As we saw last time, John's purpose in writing these things to us is that we might not sin (if you missed it, read the last blog post to catch up). Now, lest we think John is hypothetically speaking, we will see that this life of overcoming sin is a real possibility. He says, "My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin."
I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin! Based on this, we must assume it to be possible not to sin, when we walk in the open fellowship with God, and in his pure light. The things I am writing are such things that, if believed, realized, acted upon and acted out, will make it possible for you not to sin.
You might be thinking…no, it really isn’t “possible.” John is hypothetically speaking here. Let me ask you the following question. Would you sin if a knife was to your throat and you were about to be decapitated if you fall to the temptation? Absolutely not! So, it is possible not to sin if we see sin as deadly serious! Jesus viewed sin this way. He said in Matthew 18:8-9, “And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire.” Sin is deadly serious!
Paul agrees in 1 Corinthians 10 that it is possible to avoid sinning. He writes in 1 Corinthians 10:12-13, "Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” If there is a way of escape provided with every temptation, isn’t it possible that we could take that way of escape every time? And if we take that way of escape every time, isn’t it possible that we can avoid falling into sin? Yes, but we still fail don’t we? While we recognize our shortcomings, let us not lower the standard or make a weak excuse for our surrender! Robert Candlish said this, “It is but too true that in all that we do we come short of this sinless aim. That, however, is no reason for our not only anticipating fault or failure, but acquiescing in the anticipation. Consider the following questions until next time...
1. I know we are inherently sinful as long as we are in the flesh, but do you think it is possible not to sin in reference to sin that God has clearly illuminated in our lives?
2. As you consider and meditate on Matthew 18:8-9, how serious do you believe Jesus take sin? Do you take your sin this seriously? Why or why not?
3. Mediate on 1 Corinthians 10:12-13. Is it technically possible that we could take the way of escape from every temptation that comes our way? Why do you think we fail to do this sometimes?
4. As you consider these things today, fill in the following blank to help you apply these truths to your life. In response to what I have learned today I will __________________.