Psalm 19

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It’s been a long time and for that I apologize.  Been busy as school started back up.  Started Seminary and being the RD of the dorms is tough and time consuming, but a blessing from God.

As I look out the window, a beautiful fall day, not a cloud in the sky I think about Psalm 19.  “The heavens declare the glory of God and the sky displays His handiwork.”  “Day after day it speaks out; night after night it reveals His greatness.”  We should be amazed at creation and the glory that it attributes to God.  How often have you sat outside and worshiped God just because of creation?  It gives Him glory!  Through Creation the existence of God is clearly seen (Rom. 1).  Though there is no voice through nature, the Psalmist writes, “its voice echoes throughout the earth.”

The Psalmist moves from Creation to the Law, kind of an odd move, but he moves from a general revelation of God to a very specific revelation.  God is known through Creation, but He is even more known through His Law.  God’s law is fair and makes one joyful.  Huh… I’m to be joyful from the law that God has given.  Another odd thought, yet as I read through Leviticus, the joy of seeing God’s holiness and perfection is quite overwhelming.

The commands of the Lord give insight for life.  They are pure and true.  They guide ones life.  They are forever!  The Psalmist relates God’s law to being far superior in value to gold or silver.  One’s means to provide for family and self is far less valuable than the law of God.  The one who follows God’s law finds moral guidance and there he receives the rich reward.

At the end of this Psalm, the Psalmist brings forth a valuable question and plea.  “Who can know all his errors?” Our errors are so many can we even keep track of them all? The obvious answer is no!!!  That puts God’s grace in an even greater light.  I love the plea of the Psalmist to God, “keep me from committing flagrant sins.”  The plea for holiness in this man’s life is an echo for myself and you.  Let us live holy lives, combating sin in every way possible.  Not allowing sin to control our lives is key to living the life of a follower of God.

Finally he calls God his Sheltering Rock and Redeemer.  He knows the law does not save, only God.

Just the progression of this Psalm is so interesting.  I really love the last three verses of the Psalm, a very applicable plea for everyday life!

Coexist? Necessity of One Truth!

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I see a lot of those “coexist” bumper stickers, the ones that have each letter representing a different religion.  I get mixed reactions each time I see one, my first reaction is I kind of chuckle to myself and just think, “what happens when only one of those religions happens to be correct?”  Another part of me thinks, “does this person seriously think that all these religions are correct?” It really just saddens me.

Just a little bit of thinking, even reading of comparisons between religions should tell you that religions cannot coexist.  It’s just not possible.  Religions are so vastly different that coexistence is simply too radical.  They just teach so many different ideas and concepts that they’re all contradictory to each other.  One “truth” in one religions may be a different “truth” in another.  There has to be a standard for these “truth’s” to be accountable too.  On a basic level, Christianity teaches in one God, Buddhism teaches many gods.  Which is right?  On a deeper level, Jesus claimed to be God (John 8:58), Of the major religions, at least none that I can think of, none of their founder’s claimed to be deity.

Coexistence in peace.  Even this is not possible/  They all teach different eschatology, so one has to be right and all others wrong.  The biggest issue with coexistence is it’s reliance upon truth being relative, which under scrutiny is wrong.

When Jesus said in John 14:6, “I AM the Truth!” what did He mean? There is a lot in this simple, yet profound statement.  The statement is singular.  All truth is wrapped up in Jesus.  He not only is the Definer of truth, but He Himself is Truth.  That is who He is!  Who He is and what He does is Truth! If He is Truth then all other “truth” is judged by Him! He is the Absolute!

Why I don’t listen to Contemporary Christian Music (CCM)

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I find it very interesting how our thought processes change throughout the years.  Probably in the Spring of 2010, I wrote a paper defending the usage of CCM in our worship services at church.  Not necessarily to replace hymns but there is a surprising number of Christians out there who say that CCM is “of the devil”.  But now this post will almost be a short defense against the use of CCM in our churches.

Context is important so I will start there.  I was an avid CCM listener.  Bands such as dc Talk, tobyMac, Relient K, Hawk Nelson, Switchfoot were regularly listened to.  Gradually they faded away and I began to listen to hymns.  Groups such as Sovereign Grace, I enjoyed more because they sang hymns and modern day equivalent of hymns.  I found them fascinating and still do.  I found the theology to be biblically accurate and correct.  They are deeper and more truthful than most CCM songs, not to say that they all are that way but it was the general truth.

