to not abide in Jesus. One is to ignore His law living anyway you want; the other is to ignore his grace by being as good as you can, as if you don’t need Him.
The life that abides in Christ knows they are deeply flawed and deeply loved at the same time producing obedience that comes from being loved like that – and you are!
Make It Personal: Review the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:21-23 or 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 on love. Consider just one. Ask yourself: Am I more patient today than I was a year ago or 10 years ago? Even just a little bit of change is evidence that you are abiding in Christ.
Pray: Help me to see my sin without excuse. Help me to see the beauty of Jesus’ sacrifice until my heart is full of joy, overflowing in love for You and those around me each day. Jesus you are so much more than an example of how to live. You are my Savior who rescues me. May that truth delight my heart freeing me to obey your commands.
Read: 1 Corinthians 13:1-7; Ephesians 5: 1-2; Romans 6:1-4, 15-18
Weekly Memory Verse: “No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.” 1 John 3:6, ESV