1 John 3:7–8 (NIV)
Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.
I think I’m beginning to understand why John keeps repeating himself when he warns us to not let anyone lead us astray.
I think it must be pretty easy to be led astray. In fact, in light of these texts teaching us it is possible to live free from sin, I think we have all been led astray. We have been led to believe sin is inevitable. The popular bumper sticker says it best: “I’m not perfect, just forgiven.” The basic ethic of the Christian when it comes to sin is to be forgiven, be grateful, and do your best to be better.
The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning.
I’ll be honest: when I sin, my first thought isn’t that I am “of the devil.” My first thought is that I’m human. Sin is part of being human, right? But what if it’s not? (watch this video clearing up a common biblical misinterpretation) What if, in fact, sin actually dehumanizes us? What if being human means not sinning? From the first sin to the most recent one, they all degrade our humanity. Sin makes us less than we were created to be.
Don’t hear me wrong. We human beings are sinners, but because of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we have power over sin. We have power to not sin. Sin has lost its power. So, if sin has lost its power, maybe the problem is we have not taken up our power.
What if you got a letter in the mail today with the news that a distant relative had passed away and left you a million dollars? What would you do? You would figure out exactly what you had to do to claim your inheritance, wouldn’t you? Imagine just throwing the letter away and forgetting about it.
So, what if you got a letter today with news that you had inherited a power that could enable you to live at a new level of aliveness and creativity and power and love; a power that could free you from selfishness and sadness and addiction and every other way of life that brought grief? What would you do? I can’t speak for you, but I would do whatever I needed to do to claim that inheritance.
Here’s the good news. John sent you the letter with the news informing that you have inherited power that sets you free from sin—all the ways and patterns of life that rob you and others of life. Are you ready to claim that inheritance? Can you imagine just throwing that letter away and forgetting all about it? The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. Sin has lost its power. Are you ready to take up your inheritance of his power to live the life you were created for?
Lord Jesus, thank you for showing us what it looks like to be a real human being—that it looks like a life that hits the bull’s-eye. Would you infuse me with your Spirit in such a way that I live above and beyond the power of sin, which has lost its power? Let me live in the fullness of the freedom of the children of God. Let me claim my inheritance. In your name I pray, Jesus. Amen.
Are you ready to take the “I’m not perfect, just forgiven” bumper sticker off of your life? What might this mean practically? How might you claim your inheritance?
For the Awakening,