As I began listening to the Metalcore genre, I found some Christian groups, August Burns Red, For Today, Beartooth, Attack Attack!, Haste the Day, Memphis May Fire, and these bands had lyrics that surpassed that of CCM “worship” when it came to theology.  I cannot stop thinking about why our CCM “worship” music is so shallow.  Again it is not always the case though.

Today, if you were to look at my iTunes, you would see the majority of the CCM is gone.  I listen to a lot of secular music, oldies, Rock ‘N’ Roll, Screamo, etc.  Christian-wise, I stick with the hymns and good theology.

The point that I really want to drive home is find Christian music that is biblically based and biblically accurate.  Believe it or not, most CCM is not biblically based or accurate.

 

Self Defense: A Mind Game

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So far everything has been about God, which is good because ultimately everything is about Him, but I want to switch gears a little bit and go to self-defense.

Self- defense is a mind game. You have to be mentally prepared for what you must do to protect yourself. It doesn’t mean you live a paranoid life thinking trouble is at every corner, but it does mean that you are mentally prepared for what may happen. The world is not a safe place and that is a fact. You live in a constant state of alertness and mental preparedness. You do not look for trouble but you deal with the trouble that does arrive. You are most certainly NOT looking for opportunities to use your firearm (assume that I am talking to conceal carry holders).

If, as a last resort, you must use your gun to deescalate the situation or eliminate the threat, keep in mind that you have to be willing to make that shot. Take notice that I said “willing” rather than “able”. If you can’t shoot someone you have no business carrying a firearm, the mental ability not the physical ability. That seems like common sense but you’d be surprised. Indeed you have to decide mentally if you are able and willing to shoot another human being, more than likely killing them.

You also have to be able to make that shot physically. Marksmanship at the range is one thing, marksmanship in periods of extreme stress is quite another. Getting your heart rate up and blood pumping through your adrenaline laced body tremendously impacts your ability to shoot straight. Owning a gun does not automatically make you a great shot either. Also video games, or airsofting, paintballing, etc, do not make you a marksman either. Indeed all these things help, but only range time and dry-firing actually help your marksmanship skills. Shooting under stress is a huge help in achieving accuracy under stress. Find ways to put yourself under stress and practice using your firearm in those situations.

Also don’t psych yourself out negatively. Look for opportunities to make the shot, not opportunities to miss. Look to make the most out of every opportunity.

Remember that practice does not make perfect, but in this case it makes better. Practice does help with consistency. Practice is good, any kind of practice. Dry-firing, paintballing, airsoft training, active shooter drills. It’s all good and I’ve had experience doing all of these things. They are great training tools. Training as practice really helps dealing with the “what-ifs”

What it is to be a man?

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“Stand true to your calling to be a man. Real women will always be relieved and grateful when men are willing to be men”
Elisabeth Elliot, The Mark of a Man

As a man, I have both asked and heard this question: “What does it take to be a man”? I have wondered about this myself as I am a growing young man.  In other countries they have a “Right of Passage” age, where the child is no longer considered a child anymore, they are now considered an adult.  In the United States, we don’t have that, though I personally believe we should.  I mean we have the age of 16 where you can get a drivers license or 21 where you can buy alcohol (or handguns, which is what I did on my 21st birthday), but those are simply ages where we get more things to do rather than handle more responsibility.  Responsibility is issued by maturity.  I could drive, not because my parent’s let me, but they trusted me and gave me responsibility which held me accountable.

Anyways I am really rabbit trailing, though this rabbit trail is somewhat relevant.  A better question to ask is “where do men go to define themselves?” before you can answer “what it means to be a man?”.

What do we define ourselves with? Violence, sex, sports? We so easily can relate to all of these things, as men.  We know what it is like to be angry and they recognize the power in their anger.  Yes there is power in anger, yet it turns out to be useless and uncontrollable rage.  We understand the allure of sex.  The pleasure that it brings.  We love the teamwork and the action of sports.  But do all these things define us? They sure can.  Do we want those to define us? No! At least I don’t.

