I have a 14 year old son. When he was younger and we would go out together (even now, sometimes), people would often tell me he looks just like me. One man’s sentiment was, “That sure is your son.” However, if those same people were to see his dad, they, like many others who know who his dad is, would say that he looks just like him.
I find it amazing that a child can look like both parents simultaneously, but it happens, and it’s normal. But, I don’t find that so normal when dealing with children of the spiritual realm. What do I mean? There are many people in our society who profess to be Christian. They have the walk down pat, “the talk” down pat, the before, during, and after service prayers down pat… I mean, everything about them seems to identify them as Christians, children of God. However, when we see many of these “Christians” outside of the four walls of the church, we see something totally different. They’re getting drunk, gossiping and slandering, cursing, stealing, clubbing, fornicating, running with those who oppose Christ… In this state, everything about them identifies them as children of the devil (John 8:44). How, then, do we know which identity is accurate? And how can we know if this professed brother or sister, or even you, if you can identify with any of these behaviors, is truly saved? Let us go to the Bible to find out.
1 John 3:4-10 lays it all out perfectly for us. It says:
Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that He [Jesus] appeared in order to take away sins, and in Him there is no sin. No one who abides in Him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen Him or known Him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as He is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 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. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
1 John 5:18 gives us perfect clarity as well. It says: “We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them.”
Sisters, these passages leave no room for question. Those who are truly born again cannot continue to practice sin. (Note: to practice is to carry out or perform an activity or exercise habitually or regularly.) If you, or others in the church, are comfortable practicing (living in) sin, the claim to Christianity is false, and you (and them) need to be born again.
Now, does this mean that Christians never sin? No it doesn’t, and we know this by the words of 1 John 1:8, which says, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” And also by verse 9, which says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” So we see through these verses that Christians do, indeed, sin. No Christian can say that he/she is without sin.
Confused? If so, let’s clear that up. As stated, Christians do sin, as we still have a sin nature (our flesh); the difference is we don’t sin willfully or habitually. We don’t practice sin. We practice righteousness, although we sometimes fall to fleshliness (e.g., frustration, doubt, anger, quarreling). True Christians will not sin willfully and habitually, as the Holy Spirit who lives within us won’t allow us to be comfortable in sin. He convicts, leads, and guides us into the truth of God, and the truth of God reminds us that sin is abhorrence to God (it put His Son on the cross!). And because we love God and He hates evil, we, too, follow in His way, and we hate evil also.
That said, if you see or know someone who identifies as “Christian,” yet is living a lifestyle filled with sin, you now know that that person isn’t a true believer and doesn’t define those of us who are. Many have a form of godliness, but only those of us who’ve had a true encounter with God, will display true godliness.
On the other hand, if you are the person who “identifies” with Christianity, yet are living a lifestyle that opposes God, you now know that you have not been truly converted. But, don’t fret, because you can be, and I tell you all about how in the “Invitation” section.
Enjoy your day!