And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. v3
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. 10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. v9-10
I have read this passage a few times and these verses keep jumping out to me. John, has a funky way of writing and it can be a bit unnerving to walk though it, I want to do my best to make sense of it and point to something that I think is so beautiful and hard and real and what we actually need.
First observation is this:
Hoping (actively) purifies us and makes more like Jesus. Not hoped.
If you make a practice of sinning, if that is who you are, not a believer who is wrestling with all of the Spirit of God against sin, but someone who practices, enjoys, relishes, looks forward to, sin, that sort of practicing of sin, you are not a child of God, you are not born of God.
Phew. What a doozy!
When we set our eyes on Jesus to save us (when we hope in him for our salvation before God) this is not a one time event. This is not simply a prayer that we pray, though many believe it is.
This is a supernatural awakening in which God wakes us up to see that he is everything, he is our hope and our life and so we turn to him, the veil is removed from our eyes and we look to him and realize, he is everything. And then, because of seeing him, we hope in him, we give our life to him, we die in him, as he died on the cross.
No longer do we live, but he lives. His desires. His goals. His love. His life.
This is hoping in Jesus. It is looking to him for all of our life and breath and worth before God.
But what about while I am doing that, I sin? Does that mean that I am not longer a child of God becaused I sinned? That seems to be what John might be saying?
But no, that isn’t what John is saying. What John is referring to is someone who practices, lives in, enjoyes, relishes, makes a habit of living in sin. This person, no matter what they say to contrary, does not have hope in Jesus.
Yeah, but what if they prayed a prayer? It doesn’t matter. God will not be mocked.
True salvation saves us from the punishment of sin, but also the presence and power of sin. If someone is still practicing sin, and living in it, and loving it, they have no hope in Jesus.
But what about when I struggle in sin? True believer, who struggles in sin, fights it, but falls, but loses sometimes, look to verse 3, those who hope in him are purified.
Even in your sin, hope in Jesus. Hope in him to save you from the punishment and more importantly from the sin now and here in this life. Hoping in Jesus, trusting in Jesus, looking to Jesus as your only confidence before a holy God, that is how you defeat this sin today.
We don’t defeat sin through being afraid of hell, we defeat sin by hoping in Jesus as our only hope. That is how we are purified.
I hope and pray that this speaks to the soul of our church and pushes them towards you. That is my only desire. Lord do a might work in our church family, move in Good Life that we would be a people who against all odds, hope in you and are purified from our sin.