A Sinful Course

Thursday, August 6, 2015, 2:57 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Living Water.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 1 John 5 (Selected vv. NASB).

Observe His Commandments (vv. 1-3)

Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

When we read, “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God,” we have to understand that this is not speaking of mere intellectual acknowledgment. James, in the book of James, said that even the demons believe and they shudder. So, it is possible to believe with our minds intellectually, but not truly accept the reality of those truths into our lives experientially. If we read this passage in the context of the whole of 1 John we learn that if we say we have fellowship with God but we continue to (remain on a course to) walk (conduct our lives) in darkness (according to the passions of our sinful flesh), then we are liars. John also said that the way we know we have come to know God is if we keep his commandments. Now, we also know that we are not saved by keeping the law, because no one can keep the law perfectly, which is why Jesus Christ died for our sins, so that we could be saved by grace, through faith. Yet, scripture teaches that Jesus died that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us who walk not according to the flesh, but who walk (conduct our lives) according to the Spirit (See: Ro. 8:1-14).

So, what does this all mean? I believe that Jesus Christ and his NT apostles taught us what it means to believe in Jesus Christ. We can do nothing to earn or to deserve our own salvation. Only by God’s grace, through faith, can we be saved. Not one of us can keep the law with absolute perfection, which is why Jesus made a better way for us. Yet, faith in Jesus Christ is not freedom to continue in sin. We read in Romans 8 that if we continue to walk according to the flesh, we will die, but if by the Spirit we put to death the deeds of the flesh - i.e. we have to cooperate with the Spirit’s work - then we will live. Jesus said that if anyone would come after him, he must deny self, take up his cross daily (die daily to sin) and follow (obey) him. He said if we hold on to our old lives (of living in sin), we will die, but if we lose our lives (die with Christ to sin), we will live (Lu. 9:23-25).

Overcoming the World (v. 4)

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

True faith in Jesus Christ overcomes (conquers, defeats) the world (the flesh, Satan), but only because Jesus Christ already won that victory for us on the cross and through his resurrection. Through his death he put sin to death, and through his resurrection he conquered sin, death, hell and Satan. Yet, we must apply what he did to our lives experientially by faith, which is also a gift from God. We don’t overcome merely by praying a prayer to receive Christ. When we don’t know Jesus, we are under the power of Satan and sin. When we believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, we are delivered by God out of slavery to sin and we are given new lives to be lived in the Spirit in Christ’s righteousness and holiness. True faith in Christ means we die with Christ to sin so we can live with Christ to righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24; Ro. 6-8; Eph. 4:17-24, et al.).

Jesus died, not only that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, but that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave himself up for us. God’s grace, which brings salvation, teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return. So, true faith in Jesus Christ dies with Christ to sin and is resurrected with Christ to newness of life, and it does not continue (remain) on a course of conducting one’s life according to the flesh.

Yet, our enemy Satan is very clever. He does not want any of us to have eternal life with God in heaven, and he certainly does not want us to be free from his control. So, he devised a plan to put us to death, yet not through physical execution, in this case, but through deception. If he can get us to believe we are saved by trusting in a false gospel, which is unsupported by the teachings of Christ and those of his apostles, and which is not built on the foundation of Jesus Christ, but on a foundation which is useless, not secure and temporary (of man), then he has put us to death, because we are not really saved from our sins, but we have plunged (descended) to our deaths into something which is just a bunch of hot air. And, that is the belief that we can pray a prayer to receive Christ, and we have heaven guaranteed, but no heart transformation actually takes place, because there is no death to sin and no living to righteousness, because this belief teaches that God requires nothing of us at all, so those who follow this can just float through life going nowhere, pretending or even believing that they are cleansed of their sins, when they are not, so there is no overcoming the world, because they are still walking in darkness.

Life and Death (vv. 5-13)

Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? This is the One who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ; not with the water only, but with the water and with the blood. It is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement. If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater; for the testimony of God is this, that He has testified concerning His Son. The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son. And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.

These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.

Jesus Christ came by water and the blood. He definitely came to the earth through physical birth (water), and took upon himself human flesh, in order that he might be our perfect sacrificial Lamb offering to take away the sins of the world, and so he might be our sympathetic and merciful high priest, since he has suffered as we suffer, and was tempted in like manner as we are tempted, yet without sin. He also came by the way of the waters of baptism at which time he began his earthly ministry and he was declared to be the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. And, he came through his death which is when he shed his blood on the cross for our sins so that we could be set free from slavery to sin, and could be free to be slaves of Christ’s righteousness.

