The beauty of God's love
How do we reconcile Jesus' command for us to abide in Him with our continuing sinful nature? Should we be discouraged because we cannot be victorious over sin?
A sermon by Steve DeWitt of Bethel Church in Crown Point, Indiana, addressed this point and was both challenging and encouraging! The starting point... God's holiness. 1 John 1:5 says, "God is light and there is no darkness at all in Him." God hates sin and cannot tolerate it in His presence. Yet, we are sinners (as evidenced by our daily selfish and wrong actions). The great news is that Jesus' sacrifice on the cross and resurrection was a substitutionary act of atonement for our sins (1 John 2:2) and Jesus is an advocate to God on our behalf when we do sin (1 John 2:1). This means that, when we sin, Jesus intercedes and we get the benefit of His perfection and atoning sacrifice.
The beauty of this act cannot be overstated.
When we truly understand this and appreciate it to the point of unconditionally following Him, we don't cheapen Jesus' atoning gift by making purposeful decisions to sin or live selfishly (because we know that we are and will be forgiven). 1 John 3:9 says, "No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God." Instead, our understanding of the depth of God's love for us should inspire us to know Him more and to "walk in the light, as He is in the light."
Be amazed at God's great love for you and allow that amazement to cause you to strive for holiness each day!