Faith lived out in family can look different for each of us. Family life gets messy sometimes. We all have our dysfunctions, but no matter what our dysfunctions are, we’re still family and somehow that overrules dysfunction. We can get defensive when someone crosses a member of our family.
This is what John, the apostle, is writing about in the second chapter of 1 John:
“ 1 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”1 John 2:1-2
John writes this letter because he sees disharmony among the church that at one time whole heartedly accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior. But there are forces in the world that seek to trick people into questioning the truth of the gospel. John is especially concerned that the church stays focused on overcoming sin. He doesn’t deny that sins exists, but is compelled to assure them there is an antidote for sin. That is Jesus Christ who died on the cross to pay the price for all sin.
But the church was more concerned about everyone else’s sins instead of their own. They could overlook their own sin, but seemed bent on judging the sins of others.
God sent Jesus to cover our sin because we can’t stand in front of a holy God because of our sin. But, Jesus stands in front of us to accept us as his. Because of this, God can be for us.
As our pastor was delivering this portion of his sermon, I got a vision of standing before God, knowing that it isn’t possible for us to look at God. So Jesus stands before us deflecting the light of God as our protector. This was a ”light bulb moment” for me. I’d just never pictured Jesus being ”for me” as a way to make it possible for me to be safely in the presence of God. But God can’t be in the presence of sin, so Jesus has already covered my sins.
Another analogy was shared about a defense lawyer who represents their client. The lawyer stands before the judge and claims the defendant is not guilty. That’s not how Jesus works. He stands before us and says, ”Yes, he did it, I covered it though?” Satan is the prosecuting attorney here. He has a list of all our sins. It’s probably a pretty long list!
God actually presents himself, in the form of Jesus, the cover his own wrath for the sins we’ve committed. We’ve been forgiven, but are we in fellowship?
”3 We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. 4 The man who says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.”1 John 2:3-6
The evidence of our relationship with Jesus is that we live as he lived. We follow God’s commands. When we confess our sins to God he changes our heart and writes his commands on our heart. We aren’t exempt from his commands, we naturally try to live a life that follows them.
How can we tell if someone is truly a Christian? Just saying that we’re a Christian doesn’t make it so. Living our life should be evidence that we belong to Him. Our behaviors should be evidence of his love within us. There will be a change in our life that causes us to not live in sin as we did before. There no love in sinning to , brag about sin, or to make plans to sin as we once did.
This doesn’t mean that we’ll be sinless. John already covered that. We’re a liar if we claim to be sinless.
If sin doesn’t make us dissatisfied or distressed by sin in our life, we’ve not accepted the invitation. God has forgiven the sin, but we’re not his child.
”7 Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard. 8;Yet I am writing you a new command; it’s truth is seen in him and you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.”1 John 2:7-8
This command was one they’d heard all of their lives. It was made new as the new commandment by Jesus in John 13:34
”A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”John 13:34
- The cross points in four directions to show that the love of Jesus is:
- Wide enough to include every human being.
- Long enough to last through all eternity.
- Deep enough to reach the most guilty sinner.
- High enough to take us to heaven
This is a new love, a love the world had never really seen before the work of Jesus on the cross. This is the love the world desperately need to see!
The first place the world sees how we now love is in this family we call “church”.
Fill your days with the Word of God by reading your Bible. Find out all about the One who loves you.