“Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.” (1Jn 3:4, ESV) It is funny how passionate YHWH is in the scriptures, to inform us of our lawlessness. It is because, YHWH makes it a point that we understand – Christ came to free us from the slavery of sin. And I suppose, the next verse makes this very clear. “You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.” (v5) And rightfully so, to the ones who are guilty of their lawless – these words will be honey. But to the ones who holds no such conviction of their sins – these words will be sour. So, in one sense it might seem funny or perhaps even overbearing, when we find the scripture repeatedly telling us of our sins. But if Christ is truly whom you desire this season, these words will remain sweet.
Further down the verse, the Apostle John mince no words. He makes sure he makes no mistake, that his readers may not make any mistake, in understanding their spiritual status. I quote: “No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.” (v6) If we believe we are of Christ, it is impossible that we can still persist in old sins. In other words, there are no habitual sins that a Christian relishes in. Why? John rationalizes: “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God.” (v9) But then again, isn’t that all of us? Or perhaps, most of us? I have reason to believe so. Because the scripture says, we are born in sin. And that is our natural condition. But the good news is this. In that same passage, John states: “(but) The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” (v8)
Piper notes: “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin… (in other words) Jesus came into the world to help us stop sinning.” (pg. 50) To further paraphrase, (Piper’s paraphrase of the said scripture is this): the purpose of Christ’s birth was/is to put us out of the business of sinning. And perhaps, in short – that is the purpose of Christmas. Christ came, to save us not just from our old sin, but (also) from the present and the future sin. (1Jn 2:1) I know, old habits die hard. But we shouldn’t forget what Christ said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Mt 19:26, ESV)
Note: All of Piper’s quotations are from “Good News of Great Joy”
Read previous entries in this Series:
(i) Introduction: What Christ wants this Christmas (ii) December 1: Prepare the Way (iii) December 2: Mary’s Magnificent God (iv) December 3: The Confidence of Redeeming Hope (v) December 4: A Big God for Little People (vi) December 5: What He Willed to do (vii) December 6: Peace to those with whom He is pleased (viii) December 7: Messiah of all (ix) December 8: Christ is Central in Christmas(x) December 9: Two Kinds of Oppositions (xi) December 10: Our Treasure (xii) December 11: Why Jesus came (xiii) December 12: Replacing the Shadows (xiv) December 13: Christ, the Real Thing, the Perfect Priest (xv) December 14: Making Transformation Real (xvi) December 15: Abundant Life (xvii) December 16: An Unlikely Route to Victory (xviii) December 17: Freedom & Joy Secured in Him (xix) December 18: Pass Me Not (xx) December 19: Overcoming the Power of Death (xxi) December 20: Salvation Unites Us (xxii) December 21: LOGOS (xxiii) December 22: The Importance of Awe (xxiv) December 23: Secured from False Preachers