Saturday, July 25, 2009

7-25; I John 3:7-10; Not Continuing in sin

Devotional using scripture, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth.

7/25- I John 3:7-10

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 Those who are born of God will not 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: Those who do not do what is right are not God's children; nor are those who do not love their brothers and sisters.

Calvin abridged: The Apostle shows here that newness of life is testified by good works. The likeness of Christ appears by the fruits that we bear in our live (Gal. 5:25- if you live in the Spirit also walk in the Spirit). Many would gladly persuade themselves that the have the righteousness of Christ buried in their hearts, while iniquity evidently occupies their feet, hands, tongue, and eyes!
3:- “Commit sin”- there is no life of God in the hearts of those who act perversely and wickedly, but they are slaves of the devil (which is totally unlike Christ). Christ is seen here as the beginning of all righteousness, and the devil as the beginning of sin. He assigns to the devil all of those who do not do what is Christlike- or follow Christ. There are not two contrasting principles- one good god and one evil one (as the Manicheans say). The devil was not wicked by nature but became so through defection, and is not equal to God. As John talked about Christ not sinning as his body- the elect; so he speaks of the devil’s sinning as the reprobate.
3:9- “those who are born of God will not continue to sin”- Some say that this means that those who believe will be perfect in this life.
We are not regenerated all at once. The children of God are not free from sins, and they daily sin because they have remnants of their old nature still about them. Yet the flesh is under a yoke, checked and restrained by the Holy Spirit. It is not that the Spirit helps us to be only neutral, but the Spirit motivates us toward the good. There are also those who say that everything is lawful for the faithful since God says they cannot sin. Thus they take the liberty to commit adultery, to steal, to murder.
3:10- “Now we know who the children of God are and the children of the devil are”- the fruit and adoption always appear in this life.

Calvin doesn’t say that believers are perfect. Nor does he say that there is no difference in the way the elect live versus the non-elect.
The world (made evident in the media in America) holds Christians to perfection, while holding themselves to as loose morals as possible. There is little grace in the way the world views people. Perhaps today, more than any other, there is little grace. This is what Christ offers us- grace. But when we receive His grace (and we receive grace by His grace), then we don’t need to abuse His grace by continuing to be in a pattern of sin. “I forgive you” means nothing if we don’t intend to stop the sin we want forgiveness for. Calvin was not demanding perfection here, but he emphasized a striving (trying to follow) after Christ.

Prayer: Help us, O Lord to continue after you, and not continue in our ways of sin. Show us our problems, but also give us grace and power to correct our mistakes. Help us to trust in your grace.

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