Abiding:the necessity, the result, the possibility


No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him.
(1 John 3:6 NASB)
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.
(1 John 3:9 NASB)
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.
(1 John 3:24 NASB)



The concept of abiding appears throughout this chapter and becomes key to understanding the writer's concept of living without sin. This concept has been hard for Christians to accept because we are humans who live in a fallen world. How could God expect us to live without sin? The answer comes in this chapter and in the fact that "we," on our own cannot live without sin. We are reminded that the "seed" of God abides in those who are born again -- and that means that when we are born again, God himself abides in us and God cannot sin. It is those who "know" God on an intimate level who do not sin -- but the possibility exists because of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.



The necessity: Learning to abide is necessary for the Christian walk. Those who have "seen Him or knows Him" are not going to sin. Over and over again we are called upon to "seek" the face of God. We are to get to know him so well that we are constantly seeking his face in all things. We are to be his reflection to the world and only when we are turned completely to his face can we be that complete and total reflection. This is how we abide -- by turning toward God, by seeking his face day in and day out, by desiring to be as close to him as humanly possible.

The result: We are transformed into his image and likeness here on this earth! Too often when we look at these passages we think that there is some kind of super-human effort involved in living a sinless life. It has nothing to do with me (except staying close to him) and everything to do with him. If, when people look at me they see Jesus -- they don't see a sinner. They see Jesus -- who lived without sin. We seem to get this wrong imagining that we can live with a list of rules and get it all right and therefore be without sin. The key is to abide and abiding means that Christ is IN us and he is the one who is without sin. The more that he consumes us, the more of his nature is in us and we do not sin.

The possibility: This only became possible through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. It became obvious that humanity could not walk this journey by simply following the rules of the Old Testament. Jesus had to die, be raised again and go up again into heaven so that the Holy Spirit could come and live in each one of his followers. Again -- no one said that we were supposed to try and live a sinless life on our own, but we are to allow the Holy Spirit free rein in our lives.

Sadly, too many Christians want to give excuses for continuing to live in sin -- usually because we're just "human" and can't help but live this way. God's intention for humanity was to abide in him. To be truly "human" is NOT to sin. It is the corruption of humanity which sins. God is calling us back into the original relationship he intended for humanity so that we may all become truly "human" again. The secret to the Christian life is not to focus on trying to be righteous or to live free from sin, but to learn to abide. This is the greatest thing that we can do as followers of Christ -- to simply abide in him -- and then allow him to be revealed through us. He has made it all possible!


Lord, may today be a day of abiding in you in all things! Amen.


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