Best of Daily Reflections: If We Love God, Why Do We Sin?
See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God … No one who abides in him sins …
1 John 3:1-7
June 10, 2009, was a momentous day. That was the day the number of words in the English language passed the million-word mark (according to the Global Language Monitor).
When John Stott read 1 John 3:1, he responded, “The Father’s love is so unearthly, so foreign to this world, that I wonder from what country it may come.”
There aren’t enough words to describe the wondrous, awesome, and amazing love that God has for us. Even a million words aren’t enough. In fact, words themselves aren’t adequate. We need a whole new kind of language. God’s love is of such a quality that the only way God can express his love is to adopt us as his children.
When Lauren Freeman, a local newscaster here in Houston, returned from maternity leave, her broadcast teammates were kidding her about sleepless nights, diapers, and other unmentionable aspects of infancy. She replied, “Everyone warned me about these things before the birth, but no one told me that I wouldn’t care.”
By all means I encourage you to study God’s love, but don’t be surprised if you come to the same conclusion as Paul who prayed to “have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:18-19).
God’s love surpasses knowledge. There simply aren’t enough words.
Now here’s the great irony: love is the greatest force in the universe, but it does not insist on its own way. It will transform you into a person whose operating system is no longer defined by sin but by the character of God. I think that’s what John means by his most provocative declaration, “No one who abides in Jesus sins.”
When we follow Jesus, we don’t stop sinning, but we stop enjoying our sins. The fact that I can no longer enjoy sin is the sign that a seismic shift of the soul has taken place, so that now my whole nature, the longing of my heart, soul, mind, and will is to become like Jesus.
See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.
Everyone who commits sin is guilty of lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he was revealed to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him sins; no one who sins has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Everyone who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous.
1 John 3:1-7
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: In what area of your life have you encountered the most intense experience of love? Since love doesn’t insist on its own way, where in your life do you find yourself desiring to be a more Christlike person? Give some examples of sins that didn’t use to bother you but now they do.
PRAYER: Loving God, help me know as much of you as I can know. Help me give all that I know about myself to you. I give you permission to expand the territory of your loving influence in my life. Amen.