No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.
We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
(1John 2:3-4 NIV)
The above verses clearly indicate that true salvation results in changed actions. Unfortunately, many followers of Jesus emphasize salvation by God’s grace so much that they don’t seem to have any expectation of lives changing as a result of salvation. Because of this, I believe many people who aren’t truly saved are deceived into believing otherwise.
For John, a test of true salvation isn’t having some spiritual gift, having a special spiritual experience, or saying the right spiritual words. For John, a primary evidence of salvation is obedience to God. Consider John’s statement again:
We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. (1John 2:3-4 NIV)
The author of Hebrews also addresses the issue of obedience:
If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. (Hebrews 10:26-27 NIV)
Paul also addresses this issue:
Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. 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. (1Corinthians 6:9-11 NIV)
I am not claiming that followers of Jesus are perfect and never sin. But I am saying that sin should be the exception in our lives, not the norm, especially the longer we know Jesus. As John also writes:
My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. (1John 2:1-2 NIV)
What about you? Is your life characterized by obedience to God, or obedience to sin? If your life is still characterized by obedience to sin rather than obedience to God, then I encourage you to revisit chapter 16 (What Must I Do to be Saved?), chapter 27 (Obey), chapter 30 (Set Free from Sin), chapter 38 (Walk by the Spirit), and chapter 42 (Not by Works, Not by Law).
For Further Reflection
Matthew 7:21-27: “Lord, Lord…”
Luke 6:46-49: “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’...”
Romans 6:1-23: Shall we go on sinning?
1Corinthians 5:9-11: With such a man do not even eat.
Galatians 5:19-26: The works of the flesh.
Galatians 6:1: If someone is caught in a sin.
Galatians 6:7-10: You will reap what you sow.
1Peter 1:14-16: Be holy.
1Peter 2:11-12: Abstain from sinful desires.
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