Wednesday, May 30, 2012

1st John Chapter 3 Part 3

3:4-5 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.
The NKJV renders verse 4 as “whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.” John defines sin with a single word: lawlessness. Very simply it means “to act contrary to the law.” This implies that mankind is aware of the law but elects to act in a manner opposed to the law’s requirements.

This is easy for us in the United States to comprehend. When you are driving there are certain prescribed laws and limits that one must observe; these are not suggestions, they are injunctions enforced by our government with penalties for infractions. We cannot drive any speed we wish, or run red lights and stop signs with impunity. Or more plainly, we cannot do such things and expect that a proper penalty and judgment will not soon find us. We are then acting contrary to what the law commands. The result is to court a consequence that could relive us of money, our license, or our very freedom if the law broken is severe enough. In every day life we that living in the USA requires that we accept, as its citizens, the rules and laws that govern this nation so as to live a safe and fruitful life here.

We do not live outside of the law, no matter how inconvenient we may find it from time to time. We tend to adopt an attitude of hostility toward obeying laws when such laws curb our desires to do what we wish when we wish to. Yes those laws exist solely to protect ourselves and others from those very same desires, which can prove to be hurtful to us, and dangerous to everyone else, James 4:1-3.Solomon affirms that there is a time for everything under Heaven, Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. There is even a time to kill, verse 3. Moses’ law dictates that a thief who breaks in during the night might be killed by the householder without the householder being guilty of murder, Exodus 22:2. John the Baptist did not rebuke the soldiers when they came to him asking how they should live; instead he commanded them to conduct themselves honestly, Luke 3:14. There is then a time under Heaven when killing is not construed as murder.

Cain, the first murderer, is a classic example of a man carried away by his lusts and enticed, so that it brought forth death, Genesis 4:8; James 1:14-15. He was unwilling to slaughter a lamb as God commanded, but more than willing to kill his own brother in the field because of envy or jealousy, 1st John 3:12. When our government executes a condemned criminal for murder it is of itself not an evil act, for God commanded murderers to have their bloodshed for committing such a crime, Genesis 9:6. This is the foundation of government: their right and prerogative to execute malefactors; such teachings extend into the New Testament, Romans 13:4. Yet when a man in passion, wrath or malice kills another it is not justice, it is murder. He has transgressed God’s law.

Jesus was manifested (Greek phaneroo, which means to render apparent) to take away our sins. He was the Lamb of God, sent to take away the sin of the world (i.e. all mankind) John 1:29, 36. Jesus testified that when Satan was putting his plan into motion to do away with Him that there was no native sin in Jesus for Satan to make any claims on, John 14:30. The writer of Hebrews tells us that Jesus our Lord was “without sin,” Hebrews 2:18; 4:15; 7:26.He was manifested as the payment for man’s lawless deeds; He was manifested to destroy the old nature and its desires and grant us a new nature in His likeness, Colossians 3:10.

Paul amplifies this teaching in Romans when he declares: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned...But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life,” Romans 5:12, 15-18.

God erected the moral law within men’s hearts that we were supposed to obey; when man did not obey the injunction given we sinned: we fell short of the mark, Romans 3:23. God prescribes one penalty for sin: death. Lawlessness marks one as a rebel in the King’s dominion. Death in this case means separation. Physical death separates the soul from the body; spiritual death separates the sinner from God forever. Christ was manifested to bridge the impassable chasm between a holy God and sinful man. He alone is the way, John 14:6. Only through faith in Him may we enter into eternal life, John 5:24; Hebrews 11:6. In Jesus there is no sin. He is the equivalent of the lamb Jewish priests sacrificed on their altars to atone for their sins; an innocent substitute whose death God accepted in the stead of the guilty party. Here is our Rock and hope from our sinful nature and genuine separation from an offended God. To saints who transgress and fall into sin, Christ is ready to embrace you anew and cleanse you if you will only come to Him, 1st John 1:9; Luke 15:11-32.

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Ian, and great illustration of our relationship to the moral law.


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