Living a Balanced Life
(An In-Depth Study of First John)
Sin and the Christian
1 John 3:1-10
“You are what you eat.” This idiom has been around for centuries. In a culture focused on health and nutrition its meaning is clear; take in healthy food, be healthy. Of course, no one would say that just because you eat healthy you will never get sick. Most of the people in my immediate family eat healthy but all of us are prone to colds and flu on occasion. However, when a family member does catch a cold, recovery time is quick. A healthy body has a strong immune system. To be a member of a health conscience family is to be influenced, educated, and conformed to a healthy lifestyle.
In much the same light, John presents a section of text focused on the Christian and sin. To open the discussion, family is the main point. Listen to John’s opening comment, “Look at the sort of love the Father has given us!” (vs 1) This family is centered on the greatness of the Father. In particular, the love of the Father is in view when it comes to His greatness. In this great love, God has called us his children. To understand the meaning of being “born again” into the family of God, is to understand the lifestyle of righteousness. John states plainly, “No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.” (vs 6) John, or any other Biblical author, can make this type of statement casually. John genuinely believes that the love of the Father has done much more than simply save us from sin.
John knows that to be in the family of God, God MUST be in the family. John refers to this as each and every child having the seed of God inside. “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.” (vs 9) In other words, something in this adoption into God’s family goes far beyond earthly adoption. If I find a child and want to take him into my home, I cannot cause the child to be born again. I take him and I love him with the personality and temperament that he has from his biological parents. I influence with love, but I do not get into the very nature of the person and change it. But God does. The love that John has in view here in verse 3 is not the love that merely takes care of paper work and adopts. John sees it as much more. God moves in, by his Spirit, his seed, John calls it, and imparts something of himself to us, so that we take on a family resemblance.
This is the foundation from which John will submit the remainder of his argument. God’s children, though sometimes found in sin, do not live a lifestyle of sin. To be at home with God means to be at home with the very nature of God. John returns to the concept that the child of God will behave in a manner that is similar to his Father’s nature. The one who is “born of God” will not continue in sin.
Children of God (vs 1-3)
Children of God are:
- Led by the Spirit of God
- Lights in the world
- Heirs of All Things
False Teachers (vs 4-7)
Jesus come in the flesh (vs 7)
- False teachers disconnect Spirit and flesh (4:1-3)
- False teachers- you can be righteous yet do no righteousness (vs 4-7)
- Yet humanity has been folded into the Godhead forever
The Reason the Son of God Appeared (vs 8)
Destroy the works of the devil
The works of the devil are sins
Sin is lawlessness (rebellion)
How did the Son of God destroy the devils works? (vs 8-9)
His appearing (life, death, resurrection; the Gospel)
New Birth (You must be born again, John 3:3-7)
The Gospel and not sinless perfection
Vs 9 “makes a practice of sinning”
Remember verses 8 and 10 from chapter 1
Presumption – lukewarm toward sin
Despair – works will never be good enough to prove I’m born of God
Run to the Advocate