April 13, 2018

1 John 3:4-7…“No one who abides in him sins; no one who sins has either seen him or known him.” vs. 6

Those who earnestly try to live by scriptural teachings can get tied in knots by what seem to be contrary messages. On the one hand we are told that all are sinners, and if we say we have no sin, we are liars. But the same writer then turns around and tells us that no one who abides in the Christ sins…and if we sin, it’s a sign that we don’t know him. And so we wonder, is it really true that people can live without sinning? There are some who say that it is, and they spend their lives trying to live holy and pure lives. It’s not a happy existence. Either they put on a pious, hypocritical front by claiming to have conquered sin, or they live in honest despair, unable to feel secure in their relationship with God. This was Martin Luther’s dilemma and he was tormented until he realized that he had been made righteous by God’s grace and that it was impossible to become righteous by our own efforts. We remain sinners until the day that we die, but, we live joyful lives because God has forgiven all of our sin! So it is true that no one who abides in Christ sins; they’ve been made righteous by grace and righteous people do righteous things. But it is also true that we will not be perfect–after all we remain sinners. It’s a peculiar paradoxical way to live, and it’s all a gift!

Thought for the Day: What righteous things do I do?