I John 3:4 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that he [Jesus] appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.
Excerpted from God’s Deliberate Sacrifice
first Posted on September 29, 2019
“…the Jew was always quite clear, when thinking at his highest, that the sins for which sacrifice could atone were sins of ignorance. The deliberate sin did not find its atonement in sacrifice.” William Barclay
None of the diligent and and rigid rules of sacrifice had the power to deal with the full capacity of a broken human being to choose to sin on purpose. Jesus was appointed by God to represent the people in matters related to God in place of those sacrifices. He became God’s deliberate Sacrifice that could remove the deliberate guilt of all sin when He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.
I John 3:1 Behold, what love the Father has given to us, that we should be called the sons of God! For this reason, this world does not know you: because it does not know Him. 2 Dearly beloved, we are now the sons of God. But what we shall be is yet to be revealed. And we know that when He shall be revealed, we shall be like Him. For we shall see Him as He is. RGT [Revised Geneva Translationa]
You may remember a simple chorus sung as a round based on these specific words of I John 3:1. You may still mentally hear the music. If it’s unfamiliar take a minute to listen here. It’s a very basic two-sentence structure that repeats and overlaps as each side sings their part to complete the Word to the other.
Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us,
Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us,
That we should be called the sons of God,
That we should be called the sons of God.
Reading those words triggered the memory of the music that goes with them. The testimony of truth is when music and the Word are combined, the two halves of the human brain are uniquely engaged in a lasting way. Behold! Reading Words on a page has the power to stimulate the music of our memory and remind our heart that the Father has given His love is to His children [of any age] for this purpose: our hope “that when He shall be revealed, we shall be like Him. For we shall see Him as He is.”
aThe Geneva Bible is specifically designed to be SPOKEN and HEARD, repeatedly, and is built on the premise that a crucial key to revival in the present can be found in one simple practice from the past—speaking God’s Word back to each other in community.
1 John 3:1 Consider the incredible love that the Father has shown us in allowing us to be called “children of God”—and that is not just what we are called, but what we are. Our heredity on the Godward side is no mere figure of speech—which explains why the world will no more recognize us than it recognized Christ.
2 Oh, dear children of mine (forgive the affection of an old man!), have you realized it? Here and now we are God’s children. We don’t know what we shall become in the future. We only know that, if reality were to break through, we should reflect his likeness, for we should see him as he really is!
3 Everyone who has at heart a hope like that keeps himself pure, for he knows how pure Christ is. J.B. Phillips New Testament
I John 2:18 Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. 20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.[Some manuscripts you know everything] 21 I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. 24 Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that he made to us[Some manuscripts you]—eternal life. ESV
Right from the beginning of this passage there are two hard truths to think about and accept. They are the Apostle’s warning: “it is the last hour” and “many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.” There is a toxic residue in real life because of the truth of those two statements even though they were written so long ago. It would all be so depressing if it weren’t for Verse 20 “But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.[Some manuscripts you know everything]. That has become the catalyst for my thoughts this morning.
We are exhorted to “Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father.” We all know one “canned” answer of faith is “it’s not WHAT you know but WHO you know.” This warning is for me [and you]. It’s dangerous to count on what I think I know for my salvation even when I’m willing to acknowledge the many things I don’t know.
In the midst of the circumstances of life filled with that toxic residue of those first two hard statements WHAT I know about WHO I know is very important but even that will not save me. I am surely saved by faith, but not my own. There is a reality that overcomes toxic circumstances to make joy possible in this physical life. It’s also the unbreakable thread of truth that ties me to eternity.
I am simply saved because of Christ’s faith…in me.
1 John 2:13 I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, children, because you know the Father. 14 I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one. 15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life[a]—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
Faith is the catch 22! It’s not our faith in God that strengthens us – it’s our awareness of God’s faith in Himself and His own creation AND His own faithfulness to what He’s already done. God created this world. He has never relinquished control of His operational plan for it, nor abdicated His responsibility to the people who inhabit it. God’s own faith in what He has already done IS His will for us. His “will” for broken people in a broken world is that His faith, not ours, will enable us to learn to live “completely in this world” recognizing Him “unreservedly in life’s duties, problems, successes and failures.a”
a “I discovered later, and I’m still discovering right up to this moment, that is it only by living completely in this world that one learns to have faith. By this-worldliness I mean living unreservedly in life’s duties, problems, successes and failures. In so doing we throw ourselves completely into the arms of God, taking seriously, not our own sufferings, but those of God in the world. That, I think, is faith.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer
I John 2:1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
– Jesus Christ, the righteous, is God’s satisfaction [propitiation] of His wrath against our sin
– By this one truth we are assured we have come to know the Father.
– By this simple assurance we may also know that we are “in Jesus.”
– When we are “in Him” the love of God is perfected “in us.”
I John 1:5 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. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 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. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
To show or demonstrate plainly; reveal. Clearly apparent to the sight or understanding; obvious. Evident to the senses, especially to the sight; apparent; distinctly perceived, prove or make something clear.
Practicing truth requires an understanding of the purpose of light. On the very first day of His creative masterpiece God said, “Let there be light, and there was light.” He knew it was light that would separate night from day. In the beginning that was the truth. God began with light and then He practiced His own truth and life came into being. Jesus was practicing truth when He spoke to us, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Paul was practicing truth when he wrote “when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light.
It took me a beat to catch the incredible truth pulled out of Paul’s Word. What might have seemed too simple to catch became very personal. Light is not a reflection of anyone else’s intellect or truth. We’ve been given all the visible signs of light around and in truth we ARE light. That’s truth that takes a lot of practice to become personal experience. I wonder if the reason so many of us do our Bible study early in the morning is because intuitively we understand daybreak is a perfect object lesson. Those early hours are when we clearly see the difference between artificial light and “real” light. We are in fellowship with God as we see light come to life before our own eyes and experience practicing truth that really does overcomes darkness.
1 John 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We write this to make our[your] joy complete. NIV
Forest Gump said “life is like a box of chocolates.” I say life is like an Oreo cookie. Life’s days and experiences are like the two pieces of cookie that surround the best part – that sweet center. Have you noticed how carefully Oreos are packaged to protect them between production and consumption? Have you noticed that even when the cookie has crumbled, the cream in the center can still hold the cookie together?
Have you thought about how carefully protected your life has been because of God’s faith in all your days and experiences that you would finally taste His goodness? Have you noticed in your life of faith that your brokenness doesn’t have to separate you from the sweetness of His faithfulness to you? An Oreo cookie has become a sweet lesson about the center God has provided to protect us through all our days and experiences from His production to our consumption. Jesus is that “which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life .”
Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one
who takes refuge in him. Psalm 34:8 NIV