The Struggle is Real!

1 John 5:18-19

18 We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. 19 And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.

As John begins his closing remarks for this letter you will see one word quite a few times packed into these verses, the word “know”. If you will remember back to when we begin this journey through the book of 1 John I told you that the goal was for us to grow in our knowledge of who God is and what that means in our daily lives. The two Greek words in these passages that are translated “know” is oida and ginosko. The word oida means to know “reflectively”. In other words this is knowledge that has been obtained in the past that helps us comprehend a current truth. We will look at the second word tomorrow…

In our two verse today John tells us two things that we should know (oida) that will help us in our walk with Christ. First, he says that we must know that we are no longer under the “power” of sin. The first part of verse 18 doesn’t say that a Christian doesn’t sin, but that he or she doesn’t “continue in sin”. I could go into the whole Greek construction of this verse and impress you with my knowledge (or at-least ability to read a lot of commentaries and dictionaries!) but I would rather focus on what this means for us today. When we “know” this we realize that as a child of God we are no longer under the dominion of sin (Romans 6:14) and that even Satan has no power to cause us to act contrary to God’s word. Romans 6:11 says we need to understand the truth that when we knelt at the cross and accepted the free gift of salvation through Christ that we died to sin so that we can live for HIM. This means that the power of sin is broken in our lives and we no longer are under its control.

If that was where John stopped then I think most of us would be confused right now, because we do struggle with sin. There are times when the sin in my life seems to be what is driving the car and I almost seem powerless to stop it. That is because of verse 19. While we have been saved from the “power” of sin in our lives, we still have to deal with the “presence” of sin. Until we reach heaven, we live in a world that lies under the shadow of wickedness. Everywhere we look we can see this truth. Murder, adultery, theft, hate – and that’s just the morning news! This is where we live and work and play. It may not have power over us, but we cannot escape its influence because it is everywhere.

So what do we do? Paul understood this struggle. In Romans 7:15 he says that the things he wants to do he doesn’t do (live blameless and holy) but  the things that he doesn’t want to do (Sin) those are the things that he does! Sound familiar? This is my daily struggle. I want to live for Christ as a holy and blameless servant of His, but then my flesh takes over as it is confronted with the presence of sin all around me, and I fail. I find myself saying with Paul, “O wretched man that I am!” But then he turns and says in verse 25, “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”.  The Power of sin is broken, the presence of sin is real – so what do we do? We turn to Christ! It is by His blood we have been redeemed from the dominion of sin, and by His power that we can have the victory over sin. We struggle, but we do not struggle alone! The God of the universe has accepted us as His and through Him we must live!

Today as we ReFocus our hearts and minds on Christ remember that sin no longer has power over us even though we must live in with sin all around us. We are His and because of this we do not struggle alone. When you are tempted today and your flesh begins to pull at you, remember that you don’t have to give in. Live in the knowledge of who you are in Christ!