I Stand Redeemed!

1 John 3:4-10 
4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. 5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. 6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. 7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. 8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
Hold on just one minute! Did John just say that Christians do not sin? So what does that mean about me? I know that I sin, I know that I fail, I know how broken and scarred I am. Some teach that this means that to be christian means that sin no longer applies to them and they can do whatever they want. Some teach that this means you can lose your salvation. Some take this as a contradiction in scripture. So what exactly is John telling us? I believe there are two truths that we can see in Scripture that apply here to help us understand what John is saying and to encourage us in our walk with Christ.
First there is the truth that when we surrender our lives to Christ and receive the salvation that He so freely offers us a transformation takes place that radically changes us! Ephesians 2:1 calls it a “quickening” – we were dead in trespasses and sin and at the moment that Christ comes into our lives we became alive in Him. The Spirit of God takes up residence in our hearts and we are forever changed and there is no power in the universe that can separate us from the Love of God (Romans 8:38-39) Because of this the power of sin is broken in our lives and the Spirit convicts of of our sin and moves us to repentance!  Yes we sin – but we do not continue in sin thanks to the power of God that lives within us!
Second there is the truth that when God looks at us who have been saved, He sees us through the blood of Christ. While we will never know sinless perfection on this earth, the righteousness of Christ has been applied to our lives so that we stand before Him Redeemed! Forgiven! Through Christ! There is no penalty, there is nothing that separates us from God’s love! The Price has been paid, the victory has been won and now we can know that no matter how scarred and broken we are, no matter how many times we fall when God looks on us what he sees is not our failures or our sin – He sees His Son who bore our wrath, who took our shame, who paid our price. 

Today as we ReFocus our hearts and minds on Christ let us rejoice in the truth that through Jesus we are made clean! We who have trusted in Christ stand before God Justified (Just as if I’d never sinned) and Redeemed. Now it should be our desire to live a life worthy of His precious name!

The Love of Adoption!

1 John 3:1-3 
3 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
With over 130 million orphans in the world it is easy to see the need for families who are willing to expand their families through the ministry of adoption. So what stops us? The price tag is one barrier. One adoption group says that it cost an average of $42,337. This is more than what many of us make in a year. Legal fees, travel expenses and other special requirements cause adoption to be out of most of our grasp. There is the barrier of fear. Fear of the process, of our ability to care for a child who has been abandoned, fear of what others will think. Then there is selfishness. We have our lives figured out and bringing a new child into the mix would upset everything. Before you think I am trying to shame you or coerce you into adopting a child, I am not. You must follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in your life and family. But for those who have reached outside of their home to bring a new child into their family through adoption, they have the awesome opportunity to be a picture of God’s Love to the world.
The word “behold” in verse 1 means to look at and understand. John wants us to understand God’s love for us with the backdrop of the fact that He has adopted us as sons! I have heard adoptive parents say that they love their “natural” born children because they are born into their family. Then in the same breath they will say that they love their “adoptive” children because they chose to! Each love is inexpressible and beautiful, and each is a picture of God’s Love toward us. One is not greater than the other. But the point I want to make here is that God chose to love us. He loved us before we ever knew Him and showed this love by paying the price of our redemption through the precious blood of His own Son. (Galatians 4:4-5)
Do we fully understand what it means to be child of God? John tells us that what we have in store for us is not something that we can fully know this side of heaven – but this one thing we do know; when that day comes and we see our Savior face to face we shall be like Him. With His righteousness, His purity, His love. This thought should give us the desire to live a life that is worthy of His Name. Do I need to know what all of this will look like? No – I just have to stand in Awe of the truth that I am His because He chose me! Then, when that day comes, I will see what it truly means to be a son of God!
Today as we ReFocus our hearts and minds on Christ let us consider the truth that we are His! The Adoption that we have in Christ is a beautiful manifestation of God’s love toward us. What are we doing to express His love through our lives to the fatherless of this world?“ It is important to realize we adopt not because we are rescuers. No. We adopt because we are rescued.” — David Platt
Jude 27 “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”

The Truth That Gives Confidence

1 John 2:26-29 
26 These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. 27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. 28 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. 29 If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.
I remember growing up on an old dirt road in the middle of nowhere. We would spend our days down at the river fishing and swimming or just playing in the woods. My mom would always tell me not to go our of “hollering” distance! It was a simpler and safer time. In the world today we want to keep our kids close so we can protect them from those who would try to seduce them away from safety. The news is full of those who have sought out to harm our children so we bring them in close and watch over them. But as careful as we are with our children, we seem to let our guards down when it comes to our hearts.
Just like there are evil people in this world who want to seduce our kids away from us, there are also those who try to move us away from the safety of God’s truth to follow their lies. The internet is full of those saying that they are teaching the Word of God but in fact they are teaching false doctrine and man’s opinions. We must remember that just because a person claims to be proclaiming the truth doesn’t mean that they are. If what they are teaching does not match up with God’s word then it is a lie and should be rejected. The people at Berea were considered more noble because they compared what they were hearing from the apostles to what scripture said (Acts 17:11). 
John tells us that we have an “anointing” abiding in us – the Holy Spirit! Jesus was telling His disciples about the Spirit that would come to indwell us when He said in John 16:13, “1Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” As we abide in Christ and the Spirit abides in us we will live in the truth of God’s Word! When those who teach false doctrine come and knock on your door it is the Holy Spirit that will bring the truths of scripture that you have learned to your mind so you can recognize the lies! Why do so many get led away from scriptural Christianity? Because they haven’t spent any time soaking in the Word of God and Abiding in Christ!
When Jesus returns for His Church and we appear before Him to give an account for our life (not for salvation but for rewards for faithfulness) will we be able to stand before Him in confidence knowing that we followed in His truth? Or will be bow our heads in shame because we chose to follow those who taught lies, catered to our pride and self-esteem, and led us away from Christ? We will never be perfect this side of heaven, but knowing that the author of our salvation is perfect should motivate us to live in His truth and strive to be like Him! We can only do that as we study and apply His word to our lives!
Today as we ReFocus our hearts and minds on Christ we need to take a close look at who we are allowing in influence our Christian walk so that we can one day come before Christ in confidence, knowing that He has been the standard for our life!