THE REQUISITES FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS

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THE REQUISITES FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS

“My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” 1 John 2:1-2

Do you want to stop sinning? Do you want to be righteous? Forget the spiritual implications and complications, do you want to lead an upright life? Do you want to be a truly well-respected member of your community, one that has no shady skeletons in your closet?

Silly questions, aren’t they? Of course we do. And we try. We watch ourselves. We watch our words. We watch what we post on our social media accounts and we watch how we conduct ourselves in public. Yet, no one can really say for sure that there is nothing out there that will not incriminate us. We all have done something or said something or behaved in a less than desirable way. So really, we are just waiting for those things to come full circle and bite us in the rear.

So when we read a claim like this,

“My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” 1 John 2:1

It really makes us sit up and take notice, for not only will you not sin after you read the things that John has to say, if you ever do sin, Jesus is your ‘get out of jail’ card. So what’s the catch? What are the requisites? How do we get in on it?

“I write to you, little children,
Because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.
I write to you, fathers,
Because you have known Him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
Because you have overcome the wicked one.
I write to you, little children,
Because you have known the Father.
I have written to you, fathers,
Because you have known Him who is from the beginning.
I have written to you, young men,
Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you,
And you have overcome the wicked one.” 1 John 2:12-14

Hang on, our sins are already forgiven us? We have already overcome the wicked one? We are strong and the word of God abides in us? When did all that happen?

Well beloved,

“He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:10-13

So the moment we believe in the name of Jesus,

“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

That was when the word of God started to abide in you. That was when you became strong enough to say ‘no’ to sin. That was when your sins were forgiven you and that was when you have overcome the wicked one.

You know, in life, it is really easy to forget those simple yet vitally important facts. There are so many distractions. So many things pull us away from the straight and narrow. When things get tough in the office, underhanded means of managing our own appraisals become attractive. When things get tough in our businesses, underhanded sources of income become attractive. When things get tough in our marriages, underhanded sources of comfort become attractive. And soon, the things of the world start to get attractive.

Yet we know that we should

“Never give your hearts to this world or to any of the things in it. A man cannot love the Father and love the world at the same time. For the whole world-system, based as it is on men’s primitive desires, their greedy ambitions and the glamour of all that they think splendid, is not derived from the Father at all, but from the world itself. The world and all its passionate desires will one day disappear. But the man who is following God’s will is part of the permanent and cannot die.” 1 John 2:15-17 [PHILLIPS]

But it is difficult. We get tempted and we do. And after we do, waves of guilt and condemnation set in. We start to feel that because we should have known better, we have let our Father down. So out of guilt and shame, we start to hide away from our Father’s presence, we start to head for the shadows.

Yet beloved, that is the very thing we need not do. Indeed,

“And this is how we know [daily, by experience] that we have come to know Him [to understand Him and be more deeply acquainted with Him]: if we habitually keep [focused on His precepts and obey] His commandments (teachings).” 1 John 2:3 [AMP]

So Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6

Do you therefore now presume to get right with God on your own steam? If you therefore now think that you have become too wretched for Jesus to have anything to do with you, you can actually still get right with our Father on your own?

And when Jesus said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

Do you therefore now think that you can find rest from your fears, worries and insecurities on your own?

And when Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” John 6:35

Do you therefore now think that you can find sustenance away from His care and provision?

Yes, alright. So you sinned. But Jesus does say,

“…this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Matthew 26:28

So because of that,

“…He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

There’s no need to feel guilty about it anymore. Feel bad if feeling bad makes you not want to sin anymore. But don’t let anything make you believe that your righteous position in Jesus has changed. Nothing has changed.

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:1

And because of that, stay in the light. Stay in the presence of our Father.

“Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.” 1 John 2:15-17 [MSG]

There is no need to turn to any other source of protection and provision other than our Father’s. His love and His care are as true for you now as they were before you committed that sin which you haven’t forgiven yourself for; because, and here’s the rub, our Father has forgiven you for it already, Jesus has forgiven you for it already, so the only one who has yet to forgive you for it, is you.

Beloved, indeed,

“I write this, dear children, to guide you out of sin. But if anyone does sin, we have a Priest-Friend in the presence of the Father: Jesus Christ, righteous Jesus.” 1 John 2:1 [MSG]

Yes, you may have sinned. Yes, you may still be in sin. But in Jesus, is your priest. He has absolved you of your sin’s consequence because He took your punishment for you. And despite that, He knows that there is still a sense of guilt and condemnation that is in you and that is why He is also your friend. Go to Him and let Him friend you. Let Him show you why in Him, you have already met all requisites for the righteous life. Let Him show you why in Him, you are already righteous in our Father’s eyes. Then rest in His love knowing that no matter what, you can always walk in His light.

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