So, if we have the Son, we have life, but if we do not have the Son, we do not have life. So, how do we know if we have the Son? Well, we have to believe in Jesus Christ, that he died for our sins, and that through faith in him we can be delivered out of bondage to sin and that we can be given new lives in Christ Jesus, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24). We have to repent of our sins (turn from them), and turn to walk in obedience to our Lord, all in the power and working of the Spirit within us, as we cooperate with God’s work of grace in our lives. We can’t continue (remain) on a course of conducting our lives according to the flesh, but we must walk (conduct our lives) according to (in agreement with) the Spirit, meaning that by the Spirit we put to death the deeds of the flesh and we follow (obey) Jesus Christ with our lives. This does not mean we are instantly made perfect, though, but it should also mean that we do not use lack of perfection as an excuse for continued willful sin against God. If we sin, we repent, and we continue to walk in obedience to our Lord. We allow the Spirit to mature us, cleanse us, purify us from all unrighteousness, conform us to the image of Christ, and to make us holy.

God Keeps Him (vv. 18-21)

We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him. We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.

Little children, guard yourselves from idols.

When this says here that no one who is born of God sins, it sounds like this is speaking of sinless perfection, i.e. that true followers of Christ will never sin. Yet, the Greek verb seems to indicate that this is speaking of the act of continuing in sin, which John often speaks of throughout this letter, as did Paul. If we are truly born of God, we will not continue on a sinful course. We will not keep on sinning. We are not saved (past), then live our lives however we want, and then have the promise of heaven when we die. NT scripture teaches death to sin and living to righteousness, yet I don’t believe it teaches sinless perfection.

First of all, John said (as recorded in chapter 2) that he wrote this book that believers in Jesus might not sin, but if they did sin, he reminded them that they had an advocate with the Father, who is Jesus Christ, who was the appeasement for our sins. Secondly, all throughout the NT, Christians are encouraged to put off sin and to put on the righteousness of Jesus Christ, and to live their lives in a manner worthy of the calling they had received from God. We are being saved and our salvation won’t be complete until Jesus Christ returns. We are being made holy, and we are being conformed into the image of Christ, and we are instructed to “purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God” (2 Co. 7:1). So, we aren’t yet perfect.

Yet, the only way we are able to do any of this is in the power and working of the Spirit within us, and because of what Jesus did in dying for our sins and in being resurrected from the dead victorious over sin. By the Spirit we put to death the deeds of the flesh, and by the Spirit we are able to walk in agreement with the Spirit, as we surrender our will to the will of God, and submit ourselves to his ways and to his purposes for our lives, and as we resist Satan, flee temptation, and draw near to God. We must daily put on the armor of God so we can fight off Satan’s evil attacks against us, i.e. we must put on truth, righteousness, salvation, witnessing, the Word of God, prayer, and faith in contrast to Satan’s lies, tricks, and deceptions. We can’t overcome the world or cease from conducting our lives according to the flesh, though, if we are choosing to willfully give in to sin, thinking that salvation is license to continue in sin without punishment, guilt or remorse. We are to guard ourselves from idols, and follow the truth of God’s Word, for many have forsaken the Lord.

Living Water / An Original Work / November 21, 2013

Based off Various Scriptures

My people have forsaken Me,
Their Savior, who died on a tree;
Made idols, and they worshipped them;
So empty, they will ne’er fulfill.

Lord, You are the hope of Your chosen ones.
Those who turn away from You will be shamed;
The Spring of Living Water left behind.

Living Water satisfies.

The thirsty, let them come and drink;
Believe in Jesus as their King;
The gift of Jesus given them,
So they will never thirst again.

Indeed, the Living Water flows within.
It springs up like a fountain cleansing sin.
Eternal life in heaven promised them.

Living Water glorifies.

Oh people, won’t you come to Him?
Obey Him and repent of sin.
Let Jesus come and live within.
Surrender all your life to Him.

My people, won’t you turn your hearts to Me?
Forsake your idols and then you’ll be free.
Won’t you come now to Me on bended knee?

Living Water sanctifies.