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.
We are all sinners. Each of us has done something we know is wrong, and sometimes we even do it in defiance to a certain person, or even to God. Sin is lawlessness. God’s “law” is perfect. His “laws” are the governors of good and evil. In the very first book of the bible, in Genesis, the very first law was broken. God says “Do not eat”, and the first man and woman willingly and knowingly break the law. To sin is to take away the laws that protect, in essence to put yourself at risk for consequences. When you knowingly sin, you knowingly accept the consequences of that sin – seen or unseen. The ultimate consequence: death and eternal punishment for sin.
Thanks be to God for providing a way back into God’s protection. We could not correct our wrongs because we do not have the power in and of ourselves. But because of Christ our sins are forgiven. He had the power to take our sins upon Himself, a perfect being who never sinned, and defeat death and eternal punishment on our behalf. His payment for what we owed satisfied the debt, and now we are free to be in God’s presence.
So if we know that we have been forgiven our debt, how can we willingly continue in our sin? Isn’t that like crucifying Christ over and over again? We will know who belong to God because they will not want to sin, and they will desire to love their neighbors. John is not saying that we will be made perfect here on this earth. We will not be able to fulfill the entire law, nor love perfectly in our flesh. We are at war in our bodies with what we know is right.
22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” – Romans 7
But because of Christ we can be made new in His strength. He has the power to break the chains of sin in our lives, and because we are His, He will begin that work. To see a brother or sister in Christ is to see someone longing to be changed into the image of their Savior. They no longer desire to be like the world, because they are no longer of this world. Once your heart has been given to Christ, you are made new from the inside out, in essence, you are re-born into a new nature. A nature that desires to please God above all else, even in the weakest and darkest moments.
On the contrary, you will know if someone does not belong to God, even if they claim it because: “29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” – Romans 1
“13 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 14 Do everything in love.” – 1 Corinthians 16
Lord’s Day 4, Questions 10 & 11
Will God allow such disobedience and apostasy
to go unpunished?
He is terribly displeased
with our original sin
as well as our actual sins.
Therefore he will punish them
by a just judgment
both now and eternally, 1
as he has declared: 2
Cursed is everyone
who does not continue to do everything
written in the Book of the Law (Gal 3:10).
But is God not also merciful?
God is indeed merciful, 1
but he is also just. 2
His justice requires
that sin committed
against the most high majesty of God
also be punished with the most severe,
that is, with everlasting,
punishment of body and soul. 3