“You know that He appeared so that He might take away our sins. And in Him is no sin. No one who lives in Him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen Him or known Him.” 1 John 3:5-6
If you are in biblical community, it is likely at some point that you may be faced with confronting a brother or sister in their sin. There is one thing I can guarantee – it will not be fun. When our hearts are right, however, God can use these circumstances to draw everyone involved closer to His heart. These verses in 1 John are a great foundation for why we sometimes have to hold one another accountable. When explaining to believers in his time why Christ followers don’t continue in sin, John reminds them (and us) why that is true. It’s not because Christians are immune to temptation. It’s not even that Christians don’t sometimes want to sin. The truth is, the struggle against sin will be present as long as we live in these earthly, fallen bodies.
The reminder John gives is this: “You know that He (Jesus) appeared so that He might take away our sins.” Well…duh…why didn’t I think of that? What an obvious, yet brilliant, connection! Christians don’t continue in a lifestyle of sin because that would negate the whole reason Jesus came and died for our sins to begin with. He came to defeat sin…to take our punishment of death and then to rise again. Have you ever wondered how the resurrection impacts your daily life? Christ’s death made forgiveness possible. The resurrection, however, makes new life possible.
Have you ever seen someone baptized and heard the pastor say, “Buried with Christ in baptism, and raised to walk in newness of life?” When Christ saves us, it is not merely forgiveness of our sins. It is forgiveness of sins and the gift of a new life. This new life isn’t like the old one. It is a life that desires to know Christ and to obey Him. The Holy Spirit is placed within every follower of Christ so that a continual lifestyle of sin is no longer possible. The Spirit convicts and guides us in our pursuit of Christ.
Believers often talk of our salvation from sin and its consequences. We talk of salvation from the wrath of God and from hell. How often, however, do we speak of salvation from sin now…in this fallen world…in this fleshly and weak body…in this brief yet difficult life? The Gospel should permeate our days, not just our eternities. No one who is a follower of Christ can keep on sinning – that is what Scripture teaches. This new life in Christ is a process. Sin will still be present; but it won’t dominate. Satan will still tempt; but he no longer imprisons. The flesh still battles; but it no longer rules.
The life Christ rose to give us is beautiful. He takes broken, scarred prisoners of sin and sets us free. Sin, therefore, will no longer be a way of life.
Father, I am humbled and in awe of Your salvation. Thank You for setting me free. Help me to remember why Jesus came…to take away my sin. May my life be a living testimony of the empty tomb! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.