Often as Christians we’re discouraged by sin in our lives. We’ve come to faith in Jesus, we’ve received the gift of the Holy Spirit and we want to life lives that honour God.
And yet we still lose our temper, still succumb to sexual sin, still covet our neighbour’s donkey or BMW, still tell lies, still steal lustful looks, still gossip at work, and still think racist thoughts. We continue to sin.
We may be overcome with a sense of failure and disappointment.
We may lose our assurance that we belong to God.
We are generally tempted in two ways when we sin:
Either to throw in the towel and stop fighting against sin, “I’m a terrible Christian anyway, what’s the point?”
Or we’re tempted to believe those promising a better, more victorious version of Christianity.
The Apostle John wrote the letter of 1 John to assure his readers that they were children of God because they abide in Jesus, despite their struggle with sin. Indeed, the struggle (more like war!) with sin is part of the normal Christian life.
Are you continually struggling with and harassed by sin?
Welcome to the Christian life.
Don’t throw in the towel.
Don’t be deceived by those promoting a more spiritual, victorious brand of Christianity.
Children of God
Notice the first few words of 1 John 2:28
And now, little children (Christians), abide in him…
The “now” that John speaks about refers back to v18 where he said that we are living in the “last hour”, the final era of history as we know it. We must make sure that we are abiding and remaining in Jesus.
We’re not to be led astray be those wanting to mislead us, but continue to believe the gospel the Apostles proclaimed (that we find in our Bibles).
If we abide in Christ, what is true of us?
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. (1 John 3:1)
We are children of God! Fact.
As Christians, we may be struggling with sin, but we can know that we are children of God.
How have we become children of God?
Out of his great love (not because of our good deeds or religious observances), God the Father (3:1) gave Jesus to be the propitiation for our sins (2:2) so that our sins may be forgiven and we could be adopted into God’s family.
Not what we will be
Not only are we children of God, but we are not yet what we will be
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:2)
This verse is referring to the second appearing of Jesus. Jesus said he that will appear for a second time when he physically returns to the world on the clouds of heaven in the Father’s glory. Not as a baby, but as he truly is – God’s reigning King.
God will save those who abide in Jesus and then we will be like Jesus i.e. without sin.
We are not without sin now – we struggle with sin now – but then we will be without sin.
Dear Christian, don’t expect to be sinless now.
Remember what John said about sin in 1 John 1:
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (1:8)
Sin remains an issue for the Christian because, although we are Children of God, we are not yet what we will be.
However, when we do sin our response to that sin is not to abide or remain in sin, but:
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1:9)
Christians confess and turn from sin, knowing that Jesus died for their sins to be forgiven.
Don’t be deceived by those promoting a better, more spiritual, brand of Christianity that promises complete victory over sin – it’s not possible.
Hate sin. Fight sin. Struggle with sin. Confess sin. Kill sin.