Thursday after the Last Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: 1 John 3:1-12 (NKJV)
1 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. 4 Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. 5 And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. 6 Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.
7 Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. 8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. 10 In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. 11 For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, 12 not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous.
This has to be one of the most beloved texts for anyone who refuses the means of grace. “See I told you, I don’t sin! I hear God’s command to not sin. I love God! I don’t swear! I go to church! I love my parents! I haven’t killed anyone! I, I, I, I! I purify myself with righteous life!”
Wow! Maybe you’ve heard such comments, and say to yourself, “how sad?” to think you’re in a relationship with God because you don’t sin. You have to ask them immediately, “Have you ever wondered why Christ had to die!”
Such is the love of God that keeps the world from knowing who are the children of God. It’s called grace! It is called God’s undeserved favor, or as another old Lutheran once told me, “God’s riches at Christ’s expense!” For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.
The key words are: “born of God.” Here John is talking about those who have been born not of the flesh but through water and the Spirit; namely, Holy Baptism through which God regenerates and renews the heart and mind to have this hope in the work of Christ; as we trust in His promises; as we wait for His return.
We pray: By grace God’s Son, our only Savior, came down to Earth to bear our sin. Was it because of thine own merit that Jesus died thy soul to win? Nay, it was grace, and grace alone, that brought Him from His heavenly throne. Amen.