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Connect the Testaments

June 16: Not Perfect?
Ezra 1:1–2:70; 1 John 3:5–10; Psalm 106:1–15
Sometimes sin can discourage us to the point that we loathe ourselves. At first glance, John’s letter seems to encourage this. Addressing a struggling church community, John seems to call for perfection: “And you know that that one was revealed in order that he might take away sins, and in him there is no sin. Everyone who resides in him does not sin. Everyone who sins has neither seen him nor known him” (1 John 3:5–6). Does this mean that people who struggle with sin are unable to know God?
In his letter, John is actually addressing the false idea that was rampant in the community he addressed—that Christ’s sacrifice had covered sin, and therefore it was permissible to keep sinning. This is an issue that Paul addresses in his letter to the Roman Christians: “Should we go on sinning then, that grace may increase? May it never be!” (Rom 6:2). John answers the same way. He’s not saying that any sin indicates an inability to know God—he’s addressing the heart of the practice of sin (1 John 3:8).
Unchecked sin is an offense against God—it’s rebellion against Him and an attack on His character. Before we were brought into relationship with God, we were characterized by enslavement to sin. Through Christ’s sacrifice, we’re in relationship with Him, and our lives begin to reflect our new identity in Him. What should our lives look like now? John gives us an idea later in the chapter: “Everyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, namely, the one who does not love his brother” (1 John 3:10). Instead of rampant disobedience, then, the practice of “the children of God” is righteousness and love for others.
Though sin is still present in our lives, and we may be discouraged by it, we are no longer defined by it. Rather, we desire a new type of obedience and love, which God works in us.
Does your perspective on sin need to change? How can your actions reflect your freedom from sin?
Rebecca Van Noord


 Barry, John D., and Rebecca Kruyswijk. Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012. Print.

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