Living in the gulf region, hurricane season means having a contingency plan. We watch the weather, we gather supplies, we test our generators, we evacuate or hunker down. We prepare for wind, rain and power outages.
Nothing we do because of the hurricane causes the hurricane. We are responding to what it causes.
John wrote 1 John for two reasons. The primary reason:
1Jn 5:11 And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.
1Jn 5:12 He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.
1Jn 5:13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.
That you may know that you have, not so you may find out how to have. It was written to help believers with their assurance.
1Jn 2:22 Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.
1Jn 2:23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also.
1Jn 2:24 As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.
1Jn 2:25 This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life.
John had heard Jesus put this together: Joh 14:21 "He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him."
Having a point in time when Jesus became real to you and you acknowledged your belief in Him is a great advantage for assurance. You know that you have affirmed who He is—God the Son, our Savior and what He did—paid the penalty of our sin and opened the door to our relationship with the Father.
When we believe what He says to believe and do what He says to do, our confidence is based upon Him, not us. By faith we know we have eternal life because we trust Him to tell us the truth.
I’m not a huge R.C. Sproul fan, and often find myself disagreeing with him. I heard him on a podcast the other day and he was answering a question about how to know if you are saved. He said the proof of our salvation is in our love for God. According to Sproul, we can’t say we love God unless we are saved.
Saying you can prove your salvation by your emotions is dangerous on many levels. I cannot test my faith by my feelings. I can feel love one day and nothing the next. I can act lovingly one day and not the next. My love isn’t powerful enough to remain constant in all circumstances.
Or even if we take love as an action rather than an emotion as Paul does in 1 Cor 13, we then are basing our salvation on our efforts to perform loving actions. I can’t do that either. If my positive actions prove I have salvation, what do my negative actions prove?
My love for God is my response to Him, not a scheme to prove something to Him.
Guy felt guilty for neglecting his wife. Heard on the radio how he should take her flowers to make up for that neglect. She met him at the door. Great, the baby’s been sick all day, the dishwasher broke, the bank is repossessing our car…and you come home drunk.
My assurance rests on Jesus not me. I believe who He is and what He has done, and I have done what He said to do. The Holy Spirit bears witness with my spirit that I am a child of God. He convinces me I belong to Him.
So because John is writing to believers in 1 John, when John deals with the sin problem, it is the problem Christians have with reverting back to former ways, dabbling in the dirt, returning to a darkness lifestyle or mentality.
Which brings us to the secondary reason John wrote this letter: to show us God’s contingency plan for sinning. If the goal for believers is to have fellowship with the Father and each other while we remain on earth, and that fellowship can be affected by sin, we need a way to deal with that sin.
Listen to how he wraps up the letter: 1Jn 5:18 We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him.
A better translation is: We know that everyone having been born of God does not continue to sin, but He having been begotten of God protects him and the evil one does not touch him.
Continue to sin means maintaining sin as a defining habit.
1Jn 3:7 Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous;
1Jn 3:8 the 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.
1Jn 3:9 No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
Becoming a child of God changes us:
· New nature – I have a new orienting force within me, a new compass that directs me to God’s ways.
· New desires – I have a new passion for godliness and holy living in order to please God.
· New purpose – I have a new direction for my life to glorify God in all I do.
· New perspective – I have a new focus for how I live and why.
· New practices – I have new habits that replace old habits creating a new definition of who I am.
Paul writes: 2Co 5:17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
I am not who I was but I am not yet who I will be. I’m a work in progress!
But what about the contingency plan. 1Jn 2:1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin.
By warning us of the consequences, John would expect us to avoid those consequences.
· Man who shouts fire is expecting people to get out of the building.
· If a sign says do not enter, it is expected people won’t enter.
· If the monks’ signs say bridge is out, they expect people to turn around.
· if you dabble in the dirt,
· if you go back into the darkness,
· if you linger in the shadows, you will lose the power of your fellowship with God.
But even if, after the warning, I give in to sin, God makes a way to clean up the mess and restore fellowship with me:
And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;
1Jn 2:2 and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.
Paraclete – one who goes with us to plead our case.
One who takes our problem to the solution.
But more than that, He’s our Propitiation – When Moses built the tabernacle God told him to have a piece of furniture built that would go into the Holy of Holies. It would be the place blood would be sprinkled that would accomplish mercy in behalf of the people’s sins.
It was called the mercy seat. The same word we have for propitiation.
It was God’s contingency plan within the temple to rectify the sins of the people. It was the place where God: atoned, amended, redeemed, extinguished guilt incurred by sin.
Jesus is for us, what the mercy seat was for the Temple. The place where God enacts mercy/the forgiveness for our sins.
So God’s contingency plan is actually a Person. If we sin as Children of God, Jesus will enact God’s mercy. What does He want us to do: confess our sins, because He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Sounds like a free ride. I can sin all I want. Forgiveness is always available.
Paul wrote: Rom 6:1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? Rom 6:2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?
Paul actually said: Are we to continue sinning just because forgiveness is provided? Never may it be!
That’s not who we are anymore. Why would we want to live like something we aren’t?
POW’s from Vietnam were finally free from the torturous confines of bamboo cages and isolation cells. Did any of those men miss their captivity so much they wanted to go back to those cells after their deliverance?
You are no longer a captive. You can walk away from captivity.
Got a hurricane raging in your heart? Well, just as preparation for the hurricane doesn’t cause the hurricane, the contingency plan for sinning doesn’t cause us to sin. But it is ready for when we do.
1. God wants the very best for us.
2. The only way He can bless us with that best is if we are His children.
3. As His children, He wants us separated from the darkness that once controlled our lives and, instead, living fully in His Light.
4. For us to live in the light, to have fellowship with Him, He has set in place the contingency plan of on-going forgiveness.
5. He must love us very much to go to all that trouble for us to be able to fellowship with Him.