What defines me? The answer that I strive for is Christ!  Christ defines me! As Romans 12:1-2 states that I am a “living sacrifice” and I am not to be “conformed to this present world.”  God has a higher calling than that of this world.  As we see this world really conformed to the pattern of Satan, we hold to a higher standard, that of Christ!

This is what I want to define me. Christ.  This whole thing is inspired by reading “The Silence of Adam” by Dr. Larry Crabb.  This book calls for men to walk into the darkness, to confront said darkness and move despite the darkness.  Men are to confront the chaos and move.  We like to just sit back because we “don’t know what to do”.  Oh how many times I have said that.

Anyways, what defines you? Are you defined by things of the world, or things of Christ???!!!

The True Gospel

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Jesus tells us in Mark 13:10 to “preach the Gospel”.  We like to use Matthew 28:16-20 commonly called the “Great Commission” as a command to go preach the Gospel.  Yet these passages are remarkably different.

The passage in Mark 13:10, Jesus simply commands the disciples to preach the Gospel.  There is no actual content of what the Gospel is.  Jesus never tells us what the Gospel is in this passage.  You could say that verse 13 gives content by stating, “do not worry about what to speak.  But say whatever is given to you at that time, for it is not you speaking but the Holy Spirit.”  While I don’t disagree with this passage, I think it would foolish to state that this passage negates the need for a basic group of fundamentals and basic content of what the Gospel is.  Most, if not all theologians would agree with this as well.

But what is the content of the Gospel? First, it involves Christ.  I mean what is the Gospel of Christ without the Person and Work of Jesus Christ.  Really to sum up that point: Read the Gospels, for they are our best biographies and best source of information on Christ, who He is and what He did.

Secondly, His teaching.  To properly understand the Gospel we must understand His teaching.  He tells us to “preach the Gospel” so He will teach us what the Gospel is so that we might preach it.

Probably the best place to look is when He is talking to His disciples to go out in to all the nations and preach (i.e Matt. 28:16-20). Yet there too we find very little content of what the Gospel actually is, in fact we don’t even find the word “gospel” in that passage.  And while this statement rings true, a little, this passage gives us a tremendous look into what the Gospel is.  It makes no mention of Christ’s ministry, death, burial or resurrection, which all theologians would say that these are essential elements.  Scripture makes them essential elements.

Matthew 28:16-20 gives us four things: Discipleship, Evangelism, Baptism and Obedience.  These four things also make up basic tenants of Christianity and anyone that claims Christ.  This is a basic structure of the Gospel.  While this passage gives that basic structure, Luke 24:44-49 gives a little more detail which we’ll get to later.

The sovereign Lordship of Christ is the basis of our preaching.  It’s the basis for everything that we do and truly everything we are in Christ.  Look at verse 18, “all authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to me,” states Jesus Christ.  In verse 17 He is worshiped and accepts that worship.  Only God can be worshiped, therefore Jesus is God.  Jesus deserves our worship.  He is in sovereign control.  The Lordship of Christ is directly linked to our Christian lives and how we live and act.  It also determines what we teach.

“Make Disciples”: The topic of discipleship is a much debated and a very interesting topic.  Suffices to say here, the 11 disciples are told to go make more disciples.  They are not told to make converts, but rather disciples.  This means that everyone who has trusted in Christ as Lord and Savior is a disciple of Christ.  He gives them the specific designation of “disciple”.

“Baptizing”: Also linked with discipleship and God’s sovereignty is baptism.  Another hotly debated topic.  Baptism is NOT a requirement for salvation yet it is so strongly encourages from Scripture that is almost is.  The concept of baptism can be found in the Old Testament as well as the New.  Baptism is the public display as being set-apart for a specific purpose.  In the New Testament, a lot, probably most, of the individual conversions, baptism followed.  I personally wasn’t baptized until Easter 2012.  Will all believers get baptized? No, there is Scriptural evidence (Lk. 23:32-43, the thief on the cross).  At least not all believers will be baptized by water, all believers are baptized by the Spirit.

“Teaching”: It’s not left to the “teachers” to teach.  We teach those around us.  It’s something we all do and therefore we need to be proficient at it.  We need to know what we are teaching and we need to practice it in our lives.

