Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Test #5: Do you still sin?

STOP READING!!!!  Pray first before you read anything following this sentence as He can give you better answers by His Spirit to what He's talking about in 1 John about sin than I ever could!!  That said, I'm going to do my best to listen to Him and see what He means by, "No one who lives in Him keeps on sinning.  No one who continues to sin has either seen Him or known Him." - 1 John 3:6, NIV.

First rule - we can't take this one verse, omit context, not look at the rest of scripture and say that somehow if I sin I'm not a Christian.  Why?  Because of 1 John 2:1, "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." - NIV.

Second rule - just because I sin and He speaks on my behalf does not mean that I get to water down the message He's giving me in 3:6.  Hold on because I'm going to make another attempt at looking at a language I've not learned...Greek.

First, take a look at the following:

1. aorist — The aorist verb tense is used by the writer to present the action of a verb as a “snapshot” event. The verb’s action is portrayed simply and in summary fashion without respect to any process. Heiser, M. S. (2005; 2005). Glossary of Morpho-Syntactic Database Terminology. Logos Bible Software.

2.  present — The verb tense where the writer portrays an action in process or a state of being with no assessment of the action’s completion.
Heiser, M. S. (2005; 2005). Glossary of Morpho-Syntactic Database Terminology. Logos Bible Software.

I don't know about you, but when I was in school I NEVER paid as much attention to tense as I find myself needing to do now.  I had breakfast with a friend yesterday and made the comment that I'm glad the Lord used Greek for the NT as opposed to English as Greek seems to be a much more robust language.  At any rate, using the two definitions above lets compare 2:1 to 3:6 and 3:9.

2:1 uses the Greek word "hamartano":  to sin.  3:6 and 3:9 use the Greek word "hamartano" as well.  The major difference is that in 2:1 the verb tense is the aorist and in 3:6,9 the tense is the present.  As best I can tell it is the "snapshot" sin versus the "ongoing" sin.  Said another way, if I am living a life separate from Him I am by definition living in sin, a constant state of being, the state of being in which He found me before raising me to life with His Son (Eph 2:4-9).  Because Jesus speaks for me before His Father my "one off" sins, those committed post salvation, are covered by His blood.

Here is how the test works in my life.  Am I convicted that what I've done is wrong?  Am I concerned about a trespass against Him or do I have a vague moral objection to my actions?  Is my lifestyle one that would provide no evidence of salvation?  I'm not saying this very clearly....

I enjoy playing golf.  It is an infuriating and rewarding sport (okay some will debate with me the "sport" aspect due to all that walking and loafing about).  Let's assume the life of sin looks like using a baseball bat to hit the ball around the course, par is a random number made up by each individual player, and 18 holes has no real meaning.  Salvation looks like Arnold Palmer walking up to you with a bag of golf clubs, lessons on the rules of golf and how to swing the different clubs in the bag.  Post salvation you now know to start off in the tee box of hole one (unless the course is crowded and they send you off on number 10, that's okay too) and you only have the number of strokes equal to par for that hole within which to get the ball in the hole.  What happens when you don't get the ball in the hole at or under par?  Does that mean that you are in the same boat as those running all over the course with baseball bats?  Absolutely not!

My life is spent on the driving range (reading, praying), going out on the course (the rest of my day), hitting slices of the tee box (aorist sin), playing out of the rough into the fairway (forgiveness and restoration) and hopefully not 3-putting!  By His grace I am no longer playing the right game with the wrong tools (present sin).  This is important to me because I am tempted to take what I read in 1 John 2 and 3 while listening to the enemy in my ear telling me that there's no evidence of my salvation, that I am falling short.  By His grace and mercy I have fallen short (Rom 3:23), but He paid the price for me (1 John 2:1,2).

Father, please forgive me if I've in any way misrepresented Your word or watered it down this morning.  I don't want to make light of the sin that I commit, yet the accuser would have me bogged down in shame and condemnation, not the freedom You offer through Jesus Christ.  Please lead us in wisdom and discernment and the conviction of Your Spirit.  I love You, Father.  In Jesus' name, amen.

1 comment:

  1. Talley, that was wonderful!!! I'm in AZ this week working on a major challenge in my marriage. God has been speaking to me in AMAZING ways! This was a message for me today!!! Thank you for sharing your love of Jesus with others! Praise God for His love and forgiveness and for the BLOOD of Jesus!!!