1 John 2: Understanding the Christian Way of Life

We can say, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that there is too much sin prevalent within the church. Unfortunately, many people who openly declare a knowledge of and a relationship with Jesus Christ are living in ways contrary to what it truly means to be a Christian. Man needs to do a better job of overcoming and mastering the flesh, for few have lived up to the commandments found in Matthew 22:37-40: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important commandment. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commandments.‘” While we often fall short of this standard, God is merciful and, as believers in Jesus Christ, dwells inside of us to help us carry out God’s will for our lives.

Here are some Christian principles to be mindful of with support from the verses that follow. They deal with fundamental truths about God and the law, and rules of conduct. He knows and sees everything that you do, and there are consequences:
For God will bring every act to judgment, including every hidden thing, whether good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:14).
“‘There is nothing covered that won’t be uncovered, nothing hidden that won’t be uncovered, nothing hidden that won’t be made known‘” (Luke 12:2).
…and faithful love belongs to You, Lord. For You repay each according to his works” (Psalm 62:12).
If you say, ‘But we didn’t know about this,’ won’t He who weighs hearts consider it? Won’t He who protects your life know? Won’t He repay a person according to his work?” (Proverbs 24:12)
He will repay each one according to his works” (Romans 2:6)
“‘Look! I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me to repay each person according to what he has done‘” (Revelation 22:12).

Remember that nothing is hidden from God. He is aware of everything that we do, and we have the ability to confess our sin and repent from it. In 1 John, chapter 1, John notes that we have the privilege of confessing our sins because of God’s grace. In chapter 2, he addresses the two principles concerning sin.
1. We must not sin and we are not to plan to sin (Hebrews 10:17).
2. Sin is not fatal because it can be corrected, for there is a remedy for it–the blood of Jesus Christ–when we confess our sin. “But if we talk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

John tells us not to sin (1 John 2:1).
1. Just because confession can be used in asking for forgiveness, one should not abuse it.
2. The forgiveness by the blood of Jesus Christ is not a license to sin (Ephesians 5:8-10; 1 Peter 2:16; Galatians 5:13). Do not use God’s grace to continually act in unrighteous behavior.
3. The purpose of the gospel, the knowledge of truth, is that you will not sin. Understanding God’s Word should keep you from sinning and give you the desire to please God. “I have treasured Your word in my heart so that I may not sin against You” (Psalm 119:11).
4. Living out God’s Word helps to break the habit of sin (Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18). The renewing of your mind should be changing your old habits, which were a detriment to you, to those that are better for you and in living for Christ.
5. Having the knowledge of God’s Word removes the desire to sin (James 4:7, 17). The Holy Spirit is the One who directs us and teaches us to live correctly and to make the right choices. Submitting to God will demonstrate His loving care for us through His protection.

Walking in the light means that you have the desire to forsake all sin. Unbelievers do not have the choice of living in the light or in darkness. They are always living in darkness. Living in the light gives the believer the ability to live a life that is pleasing to God. There is no sin present when one lives in the light.

Why are we, as Christians, subject to sin?
1. We sin because of the deceptive nature of Satan. He lays traps for us. (Acts 15:37-39; Galatians 2:14)
2. When you chose to walk out of the light (and the knowledge of God’s Word) and act against what you know to be true–knowing your behavior is wrong–you have left your fellowship with God.

Truths about Christianity:
Sin is not part of the Christian life (Christianity is to be a life without sin), yet the Christian is never totally free from sin because of his fleshly nature and the world in which he lives (Galatians 5:13-17; John 17:15-19). What should be taking place is life as a process of living the Christian life without sin. It is an ongoing process of dying to self and living for the Spirit and for Jesus Christ (Romans 6:6-10; Philippians 1:21). If we do sin, John says we have one who speaks to the Father on our behalf (1 John 2:1b). He is the Counselor and Comforter (John 14:25). The Advocate, Jesus Christ, was presented by God as our atonement (Romans 5:11; 2 Corinthians 5:18-19). He is available for all who accept Him as Savior (John 1:12).

As we know more about Jesus Christ, we understand and are more compelled to be obedient to His Word. There is evidence of our salvation in our actions (1 John 2:3-4; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Romans 7:21-25; Galatians 5:13-17). In addition, we have a desire for spiritual knowledge (1 Peter 2:2; 2 Peter 3:18). To know Jesus is to love Him, obey Him, and imitate Him as you serve Him (Romans 8:29). Being obedient to God and His Word brings about God’s complete love in you (1 John 2:5-6; John 3:16; Matthew 20:28).

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