“Obedience”: Here’s the kicker, at least in my mind.  This is where much of the debate truly lies.  True followers of Christ obey Christ.  He says it right here.  Finally the assurance is because Christ is with us (vs. 20).

The context of teaching is namely obedience, “teaching them to obey.”  But there’s more content given in Luke 24:44-49.

The passage in Luke24:44-49, in verse 44 Christ came to fulfill the Law (cf. Matt. 5:17-18).  Verse 45, Christ is sovereign (cf. Matt. 28:18).

Verse 46: The Work of Christ.  He died and in 3 days would come back to life.  The crucifixion and Resurrection.

Luke 24:47-49: The content of the message that we proclaim: “And repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all nations.” (Luke 24:47).  In this passage, what brings about the forgiveness of sins? Clearly repentance does, belief is not even mentioned.  Let me make clear that belief is necessary.  Acts 16:31; Rom. 10:8-9; Jn. 1:12-13; 3:16; basically the whole of John’s Gospel.  Scripture makes it clear that belief is necessary, yet it also makes clear that repentance is as well.  The Disciples are called to preach repentance for the forgiveness of sins, that is right here in this passage of Luke 24.  We too are to preach this same Gospel.

My friends, this is the Gospel.  Yet what is the message of evangelism commonly heard today? I was taught to bring a Gospel of belief, but no accountability, no repentance.

So what is the Gospel? Faith in Christ.  Who is He? God! What did He do? He died on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins as our atoning sacrifice and propitiation.  You believe in the Person and Work of Jesus Christ and you receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  He dwells in you.  He will bring about a change of your heart and a change in your life.  Sanctification (Rom. 8:29-30).  This is the Gospel we are to preach!

Perspectives on I John 1:1-2:2 (This will be a long one)

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This was intended as a lesson for youth group, which it probably will be as well as a sermon.  I wanted to post this as well.  One of my favorite books in the New Testament is I John.  I love this book, it is so practical and often is way overlooked in Christian circles must to their detriment.  This book is full of practical theology and defends the true Gospel very well.

Quick context and introduction, I John was written by none other than the Apostle John, who also wrote the Gospel of John, II and III John, and finally Revelation.  This was the Apostle that Jesus loved, also called the Beloved Apostle (Jn. 13:23; 20:2).  He wrote, though not specified, to the church in Ephesus, as well as other Christians in modern day Turkey.  He wrote to combat early forms of Gnosticism, but also to exhort Christians on how to live and what true faith actually is.

The passage, as told by the title, is I John 1:1-2:2.

This is what we proclaim to you: what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and our hands have touched (concerning the word of life— and the life was revealed, and we have seen and testify and announce to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us). What we have seen and heard we announce to you too, so that you may have fellowship with us (and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ). Thus we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

Now this is the gospel message we have heard from him and announce to you: God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him and yet keep on walking in the darkness, we are lying and not practicing the truth. But if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we do not bear the guilt of sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar and his word is not in us.

(My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin.) But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous One, and he himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for our sins but also for the whole world.

First, to note, this is very similar to the opening of the Gospel of John.  The passages are not necessary identical, but it is very close.  The first chapter of I John, as some commentators claim, could very well have been an introduction to the Gospel of John.  They claim that the whole book of I John could have been a preliminary for the Gospel.

Notice the “we” in verse 1 of I John 1 and the plural language of the first four verses.  Some would say that a group, if not all of the apostles helped write I John.  I would say that John is merely referring to the other disciples.

This is their proclamation (vs. 1).  Notice their eyewitness testimony (II Pet. 1:16-21).  John was a part of the inner 3 of disciples: Peter, James and John.  They saw Jesus’ Transfiguration (Matt. 17).

What we have heard“: The disciples were with Jesus nearly 24/7.  They heard nearly every word of His ministry and what they heard, they repeated to others and they eventually wrote it down.  They heard the voice of the Father (Matt. 3; 17).

What we have looked at“: The disciples saw nearly every miracle that Jesus performed.  They saw the feeding of the multitudes, the raising of people from the dead, the bitter harassment of the Pharisees, they saw Christ’s baptism and transfiguration.

What our hands have touched“: The disciples, no doubt, had touched Jesus.  I’m sure they felt the many lame people, risen people, demon possessed people, the bread and fish that Jesus multiplied to feed the crowds.

