Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Friday, 16 October 20:
Note: Here is a short video summary of 1-3 John: https://thebibleproject.com/explore/1-3-john/
1 John 1: 5-10 — “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”
The mark of the Christian life is striving for holiness while trusting in grace. Christians never take sin lightly, but neither do they minimalize the purifying work of Jesus. (Hebrews 9:14) The Christian’s motivation for holiness and purity isn’t self-righteousness or the worldly benefits of good living but rather fellowship with Him (see John 17:3), and fellowship with Him naturally produces fellowship with others who are earnestly seeking Him in loving obedience.
“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves….” A self-righteous Christian is an oxymoron. So is an unrepentant Christian or one consumed in unresolved guilt – “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” The Christian life naturally produces fruit in keeping with repentance – ” Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.” (Matthew 3:8) The fruit comes naturally from being connected to the source of Life and all good things (John 14:6 and James 1:17), Jesus – “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) So, what is this fruit? “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Galatians 5:22, 23) These attributes are impossible apart from Christ, but also require our effort – “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27) Yet, even the fruitful branch requires continual pruning by God – “Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”
“If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” The truth is in Christ our hearts have been cleansed from an evil conscience, and the blood of Christ “will” continue to purify our consciences from dead works, but we must also “practice the truth” by striving to maintain a clear conscience before God and man. This is a resting in God’s grace while simultaneously working out God’s grace in our lives to His glory – active rest in continual joy. Only God can produce fruit, but he created us to cultivate it.
- 1 Timothy 1:5 — The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
- Hebrews 10:22 — Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
- Hebrews 9:14 — How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
- Acts 24:16 — So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man.
- Hebrews 13:18 — Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things.
- Proverbs 4:18 — But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 16 October 20: Pursue righteousness while walking confidently in grace. Walk in mutually supportive relationships with others who are headed where you are headed, closer to Jesus, and notice how much closer you get with each other along the way.