Sunday, June 24, 2012

1st John Chapter 3 Part 5

3:6-7 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous, cont.
Notice the point Jesus made in John chapter 15. There is a vast difference between abiding in Him and failing to do so. If you abide in Christ you will have spiritual victory; you will bear spiritual fruit as the Son brings to bear more of His likeness through you and your will, conduct and goals become more aligned with God’s. The key is abiding in Him. The Christian who fails to bear any fruit is the Christian who fails to submit to Jesus’ will for you. In His own words you can do nothing of permanent, spiritual value apart from Him. If your life is one of defeat after defeat this may be exactly why.

 Now we easily see why John writes that whoever abides in Jesus does not sin. The spiritual Christian, the sanctified Christian abiding in Christ is one concerned with his Lord’s interests, and like a good steward is tending his Master’s business and is not becoming embroiled in worldly affairs, 2nd Timothy 2:4. The NKJV renders the middle portion of verse 6 as “does not sin.” I make note of this merely to point out that John doesn’t say such a Christian cannot transgress into sin; to say otherwise would be to openly contradict the very epistle we’re reading, 1st John 1:8, 10. Clearly Christians can and do sin, Matthew 18:15. But when we abide in Christ, as Jesus commanded us to do, we do not sin. Sin is the very thing that severs the fellowship an abiding Christian enjoys.

The latter portion of verse 6 flows directly into verse 7 when we read that whoever sins has not seen Jesus and does not know Him; the apostle urges his little children not to be deceived by mere confession. He who does righteousness is righteous, just as Jesus is righteous. The Greek verb in the KJV for “doeth” is “poieo” and means “to make, to do” and is used in the bringing forth of fruit, such as in Matthew 3:8. The NKJV renders the word “practices” and herein is our clue. Abiding in Christ for fellowship, bearing fruit and having spiritual power is a practiced thing. This, I believe is the concept behind the latter portion of verse 6. John warns that those who sin have never seen or known Jesus. I believe he means those who name themselves Christians by confession but habitually practice sin without remorse or repentance. Numerous warnings are given regarding such men, 2nd Timothy 3:2-5; Jude 1:4, etc. Remember how he begins verse 7 by warning young Christians not to be deceived, but to judge the confession by its proceeding fruit-bearing. Jesus warns of the same, Matthew 7:20.

John then contrasts the Christian that practices righteousness (NKJV) with their Lord. Just as Jesus Himself is righteous, so are those who abide in Him. Again in the NKJV we find the translation “he who practices righteousness is righteous,” verse 7. He whose life is conformed to reflect Christ’s beauty on this earth will manifest a righteousness that is not like the artificial righteousness manufactured by religion. Jesus was concerned with His Father’s will and compassionate with all who needed Him; His entire demeanor was altogether selfless. Religion breeds selfishness, though not everyone who practices religion is selfish. But the focus, even in Christianized religion, is more on self than on God. As we progress in spiritual maturity the goal would be to enter into a relationship with the Lord that concentrates less on how others perceive us or how God is keeping a score card of our good and bad moments, and more about finding joy in performing His will.

Matthew 7:20 tells us that by their fruits you shall know them. A confessing Christian filled with head knowledge may well be saved by faith in Christ; but it is the fruit of a new life that God wants to visit us with. He wants us to fish for men, to seek the lost, to live a life yielded to Him that He may be glorified in us, just as He was in His Son. The more we abide in Jesus, the more we have opportunity to glorify the Father. A lifestyle of habitual, wanton sin is a key sign, according to the apostle, that new life has never entered us by virtue of the Holy Spirit.

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