Take all 3 of these things and apply it to 2 more areas: Jesus’ death and Resurrection.

The disciples heard the shouting of the crowds, “CRUCIFY HIM!!!”  They heard Jesus’ groaning  as the Romans flogged Him and drove the nails in His wrists and feet.  They heard the 7 different declarations of Jesus as He died on the cross (Mt. 27:25-26; Lk. 22:42; 23:33-34, 46; Jn. 19:26, 28, 30).  They heard the variety of confessions of those around them as Jesus died (Mt. 27:54; Lk. 23:32-43).  When they hid, they heard the voice of their Lord risen from the dead! They heard his post-resurrection teaching.

The disciples saw His broken, battered, beaten-up and dead body.  Then they saw another miracle.  They saw Jesus’ Resurrected body.  They saw Him appear to over 500 of their brethren who also believed (I Cor. 15). Finally they saw Him ascend into Heaven.

The disciples touched the Resurrected Christ! In fact Christ told them to touch Him because they were fearful that He was a ghost (John 20-21).  The felt His pierced hands and feet and the side where he was pierced with the spear.  They knew for a fact that Jesus was not a ghost! They knew that Jesus was alive!

And they were clearly talking about Christ, the Living Word, the Light!

All of these things, they are announcing to their audience.  The purpose of this is for fellowship, unity and community.  The disciples have fellowship with the Father, they desire that same fellowship to be shared with their audience.  The disciples have fellowship with their Eternal Father through Christ and their desire is that their audience have the same exact fellowship.  They also desire fellowship with each other.

The testimony of the disciples is very important (vs. 2).  They are witnesses.  They reveal to their audience what they have seen and testify to it.  Think of it as a courtroom.  They are some of the only witnesses to this, it is imperative that they get this right.  It’s imperative that they share this information accurately.  They cannot be wrong.

Finally, in verse 4, they write so their joy may be complete.  What makes your joy complete? What brings you joy? Do you know the difference between happiness and joy? Happiness is temporary and rarely, if at all exists during times of trial and difficulty.  Whereas joy is long lasting and endures in times of trial.

Verse 5: “Gospel message“: This is what John is talking about, the Gospel.  The Saving Gospel.  They are talking about the good news of Christ.  For they have heard the Gospel message from God, from Jesus Christ.  God is their source of this message.

God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all“: That’s the Gospel? Yep!!!  Great news isn’t it!?! I’m serious, this is awesome news!  In Scripture, Light and Dark are common euphemisms for good and evil respectively.  God is Light! God is completely good.  He is full of good, nothing evil dwells in Him.  Nothing, period!!!

There is the foundation, now in verse 6 God’s perfect righteousness is made standard.  That is only achieved through Christ as our atonement and propitiation.  So John says in verse 6, “If we claim to have fellowship with Him” that is the same fellowship as previously discussed in verses 1-4.  If we claim to be of Christ, but we keep on walking in darkness, “we are lying and not practicing the truth“.

Immediately we should as, “what are we lying about”, “what is walking in darkness”, and “what are the implications of said lie?”  Walking in darkness, remember that darkness is a euphemism for sin, for evil.  So this individual is walking in sin.  They claim Christ, yet they are walking in sin, complete opposite of Christ, who is Light.  They are characterized by this lifestyle of sin, unrighteousness, unholiness, and they do not seek after God.  This sounds an awful lot like Romans 3:10-18, 23.  This is walking in darkness.  It is living in sin.

What are we lying about? The only thing, according to the context, that we can be lying about is who our fellowship is actually with.  They claim Christ, but their actions say otherwise.  This is what they are lying about.  We truly don’t have fellowship with God and rather our fellowship is with the world and Satan.

What are the implications of this? Eternal damnation.  A false sense of security.  These people, John is talking about are not saved! They need Christ!!!

Verse 7, a wonderful contrast to that of verse 6.  Our actions match our claim and our confirmation of bring in Christ.  We hold onto that fellowship with Christ as well as our Christian brethren.  The nature of these people is clearly different than that of verse 6.  What the distinguishing mark is, the blood of Christ! These people, the ones who claim fellowship and walk in the Light are the ones who have been washed by Christ’s blood.  The people in verse 6 have not.

