Tuesday after the Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: 1 John 2:1-17 (NKJV)
2:1 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.
3 Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.
7 Brethren, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning. 8 Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.
9 He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. 10 He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. 11 But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
12 I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake. 13 I write to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the wicked one. I write to you, little children, because you have known the Father. 14 I have written to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the wicked one.
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
The reason that St. John wrote this first epistle is clearly stated, “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin.” The fruit of the reception of the forgiveness of sins is the new God-given desire NOT to sin. St. John writes to encourage and give strength to these believers to “walk in the light” and “to practice the truth” (1 John 1:6-7). For the believer in Christ, there are now competing natures within. The sinful nature does not cease to bring forth sinful desires, meanwhile the believer in Christ (the saintly nature) desires to keep God’s Word and not sin. When we find that we have fallen into sin, we need not despair, but confess our sins for “…we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”
Nevertheless, there is a great difference between a believer and an unbeliever. A masquerading unbeliever would say, “I have a ‘fellowship with God.’ I like to sin, and God likes to forgive. We get along well.” The one who willfully and deliberately does not keep His commandments and yet claims he is in good standing with God “is a liar and the truth is not in him.” When the believer sees within himself the desire to avoid sin, the desire to confess sins, and the desire to keep His Word of both Law (Ten Commandments) and Gospel (promise), he is comforted that he both knows Christ and is in Christ. Those desires can only come from being in fellowship with Christ. The unbeliever loves the world, while the believer has the love of the Father in him.
We pray: Heavenly Father, abide in me so that with Your deliverance I may overcome the wicked one, on account of our Advocate, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.