What pattern of behaviour marks my life? Is it doing right and loving my brothers and sisters in this world, or is it continuing in the pattern of life focused on myself? John lays out that if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck, it’s a duck. What kind of duck am I?
4 Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. 5 But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. 6 No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.
7 Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. 8 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. 9 No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. 10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.
Jesus came to earth to take away our sins. He who had no sin in him came to take away the sin of those who have sin in them. That’s you and me. Sorry to break the news.
For those who already knew this, it actually gets worse. If we know Jesus, we don’t continue to sin. Right? Makes sense, right? That’s what verse 6 says. Okay, but we do sin…
John is pretty clear that no one who is truly born of God will continue to sin. God’s seed, evidenced in the Holy Spirit, is present within us. When he says we cannot sin, it doesn’t actually mean we do not. On the contrary, the carrying on in sin and the continuing in sin should not be willful for the Christian. If our ongoing relationship with our flesh is wanton and willful, it is a sign that we might not be part of Jesus like we think we are.
Doing what is right and loving our brothers and sisters are two evidences of righteousness which John offers. So on the positive side, we should expect ourselves to have patterns of behaviour of doing right and showing love. We should also not have a pattern of willfully sinning against God.
We are going to slip and not do right and not love our brothers and slip into sin. It’s going to happen. The question is what is our pattern? If someone did not know you, would they identify you as belonging to Jesus or the evil one based on the pattern of your life?
What are you continuing in?