Religion Magazine

Just Do It

By Sjbedard @sjbedard

The third part of my series on 1 John.

“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” (1 John 2:1–6 ESV)

Many Protestants are very sensitive when it comes to works. We are saved by faith and not by works. Some are so confident in faith that they demonstrate it by their lack of works. Other Christians are very sensitive about legalism. They have been to churches where the pastor and leadership have tried to control every aspect of life with bizarre rules. Those who have been victims of spiritual abuse run from the very thought of requirements for a Christian life.

In this passage, John is not discussing the means of salvation. He would agree with others, such as Paul, that salvation is by faith. But he also insists that there are expectations for the Christian life. He begins by acknowledging our tendency to sin and the importance of relying on Jesus. We will never be perfect and so it is necessary for us to rely on Jesus as our advocate. Jesus stands between us and the Father and his sacrifice prevents us from being condemned based on our sinfulness.

However, salvation does not give us the excuse to sin. Paul of course makes this same argument in Galatians and Romans. If someone claims to be a Christian and yet willfully breaks all of God’s commands, there is a problem. You cannot say you know God and yet choose to disobey him. We will never be as perfect as Jesus, but if we say we are Christians, we must aim to walk as Jesus walked.

Do not get hung up on if works will interfere with your simple faith in Jesus. Doing things for your spouse does not make you question the unconditional love they have for you, so things should not be different with God. You know the things God wants you to do. Just do it.

  • 1 John
  • Christian Life
  • John
  • Paul
  • Sin

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