Yesterday morning, we continued our study through 1 John in our series titled, “Know.” I preached 1 John 2:28-3:10 and it’s abundantly clear that the older and wise apostle was not interested in allowing his readers to remain in a state of spiritual ambiguity. He pressed them and provided sobering contrasts to help them evaluate their own soul. We must do the same in our day. Take time to consider these three important questions derived from this section.
When Christ Returns—Will You Be Ashamed?
John points to the reality of Jesus’ return and presses his readers to abide in Christ. He then moves on to make the point that assurance is rooted and grounded in the practice of righteousness. Nobody can have assurance of their salvation if they practice unrighteousness.
On the flip side of the coin is the reality for those who practice unrighteousness. All such people will be plagued with doubts and if they’re part of the fellowship of the local church community—they should be in a state of unrest spiritually. No true Christian will find peace in sin.
Is Your Hope in Christ Alone?
John then asks his readers to “see” what kind of love the Lord has shown to us. The Father has loved us in a “wonderful” way. The Greek term used by John is only used six times in the New Testament and always implies a state of amazement. We should be amazed and stand in awe of God’s amazing grace that has been lavished upon us.
John then goes on to say, “And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure” (1 John 3:3). The Father has loved us in a marvelous way through the Son, and our hope rests in Christ alone. No other hope proves to be true outside of Christ. That’s the grievous error of the Roman Catholic Church’s doctrine of works. They add to the work of Christ and point people to hope in Christ plus their own merit. Consider the following errors of the Roman Catholic Church:
Necessity of the Church for Salvation:
“Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation,” (CCC 846).
Necessity of Baptism for Salvation:
“Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament. The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude…” (CCC 1257).
Mary’s Role in our Grace:
“Her [Mary’s] role in relation to the Church and to all humanity goes still further. ‘In a wholly singular way she cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope, and burning charity in the Savior’s work of restoring supernatural life to souls. For this reason she is a mother to us in the order of grace’” (CCC 968).
“We believe that the Holy Mother of God, the new Eve, Mother of the Church, continues in heaven to exercise her maternal role on behalf of the members of Christ” (CCC 975).
What Is the Fruit of Your Life—Righteousness or Lawlessness?
John the apostle then makes the sobering contrast between the children of Christ and the children of the devil. He will not permit anyone to remain in the shadows regarding their soul. He points them to light or darkness — Christ or the devil.
The apostle Paul did the same thing in his letter to the church at Corinth. 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 – “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?  What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?  What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,
‘I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
 Therefore go out from their midst,
and be separate from them, says the Lord,
and touch no unclean thing;
then I will welcome you,
 and I will be a father to you,
and you shall be sons and daughters to me,
says the Lord Almighty.’”
The Christian cannot continue in an unbroken pattern of willful sin. The tenses of these verbs are present – which has the idea of continuous action. The Christian cannot keep sinning with an unbroken pattern. Why? Christ has changed his heart and he will not have a desire to keep living in sin.
Although a Christian will sin, will make mistakes, will fall at times, the point is clear—the Christian no longer enjoys his sin. Through a life change that takes place as the work of God in regeneration—the Christian is born of God (born again) and suddenly has a new appetite and desire to love God.
Do you want to know why so many people who claim to be born again are continually practicing sinful rebellion and lawlessness? It’s because they saved themselves through religion – (walking the aisle, praying a prayer, or getting baptized). They equate that as their salvation! That’s why they are full of religion and the devil at the same time. Listen to what Jesus said about those who practice a life of sin (lawlessness).
Matthew 7:21-23 – “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’  And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’