Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
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February 1 – Continuing In Repentance And Faith

“If anyone sees his brother sin a sin not to death, he shall ask, and He shall give him life for those that do not sin to death. There is a sin to death, I do not say that he shall pray for it.  All unrighteousness is sin, and there is a sin not to death.  We know that everyone who has been born of God does not continue to sin, but the one born of God guards himself, and the evil one does not touch him.”  1 John 5:16-18

Devotional Thought For The Day

In these verses John gives insight, advice, and encouragement to us in regard to how we are to think about the sin which continues to inhere in us even as Christians, and which “comes out” in our behavior – our thinking, speaking, and doing [the sin in ourselves, and also in our brothers and sisters in the faith].  We remember his warning:  “If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us . . . If we say we have not sinned we are calling God a liar, and His Word is not in us.” [1 John 1:8,10]  So those who have been “born of God” and do not “continue to sin” are not “sinless,” “without sin,” or “perfect.”  However, there are two distinct differences in how those born of God deal with the reality of their sinful nature and the sin which continues to afflict them:  1] they repent in sorrow of the sins they commit, not justifying themselves or excusing themselves, but taking comfort in God’s gracious forgiveness and mercy alone; and 2] their commitment and orientation is away from sin, to avoid it and to live consistent with love.  We live in the constant assurance that: “if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.  And He is the blood atonement concerning our sins, and not concerning ours only, but also concerning the sins of all the world.” [1 John 2:1,2]  This is living by faith, and only those “born of God” have this faith and “live.”

So, while it is certain that “the wages of sin is death” [Rom. 6:23], and this includes all sin, this general punishment and consequence of sin has been lifted off of those who are in Christ Jesus, those who believe in Him.  For “he that believes the Son has everlasting life . . . and shall not come into condemnation but has passed from death to life.” [John 3:36; 5:24]  This is true because He is the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world, the “blood atonement concerning our sins . . . [and] the sins of all the world.”  It is because of this that we no longer “pursue” sin and “heartily” rejoice in it.  Rather, for those born of God all sin brings godly repentance, sorrow for the sin that remains in us and the sin we commit, and confession of all sin to God, and joy that “if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” [1 John 1:9]  There is but one “sin unto death” – and that is incorrigible, stubborn, refusal to repent of one’s sins, and rejection of God’s gift of forgiveness and life in Christ Jesus.  This is the sin against the Holy Spirit – rejecting the witness He bears to the Son of God, that He is our Savior, the Savior of the world.

So we take care not to allow ourselves to become “committed to” and “oriented toward” sin – as this leads to self-justification and destroys our life of humble repentance.  When we no longer repent and confess we fall into a multitude of very dark sins – self-deception, rejection of the truth, calling God a liar, and rejecting His Word.  Worse, we thus lose our faith, trust, and confidence in Christ alone, no longer utilizing Him as our Advocate with the Father, but rather “advocating” for ourselves – explaining and excusing our sin, even to God.  The end of this is unbelief, rejection of Christ as our Savior and Advocate, and repudiation of the witness of the Holy Spirit in regard to Christ – which is the “sin unto death.”  So we take great care to “guard” ourselves, so that the evil one [and all those who do his bidding] do not “touch” us. This requires constant vigilance and care – but we do so gladly and joyfully, for there is no greater joy than the loving and cleansing presence of our Savior and Advocate, the Lord Jesus Christ, and we have no greater desire than to live in love.

When we see others “sin,” we pray for them – that God would grant them continued repentance and faith, so that they may continue to receive life from the Lord Jesus Christ.  For the seemingly impenitent, we pray that God would bring them to repentance, regardless of how painful that might have to be for them.  For the incorrigibly impenitent there is nothing to pray – there is no way to pray that they be blessed in their ongoing impenitence and commitment to sin, darkness, and hatred of God.  We know that for them there remains only increasingly dismal levels of God’s wrath and punishment, finally in the dark depths of hell – where they want to be and demand to be.  For these we do not pray – they are well beyond our help, and have placed themselves even beyond God’s help.  And we take care and guard ourselves, and continue in a life of honest repentance and faith in the Savior Jesus Christ, knowing that the evil one would gladly drag us back into the darkness of the “sin unto death.”  So we pray God’s continued mercy and protection for ourselves, and for all our fellow believers in Christ, even [or especially] when aware of our many sins of weakness.

Prayer For The Day

Blessed Lord Jesus Christ, our great Savior and Advocate, thank You for the life and salvation You have given us, the assurance that our destiny is the glorious light of Your wondrous heavenly kingdom!  Thank You also for the wisdom and guidance You have given to us in Your Word, that we may know how to guard ourselves from the evil one and how to pray for You to keep in us a life of repentance and faith.  Grant us joy and optimism even as we struggle with repentance and commitment to what is good and right, what is truly loving.  Deal with our adversaries, the forces of darkness, with Your wisdom, justice, and power.  Amen.