Journal 1 John 2 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “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. He is the propitiation for our sins—and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
And by this we know that we have come to know him if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know Him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the Truth is not in him, but…whoever keeps His Word, in him truly the love of God is perfected.
By this we may know that we are in Him (Jesus): whoever says he abides in Him (Jesus) ought to walk in the same way in which He (Jesus) walked.” 1 Jn 2:1-6
Observation: Walking worthy of the Gospel—all the Apostles say the same thing. When I look in the mirror, I should be able to see (most times squinting) Jesus being formed in me.
Ask that question to the face in the mirror…
Analysis: My Sin or Love: which would I rather talk about? Shucks, is that even a serious question?
Here’s how this can be reasoned out: “Of course I sin; that is why Jesus died for me, so I am forgiven my sin. Jesus died for me because He loves me. Therefore, I am forgiven my sin and safe in His Love.” I am not an active participant in this, I passively accept His Grace and describe His Love. Who’s active? God is active (God’s Sovereignty). Who’s passive? I am passive (excepting for that ambiguous word “accept” which is probably translated better as “acknowledge” — Human Responsibility).
How do I deal with the subject of Sin? John didn’t forget the importance of Sin (walking, living in disobedience) from hanging around Jesus. (Clarity: I am not talking about Adam’s Sin in me (which that forgiveness comes from the Atonement); I am talking about the indwelling Sin that, despite being forgiven, still has to be worked out by pressing into obedience, i.e., walking worthy of the Gospel.
Jesus said this:
- “If you love me, you will keep my commandments…” John 14:15
- “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in His Love.” John 15:10
- Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” John 14:21
Jesus also said this about the great commission: “…teaching them (people) to observe all that I have commanded you…” Matt 28:20
Emphasizing observing direction, instruction, commandments, etc. sounds so much like “Works”, such a nasty word to many: “Wadda ya mean I have to change my ways and do stuff like keep commandments? Aren’t I saved from “dead works?” Can’t I just “luvvvvv?”
Back to the top of this section: Talking about love is easy; it can be passive, emotional language. Talking about love as an active, objective, declaration of intent of action is way more difficult; especially when the obstacles to Biblical Love need to be recognized—Sin, Indwelling Sin.
There are two operative words associated with the obstacles to Biblical Love:
- Confession, and;
If I want to be a growing, maturing, disciple of Jesus Christ, keeping His commandments because I love Him, then I better get more acquainted with these two words than just being able to find them in a dictionary.
PS: If I want to witness well and lead folks to Christ, then Confession and Repentance better be a part of the invitation so that I am not misleading folks in error.
Prayer: Lord, I would be the first one to admit that I don’t have the gift of evangelism. It’s not that I don’t care for souls, it is making disciples I care for.
Please make my words pleasing in your Sight, O Lord.
Bring revival to my heart,