Today we are praying for the country of Albania. Please help us lift up this nation to the Lord today. You can follow the two links below to learn more about the nation and its unreached people groups. You can watch the video below to help guide you in your prayers.
Please take time to meditate on the devotion for today as well.
Please pray for the nation of Albania by joining in prayer with the video below.
Today's Devotional Thought
We began our study of 1 John 5:13 by asking the question, "Am I characterized by confessing Christ and embracing the gospel?" We also made clear that this was not the only question we must ask! There are several more. We will see two more of those questions from 1 John today.
Am I living a life characterized by righteousness? John wrote in 1 John 1:6-7, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; 7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” If we say that we have fellowship with Him…if we confess Him as our Lord…and yet walk in darkness, we lie! Our walk gives testimony to whether or not we are truly God’s children. 1 John 2:3-6 says, “By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; 5 but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: 6 the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.” Again, we may say that we have come to know Him, but our walk, our obedience, our righteousness will prove it. There is no question that John was wanting to make very clear that in order for us to know we have eternal life, we must have a life characterized by righteousness.
Take some time to read Matthew 21:28-31 and consider which son did the will of the father. Was it the one who gave the right profession or the one who obeyed? Jesus warned us in Matthew 7:21, “Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
This first letter of John is filled with warnings, exhortations and admonitions to examine our lifestyles to see if we are in the faith. 1 John 2:29 says, “If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him.” Again in 1 John 3:7-10 we read, “Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; 8 the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10 By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.” Notice that John puts the emphasis in these verses on practice. What are we characterized by? Are we characterized by righteousness or sin? This is not saying that true believers never sin! He already warned us in 1 John 1:8-9, “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” This is not a sinless perfection, but a practice that is characterized by righteousness. 1 John 3:24 says, “The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.”
Simply put, if we have eternal life we will know it by our practice, by our lifestyle, and by our righteousness. This is not unique to John. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” If we have been born again, it will be evident in our actions. We see in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” Are you living a life characterized by righteousness?
A third question that we can ask ourselves from 1 John is, Am I living a life characterized by love? John wrote in 1 John 2:9-11, “The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. 10 The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. 11 But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.” Again, we see John contrast what someone says with who they really are in this text. The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in darkness. We can say that we are Christians, but if we do not love the brethren, the Bible….the standard…says we are in darkness. 1 John 3:10 says, “By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.” This is not a mystery, but is obvious! Love characterizes believers. Consider 1 John 3:14-19: We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 16 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. 19 We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him.” This is how we know that we have eternal life, because we love the brethren. 1 John 4:7-8 says, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” Finally, in 1 John 4:20-21 we read, “If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.”
We will see the last 4 questions tomorrow. Until then...
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