4Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.
5You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin.
6No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him.
7Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous;
8the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.
9No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
10By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.
11For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another;
12not as Cain, who was of (he evil one and slew his brother And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s were righteous.
13Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you.
14We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death.
15Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
16We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
17But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?
18Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.
I feel like God is hitting me over the head with a message lately. Through talking with others, my own devotions, old sermons, and my prayer life, God is telling me I need to live saved. Here is another example.
I had alot of contradictions run through my head while I was reading this passage today. questions like “well, if we are righteous through Christ, and the righteous don’t sin, why do I continue to sin?” John here is illustrating righteousness and calling us out. Those of us that are saved have a standard to live by. No, we are not saved by how we live, but how we live is transformed by the fact that we are saved.
If you have truly repented (that is, turned from your sinful life and refocused on Christ), then you will begin to live a more righteous life. We don’t have to, we get to. We aren’t forced to do it, rather the Holy Spirit in us brings about that change. The supernatural becomes natural in us as we are transformed from this world to the Kingdom.
This passage exemplifies what salvation looks like. It is what the unbeliever should see when looking at a Christian. A friend of mine was recently telling me how the people he works with are still bewildered by the change he has made in his life since he’s sacrificed his life for Christ and no longer lives in his sinful ways. Sure, he still screws up, he is still a sinner, yet there is a Way about him.
This is what John is trying to capture here. We can talk all we want about scripture. We can quote the bible all day, injecting conversations with witty lines from theologians, etc. but it won’t matter until we live it out. In verse 13, John tells us to expect the world to hate us as we turn from the worldly ways and focus on Christ. This is because they will see and want what we have, yet not know how to acquire it. This is the opportunity for our God to shine and use us to show the world 1) how great His Power really is and 2) how they too can join the family.
How does the world view you today? One of them, or one of His?