Monday, November 17, 2008

1st john and outsourcing

Saturday morning I was reading the first couple of chapters of 1 John. This letter is amazing in a number of ways. Heard of comfort food? Well, 1 John is my comfort Scripture. When I read it, it calms me down. I feel peaceful. It seems the love of John, which is from Christ, just radiates from the pages and engulfs me.

Engulfed in a sort of bubble of love, I’m thinking to myself as I read, “Yeah that’s nice; gimmee more; ahhh...thank you Jesus." If I'm outside this love bubble and read the verses carefully, I start to wonder if I am really saved. Check out these verses:

Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him (2:4).

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 (3:9).

We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him (3:14-15).

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love (4:8).

This may or may not surprise you, but I don't always obey God. I don't always love people. Sometimes I don’t really like any people at all; many times I don’t like just some people. When I read the above verses while in the love bubble, I feel great. Pop the bubble and it is “oh-oh” time.

John also exhorts us to “practice righteousness" (3:7;10). Yeah, right. With my flesh? Get real. Telling me that seems a lot like exhorting an insomniac to get plenty of sleep.

After complaining to God about this, I then realized that 1 John also shows me how to practice righteousness: remove unrighteousness!

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1:9).

Now this is practical. I can be real with this.

I just need to outsource my righteousness to Jesus!

That works for me.

Be blessed!

Note: All Scripture references are to the English Standard Version (ESV).

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