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May 16, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.”—1 John 3:4 (NKJV)
John knew how to move the minds of his audience from their starting point towards God’s truth. We get a great example of this in the three verses that comprise 1 John 3:4-6. Follow along . . .
First, John establishes a truth that’s obvious and uncontestable to everyone. “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.” In other words, John is meeting everyone on a level they all understand and agree on. “Sin is a real problem!” Theoretically, we all agree on this—it’s a logical starting point.
But watch as John moves us to the next point: “And you know that He [Jesus] was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin” (1 John 3:5 NKJV).
In absolute contrast to the problem of sin stands Jesus. John tells us two important facts about Jesus. First, he reminds us that Jesus was manifested to remove the problem of sin for us—it was His mission. Second, John emphasizes the truth that Jesus was (and is) totally sinless.
Christ is opposed to sin both in His mission and His nature. In other words, “Sin has no place in Jesus!” At this point, John moves us to an all-important third point, and this is where we come into the picture: “Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him” (1 John 3:6 NKJV).
Let’s look at the flow here. John has established that sin is a real problem and that it has no place when it comes to Jesus. Now he moves the focus our way by stating that our orientation to Jesus is revealed by our orientation to sin. Sin isn’t theoretical anymore, but personal and practical!
If we abide in Christ, we won’t sin. This doesn’t mean we’ll be 100% sinless. The idea of “sin” here is a continual lifestyle . . . a life defined by sin. John says that a life that’s connected with Christ won’t be defined by sin. Also, those who do sin (who live an unrepentant lifestyle of sin) are not in relationship with Christ. If they were, His opposition to sin would displace their pursuit of it.
John has moved us to a powerful place of self-evaluation and examination. What do we dwell on and desire more? Are we growing in Christ or in sin? These are questions we need to ask and answer for ourselves!
DIG: What is John doing in 1 John 3:4-6?
DISCOVER: Why is this thought progression so valuable?
DO: Do some self-examination of this issue. What do you find about your attitude towards sin? Does it line up with what the Bible says? If not, spend time in prayer, asking the Lord to align your heart and view of sin to His!
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.