Sunday, February 26, 2017, 10:06 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Seek the Lord.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 1 John 2 (NASB).
If Anyone Sins (vv. 1-2)
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.
What is the goal of our faith? Well, for one, it is that we would be delivered out of slavery to sin, that sin would no longer have mastery over our lives, but that we would now be able to walk in freedom and in Christ’s holiness and righteousness. When we were under slavery to sin, we were free from the control of righteousness (See: Ro. 6:1-23). But, now that Christ has set us free, we can now walk in the Spirit and no longer according to our sinful flesh, via the power of God’s Holy Spirit now living within us. We can now say “NO” to sin. We can resist Satan, and flee evil desires, and we can draw near to God in full assurance of faith because Jesus set us free! Amen!
So many people have this idea that the goal of our faith is merely that we escape condemnation (eternity in hell), and that we have the hope and promise of heaven when we die. But, they are missing the whole purpose for why Jesus gave his life up for us. Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, not just that we would be forgiven of our sins, and certainly not to give us carte blanche (free reign) to continue in willful sin against God. He does not demand sinless perfection of us once we put our trust in him, obviously, and his blood still covers our sins, so we are not condemned if we do sin, but if we still walk in sin (live sinful lifestyles) after we make a profession of faith in Christ, then the Bible says we are liars if we claim to have fellowship with God, i.e. if we claim to be in relationship with him. The goal of our faith is death to sin and living to HIS righteousness.
As He Walked (vv. 3-6)
By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.
Now, this seems like a tall order and, perhaps, something bordering on legalism or a push towards works-based salvation, if not understood correctly. Yet, if we could be saved by keeping the whole law, then Jesus would not have had to die. But, we could not keep the law perfectly, and so he did die. But, we need to keep in mind here that he died that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk, not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit (See: Ro. 8:1-14).
He died to change us, in other words. He died to radically alter our lives, not to give us slightly cleaned up old lives. With him, it is out with the old, and in with the new. In Christ, we become new creatures in Christ Jesus. Even our faith in him is a gift of God, as is repentance and the ability to obey him and to walk in his truth. We just need to yield our lives over to him, and let him do his work.
So, if our faith is truly genuine God-given faith, and if Christ is living within us in the person of the Holy Spirit, and if the Spirit is transforming our hearts and making us more like Jesus, and if he is empowering and strengthening us to live holy and godly lives, then we will want to do what his Word says, and he will give us all we need to do it, too.
This is not saying we will obey perfectly, or that we will never sin again, but what it is saying is that genuine God-given faith results in a change of heart and mind away from living for sin and self, to God, and to walking in his truth and in his ways. Our lifestyles should now reflect Christ, and our actions should reveal that we are living lives committed to obedience to Christ and to his word. This is not to say that we will never falter, but that we are allowing the Spirit of God to change us, and that we are responding to his promptings and urgings. We are daily putting to death the deeds of the flesh, and daily we are putting on Christ and his love.
So, if we say that we love God or that we know God and yet we continue living how we want, doing what pleases us, without regard for God and for his word, then this says we are liars. And, a liar is a fraud, a fake, a pretender and one who knowingly tells things which are not true. But, if we live to please our Lord, and we have great regard for him and his Word, and we choose to follow what he says, empowered by his Spirit within us, then we do know him, and we do love him.
Jesus is our example for how we ought to live our lives. Too many people who call themselves Christians are following humans and their examples rather than following Christ. They are overly concerned with having people like them, rather than being concerned over whether or not God approves of them and their lifestyles. Too many have bought into a casual approach to our Christian faith which allows them to still walk in their sins and to live like the world so that the world will like them. And, so they make many compromises with the world in order to be accepted by the world. But, this is not what Jesus saved us for and it is not what he has called us to. He has called us to holiness, which means to be set apart from the world because we are being made into the likeness of Christ.
In Isaiah 55 there is an urgent call to come to or to return to the Lord and to be restored to a right relationship with God. God’s people, evidently, were complacent and settled in their worldliness and wickedness, like some professors of Christ may be today. So, God asks them why they waste their money and energies on what will never satisfy. He counsels them to come to him, and to receive his living water, i.e. the Spirit of God, welling up in them unto eternal life, or else to receive spiritual refreshment and renewal.
The call to the complacent church and to the world today is urgent, as well, because we never know if we have tomorrow. Everyone must turn from their sins, and turn to God via faith in Jesus Christ if they want to have eternal life with God in heaven. God’s word will be fulfilled. He will pardon their sins when they turn from their wickedness. They will experience his grace and mercy. Then he will restore them and will bless them with great spiritual blessings. The return to God will be accompanied by much joy and peace, and will produce much spiritual fruitfulness in their lives to the glory of God.
Seek the Lord / An Original Work / July 20, 2012
Based off Isaiah 55
“Come to Me all you who thirst; come to waters.
Listen to Me, and eat what’s good today,
And your soul will delight in richest of fare.
Give ear to Me, and you will live.
I have made an eternal covenant with you.
Wash in the blood of the Lamb.”
Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him.
Let the wicked forsake his way, in truth.
Let him turn to the Lord, and he will receive mercy.
Freely, God pardons him.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,”
declares the Lord, our God.
“My word that goes out of My mouth is truthful.
It will not return to Me unfulfilled.
My word will accomplish all that I desire,
And achieve the goal I intend.
You will go in joy, and be led forth in peace.
The mountains will burst into song… before you,
And all of the trees clap their hands.”