28 And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.29 If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.– 1 John 2:28-29 (ESV)
We are continuing to bless by a great synergy between Elder Brian Bruley wonderful Sunday School lessons on 1 John and my expository (verse-by-verse) preaching. And this synergy was particularly evident on Sunday, July 16th as the Apostle John reminded us of the relationship between being born of God by faith in Jesus Christ and the need to abide in Christ and practice righteousness.
As commentator Daniel Akin points out, in verse 29, John gives us a “root/fruit argument,” telling us that our fruit of doing what is right reveals that our roots, that is, our hearts, have been born again!
And according to verse 29, we want to “abide in” Christ, so that we will not stray into doctrine or conduct of which we would be ashamed at his coming (ESV Study Bible text note).
Warren Wiersbe sums it up well, “A true believer does not practice sin; a counterfeit believer cannot help but practice sin, because he does not have God’s new nature within him.”
Wiersbe: The true believer also loves other Christians, which will see in the coming verses 11-24. But these words were not written so we might check on other people in order to increase our self-righteousness! They were written so that we may examine ourselves. So, each of us should answer honestly before God some diagnostic questions.
First, do I have the divine nature within me or am I merely pretending to be a Christian? (And this pretension may be a greater temptation in the South, where “outward cultural Christianity” is still alive and well!)
Second, do I cultivate the divine nature by daily Bible reading and prayer? Remember, these are means of grace which should not be neglected!
Third, has any unconfessed sin defiled my inner person? Am I willing to confess and forsake it?
Folks, this is why we have Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper nearly monthly, and this is why we have elders, to give you ways you can deal with sin and the effects it has on others!
Fourth, do I allow my old nature to control my thoughts and desires, or does the divine nature rule me? In a sense, you are what you think about, so we must continue to cry out to God for help in staying focused on godly things!
Fifth, along with number four, when temptation does come, do I “play with it” or do I flee from it? Do I immediately yield to the divine nature within me?
The Christian life that is authentic is honest with God about these vital issues. How are you doing with them? Perhaps you know that there are areas in your life of besetting sin that you just can’t seem to get the victory over.
If this is the case, don’t hesitate to contact me our one of your elders for help and guidance. And if we can’t help you, we’ll guide you to someone who can!
As Akin points out, John has shown us that “the Son of God was revealed for this purpose: to destroy the Devil’s works” (1 John 3:8).
A leading Christian back in the sixteenth century, got it right when he wrote of Jesus in his Paraphrase on Mark, “By a carpenter mankind was made, and only by that Carpenter can mankind be remade.”
The carpenter from Nazareth, the Son of God, has indeed remade us – redeemed by his blood, regenerated by the Spirit, reconciled with the Father, and ready for service.
Does that describe you? What a joy it is to be a child of God! What a blessing to have been saved and set free from the shackles of sin and the tyranny of Satan! Thank you, Jesus! Thank you for coming!
In Christ, Pastor Jim