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You like the idea of there being a God who is above it all, there is comfort in this idea. You especially like the idea of Him loving everybody and being gracious. We all know we are not perfect, all of us can use some grace, that’s for sure.

But there is a place in our personal awareness where we can deceive ourselves. That comfort we draw from knowing God is love can become a means of excusing the reality of sin in our lives, a cloak to cover what we know to be a problem. John pulls away the covers in his first letter.

1John 3:7-10  “Little children, let no one deceive you: The one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as Jesus is righteous. 8 The one who practices sin is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was revealed: to destroy the works of the devil. 9 Everyone who has been fathered by God does not practice sin, because God's seed resides in him, and thus he is not able to sin, because he has been fathered by God. 10 By this the children of God and the children of the devil are revealed: Everyone who does not practice righteousness — the one who does not love his fellow Christian — is not of God.” – New English Translation (NET)

In John’s first letter, he lays out several tests to help us know who the believers are, such as “Do we love like God loves, or do you hate.” Here, John tells us the sin in our lives is also a critical test of the genuineness of our faith toward God. The English translations do not do justice to the original Greek which speaks of “not having a lifestyle or habit of sin,” rather than not ever sinning. We all sin, if we say otherwise, we are lying to ourselves John tells us in chapter one. (1 John 1:8-9) But God will forgive those who come confessing and seek God in repentance. In chapter three though, John is speaking of someone who is claiming to be a Christian, but is continuing to live a lifestyle of sin, it is their habit of life. These folks occasionally feel a twinge of guilt for their lifestyle, but there is no genuine repentance, no turning away from sin. John says this person, well, they are deceiving themselves about where they stand with God.

Where are you really? Is there sin in your life you struggle against, or is there no struggle at all – it is instead a lifestyle or regular habit? Is God more important to you than anything else, or is He simply one more thing you have added in along with everything else? John’s words stand as a warning to us about deceiving ourselves. No matter what you have done, God will forgive and restore those who come to Him in repentance. But, God does not deliver us so we can remain in sin.