If Righteousness is What you Practice

1 John 3:4-10 ESV

“Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 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. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.”

Fooling Oneself

This teaching “flies in the face of” the adulterated gospel message which is presently permeating the bulk of what is called “church” here in America. For the popular “gospel” message which is being taught today teaches that we can believe in Jesus Christ, be guaranteed forgiveness of sins, and be guaranteed heaven as our eternal destiny, but that it does not have to alter our lifestyles. For it teaches that Jesus does it all and that we do nothing.

Thus, when people profess faith in Jesus Christ, but they don’t repent of their sins, and they don’t walk in obedience to the Lord, and they refuse to submit to Christ as Lord, they are only fooling themselves if they think that they are saved from their sins and that heaven is their eternal destiny. They are fooling themselves, too, if they think that their sins no longer matter to God, or that he can’t even see when they sin, or that he will not punish them for their sins. His word definitely says that he will judge them.

And then there are those who were brought up under the true gospel but who have secretly adopted the cheap grace gospel into their lives. So, while they will make a pretense of righteousness or righteous living, they are secretly engaged in all manner of evil when they feel they have privacy and that no one can see what they are doing. For they don’t really take God and his word seriously, for they have convinced themselves that God will not judge them, and that heaven is still their eternal destiny.

Then there are those who have confessed their sinful addictions and who have made many attempts and confessions at true repentance, but even though they make many confessions of change and of leaving their sinful lifestyles behind them, they never ever truly let go of their “other love.” They may try to convince themselves they have, but they are just fooling themselves when they try to pretend that their “ship’s not sinking.”

Emotionally there may be a part of them that wants to let go of the sin, but emotionally there is another part of them that is just fooling themselves that they are sincere about truly giving up their sinful habits. For, although there may be a part that desires to be free or has fooled themselves that they want to be free, the other part wants to hold on to the sin and so only pretends to desire true freedom. For they are emotionally attached to the sin as though the sin is their “other love.”

Everyone Who Practices

Now, the Scriptures give us a clear dividing line between what constitutes true abiding faith in Jesus Christ and what does not. The Scriptures do not teach that we will never sin again (1 Jn 2:1-2) but that sin should no longer have mastery over our lives. We should no longer be enslaved to sin. We should no longer make sin our practice, our habit. We should no longer walk (conduct our lives) in sin deliberately and premeditatedly.

But now we are to walk (in conduct, in practice) according to the Spirit, in holiness and righteousness, in obedient walks of faith in our Lord Jesus. We are to live our lives in a manner worthy of Christ and of his gospel. We are to obey our Lord’s commands. We are not to be engaged in sinful practices, for we died to sin, so how can we live in it any longer? So daily by the Spirit we are to be putting sin to death and walking in obedience to our Lord.

And righteousness is not just something that is given to us by God when we believe in Jesus Christ, but we must be those who practice righteousness, for whoever practices (habitually) righteousness is righteous, as God is righteous. And salvation from sin is also not a one-time deal that takes place in our lives, but we must not make sin our practice, our habit, or we don’t really know the Lord, and we will not inherit eternal life with God.

So, we are not cut off from our Lord every time we commit a singular sin. But we also don’t know the Lord and we are not saved from our sins if we are still habitually and deliberately sinning in the same ways. So, if you premeditatedly and/or deliberately engage in the same sinful practices over and over again, even though you know better, and even though there may be people asking you to stop, then sin is your practice.

And if sin is what we practice, and if righteousness is not what we practice, and if we are not walking in obedience to our Lord and to his commands, in practice, then the Scriptures teach that we don’t know God and he doesn’t know us and we are liars if we say that we do. They also say that we are not born of God, we are not genuinely believing in Jesus, and thus we are not the children of God, but we are children of the devil.

But many people are professing faith in Jesus Christ who are denying this teaching by their practices, for they don’t believe this. They believe they are saved and that heaven is their destiny, and that they do have a relationship with God, and that he does listen to them, and that they are listening to him, even though the Scriptures teach the opposite of that. And that is because they are fooling themselves into believing the lie and not the truth.

So, please take this to heart. If sin is what you practice, you don’t know the Lord, he doesn’t know you, and heaven is not your eternal destiny, no matter what you try to convince yourselves of. But if righteousness is what you practice, by God’s Spirit, and if you are walking in obedience to the Lord’s commands, and if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, then you have the hope of eternal life with God.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Matt 7:21-23; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10]

Broken Cord

An Original Work / August 29, 2018

Your bond is broken
With your Lord and Savior
And, your testimony is
Separate from Him.

Your words not matching
Your actions today.
Repent of your sin and
Bow down and pray.

Live what you testify
In truth always.

Purity’s lacking in
Your life and witness,
For you profess one thing,
But other you do.

Not moral, spiritual.
Still of the flesh.
Not living in truth to
What you confess.

Lying about it
Puts you in a mess.

Living a lie is your practice,
‘tis true of you.
Masquerade righteousness –
None of it true.

Your heart is not given
To your Lord God.
Because of how you live,
You are a fraud.

Turn from your sin and
Give your life to God.

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