We are cleansed from all sin.  The washing and renewal of regeneration, by doing Christ’s will, walking in the Light!

There is another contrast found in verses 8-10, confession of sin.  Verse 8, if you have no guilt of sin, something is seriously wrong.  The truth isn’t in you.  I’m not sure if this means all sin, which I doubt.  There are sins that I don’t feel guilt for, at least not immediately.  Nevertheless there is guilt when you sin, it must be there.  That is a sign of a true believer.  This verse is clearly referring to self-righteous individuals as well.  They feel/think that they are perfect.  They are deceived.

The confession of sins, vs. 9, is vital to the walk of a believer.  I’m not talking about confession, like the catholic church does nevertheless, confession of sins to trusted brethren is important to accountability, sanctification and discipleship.  Also confession is vital for redemption.  You must confess your sins in order to be saved.  You must confess the fact that you are a sinner in order to follow Christ.  Confession of sins after salvation is a reminder that you are a sinner and what we did was wrong.

But do note that confession of sins is directly tied to the forgiveness of sins and justification.  Only the person in grief and acknowledgement over sin can be saved.  If a person doesn’t recognize their need of a savior than what is the point of a savior? Repentance over sin is the reason of a savior.  What good would Christ do if they don’t recognize themselves as sinners, for Christ died for sins?  Of course this is not to say that we don’t preach the Gospel to them, but they do see themselves as self-righteous.

Verse 10, Got is not a liar, nor will any of His followers call Him one.  Those same people in verse 6 and 8 are described here also in verse 10.  This is similar to that of the 2nd Commandment, taking the Lord’s Name in vain.  It;s not just speaking His name improperly, but also claiming His name and then taking it in vain because due to debauched and sinful lifestyles. 

The conclusion to chapter 1, at least in my mind, is this: So I follow God and keep His commandments, which is exactly what Jesus says in John 14:15: “If you love me you will keep my commandments!” But I still sin.  I’m not perfect and I am not characterized by a sinful lifestyle.  I am grieved by the sins I do commit.

In the original text, there were no chapters or verses, those came later.  If I could translate all of Scripture (I know some Greek, not any Hebrew), but I would keep the first two verses of chapter 2 in chapter 1.  It seems like in 2:1-2 is a continuation of thought.

I John 2:1, his point of writing is to encourage and, dare I say, command (by God’s demand) righteous behavior from those who claim to be of God.

Notice what else he says.  He writes, so that they may not sin. “But if anyone does sin“.  Take careful notice of the wording that John uses.  It’s not “when”, but “if”.  What’s the expectations? Holiness, righteousness.  Obviously the realization is that we are going to sin, but we are striving for righteousness and holiness.  Like God, we HATE sin and we are deeply grieved with we do sin.  We are not characterized by sin, we are characterized by holiness and righteousness.  Look at what John says though we “have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.”

I love how Christ is described here as the “Righteous One”.  He tells us to imitate Him (Eph. 5:1; I Cor.11:1; I John 2:6).  This is what we strive for, righteousness.  He is our advocate, He died for our sins, past, present and future!

It’s a sacrifice I relate to with an analogy of soldiers.  It;s the one man sacrificing himself for the betterment of the squad or company.  He died so that others may live.

But Christ did not stay dead.  No, He rose from the dead with a mighty triumph o’re His foes.

The expectation is not sinless perfection, but still righteous living is key to a true believer.

Lastly, verse 2.  Christ is our atoning sacrifice.  Faith is key.  All this righteous living is a mute point unless we have faith in Christ.  The two cannot be separated.  He sacrificed Himself four our sins as well as the whole worlds.  We make that sacrifice vain, insulting it if we claim to be of Him and do not live the way He demands.

I’m of the reformed tradition of belief but this verse knocks out the belief of “Limited Atonement”.  Christ died for the sins of the whole world.  Plain and simple.

Application: Hopefully as you’re reading you can see the application in your life.  It’s righteous living, through and through.  Justification, being declared righteous, and sanctification, God’s work of making you more Christ-like go hand-in-hand.

Observe your life, is it conforming to God’s standards? Recognize that you will never be perfect, nor are you right now, but strive for righteousness and holiness.

If you have made it this far, I apologize for the length, and I promise that these will be few and far between in length.