February 19. 1 John 3:1-10
Hello dear friend and happy Friday! I hope your time in the Word this past week has been rich. Remember, as you head into the weekend, to make a plan so that you don't miss your time with the Lord!
We are now in the heart of this letter to the churches that John wrote. I love reading the verses that deal with the honor we have to be God's children. Let's talk about that first. The NIV translation of 1 John 3:1a reads, "See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! ..." That word, "lavish" is such a rich word, isn't it? Lavish calls up pictures in my mind of abundance, overflow and waaaay more than necessary! It's over the top extravagance. That's a description of God's great love. It's lavish, extravagant and over the top amazing. To be given the honored position of a child in God's royal family is astounding. As John the Baptist said, we are not even worthy to untie the sandals of our Lord Jesus, and here He is delighting to welcome us as sons and daughters. This truth should make us want so much to live pure lives, reflecting well on our Heavenly Father in all we do!
The next part of this section can be scary if it's not read correctly. In some translations, it seems to indicate that if we sin (and who doesn't????) then we are not Christians. Yikes! However, let's think about that for a moment. John just said, earlier in his letter, that anyone who says they haven't sinned is a liar. And, he showed us in 1 John 1:9 the remedy for sin, which is confession and repentance. So, what does it mean then, if it doesn't mean we can't ever sin once we accept Christ?
This portion of the letter is penned out of John's anguish at the false teachers and false believers who have entered and infiltrated the churches. If someone says they are a Christian and continually, without a repentant heart, breaks God's laws over and over, they really are not believers, are they? Christians fail and fail often. But they don't walk around stealing and murdering people and committing adultery without guilt or shame. They just don't. When we sin, even if initially we try to hide it, we eventually are made so uncomfortable by our living a life in contradiction to what would please our Father, that we confess it and repent. Right? John is helping these church people see that there are wolves in sheep's clothing among them, using the church for their own means but having no heart to love the Lord and want to please Him! We don't have to be perfect. We do need to be humble and admit that we are sinners that need a Savior and we do have to have hearts that at least want and strive to do what pleases the Lord.
I hope that makes sense to you. I am not a theologian and I have no seminary training. But that's how I understand it. Please check with your pastor or elders or wiser folk than me for more help if this passage is troublesome to you. My firm belief is that even when I can't completely understand everything, God still wrote this Bible for little me, and I will be blessed by studying and pondering it, trusting Him to enlighten me where I need it! So, here's what He showed me as I read this passage:
My verse: 1 John 2b-3. " ... But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure."
My response: Lord, give me this kind of heart! I want to always have that eager expectation for the Day when I will see You as You really are! No filter. No veil. No misunderstanding. You. Give me an "I can't wait" heart to be clothed in righteousness along with Your church, Your bride, eagerly expecting the arrival of our Bridegroom. Keep my heart yearning for You, dear Lord. Longing to see You come again and reign.