The Second Mark of a Christian

Description

Every mark of a Christian shares this characteristic: progress.

Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil—1 John 3:4-8.

To obey faithfully, I must progress in righteousness. Every mark of a Christian shares this characteristic: progress. There might be some dips; there might be some bad seasons; but when you take it over time, it’s going up. That’s the life of a Christian. If you don’t have a growing pattern of righteousness, you’ve got to ask some honest questions.

“Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness, sin is lawlessness” (v.4). A complete and total disregard for what is right is the pattern in the life of a non-believer. Everyone whose life is the repetition of lawlessness, whether it’s unchecked jealousy, persistent lust, or repeated sins, is not living the life of a Christian. A pattern of sin is a life of sin.

Christ came to set us free from sin. All of His children have a growing pattern of freedom. “And you know that he appeared to take away sin, and in him there is no sin” (v.5). So let’s just get back to basics here. You know He appeared to take away sin, right? That’s why He came—just to take away sin. So if you’re claiming to be a Christian and sin is persistent in you, it’s time for a reality check! John is so on the bull’s-eye in verse 6: “No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.” If you’re not progressing or increasing in righteousness—but John’s not pounding you about it. He’s not like, “Get it!” You can almost hear the intense tone of his love. He’s just like, “Little children, let no one deceive you.” Stop kidding yourself. If there’s a growing pattern of sinfulness in your life, you’re not a Christian.

“Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous” (v.7). Christ’s imputed righteousness leads to practical righteousness. Is this your testimony? “Every time I sin I feel so miserable. Other people can do these things and not think anything of it. But me? I feel so guilty and so awful. I just can’t keep doing these things.” You feel this way because you’re saved. That’s a good sign. So to obey faithfully, I must be progressing.

Journal:

  • What areas of my life might God be urging me to realize patterns of sin that need to be reversed under His power?

  • When was the last time I asked God to sift my life for stuff that shouldn’t be there?

Prayer – Heavenly Father, I know Satan can whisper that my life is full of patterns of sin that invalidate all You are doing in me. Keep me from listening to the lies and focus my attention on Your Spirit’s persistent guidance to correct error and repent from sin. I realize any thought of giving up comes from the liar and not from You. Lead me in paths of righteousness for Your name’s sake, more and more each day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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