It would be easy, having seen the last two blogs I have posted, to get the impression that I’m saying a true Christian should be perfect. That there should be no sin in our lives at all.
And John does seem to have this tendency to put these things in black and white. But one thing that is also crystal clear from his writing is that though we are children of light, and that true children of light walk in that light, we still sin. We still fail.
In fact, John tells us,
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. (8)
If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. (9)
How does this all fit into what we have said before?
Several things, some of which we have already touched on.
- A true child of God does not make excuses for their sin. They do not try to explain away scripture to justify their sin. They do not try to say their case is an “exception” to the rule.
- A true child of God does not blatantly ignore scripture. When they read it, they do their best to follow it.
- A true child of God struggles with their sin. They don’t simply say, “This is the way I am. I’m never going to change.” Rather they mourn over their sin. And they long to be different.
This is not to say that true Christians never do any of the above. Sometimes they do make excuses. Sometimes they do blatantly ignore scripture. Sometimes they do say, “This is the way I am. I’m never going to change.”
And sometimes, Christians simply have blind spots. They simply can’t see their sin for what it is. They haven’t reached the point of maturity where they can discern all that’s good and evil. (Hebrews 5:13-14)
But a true Christian will not simply continue living this way. The Holy Spirit will not allow it. And if the Christian will not listen, he will bring discipline into their lives.
The good news, however, is that when we repent, God will forgive. John tells us,
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (9)
Are you a child of God? A child of the Light? Then stop making excuses for your sin. Stop ignoring God’s Word. When God chastises you, repent. And God is gracious. He will forgive you.
We will never be perfect while in this world, but that should always be our goal. If we truly love Jesus, we should long to be like him.