Our scripture this morning is 1 John 3:1-10.
See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him. Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure. Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God. And you know that Jesus came to take away our sins, and there is no sin in him. Anyone who continues to live in him will not sin. But anyone who keeps on sinning does not know him or understand who he is. Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous. But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil. Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they are children of God. So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the devil. Anyone who does not live righteously and does not love other believers does not belong to God.
John tells us that “Anyone who does not live righteously and does not love other believers does not belong to God” (v. 10). To be honest, none of us are without sin, but when we live in God’s love, we make a conscious effort to avoid sin and take responsibility for our failings, asking forgiveness and repenting. This is what separates the children of God from those of the world.
You have heard the saying “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven”, and this is true because when something comes between us and God, we ask for His mercy and strength to do better. The difference between Judas betraying Jesus and Peter denying Jesus is that Peter remains connected to Him and accepts His forgiveness, becoming a leader in the early church. When sin enters our lives, running away won’t help.
God wants to forgive us, but we must want forgiveness and be willing to admit our wrongdoing. In this way we can be restored to God’s family and continue the work He has for us. We don’t carry our past sins as baggage, we give them up to the Lord and move on to better lives in Him.
Loving Lord, we know we have failed before but You came to take away our sins. Help us to live in Your forgiveness, made new by Your mercy, carrying the Good News to everyone. Amen.