“In him, there is no sin. No one who abides in him sins; no one who sins has either seen him or known him.” (1 John 3:5-6)
Knowing a person entails knowing what that person likes or dislikes. You cannot have a smooth relationship with someone if you keep doing exactly what he or she hates. Knowing God entails that we do what God likes. As John writes: “And by this, we may be sure that we know him if we keep his commandments. He who says ‘I know him’ but disobeys his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” (1 John 2:3-4)
We are liars when we dress very well to Church claiming to be Christians whereas deep within us, we do not even believe it is possible to live a pure life; when we do not even make efforts to overcome sin. We are liars when we reach the point of even bragging about our sinful actions. John tells us: “And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.” (1 John 3:3) The point John is making here is that knowing God involves engaging in a process of self-purification.
Knowing God entails picking up the cross daily. It is about working on myself every day, one step at a time to be better than ever before. God wants to see your effort. Never assume that the battle against sin is too difficult or impossible. As the book of Hebrews tells us: “In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.” (Hebrews 12:4) You stop being a Christian when you give up, when you lose the sense of sin.
Most of us today are more concerned about maintaining a good public image of ourselves than doing what is right. We forget that what makes us Christians is not our church or the position we hold in church but our righteous deeds. John says: “If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who does right is born of him. See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God.” (1 John 2:29 – 3:1). This is the point Jesus makes when he said: “whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother, and sister, and mother.” (Matthew 12:50, Mark 3:35)
John the Baptist not only spoke well about Jesus behind his back, he boldly pointed Jesus out publicly when he saw him. John the Baptist said to the crowds: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). John the Baptist remains for us a role model, a man who dedicated his entire life to preparing grounds for Jesus Christ.
John introduced Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Does this mean that by His death on the cross, Jesus has taken away my sins including those I am yet to commit? Painfully, this is what many Christians think. This is the greatest lie of the devil, a message straight from hell preached by persons who are eager to make their congregation happy at all costs at the expense of truth. Many Christians today do not even feel guilty for their sins because of these false doctrines. Therefore, evil is increasing in our society as Churches are opening every day.
For us to understand what John meant by Jesus being the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, let us look at another statement he made in one of his letters: “My little children, I am writing this to you so that you may not sin; but if any one does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the expiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:1-2).
Simply put, the death of Jesus does not take away personal responsibility for our sins, rather, Jesus’ death opens for us the possibility of receiving forgiveness. Do not be deceived. Sin kills us. Anyone who persists in sin does not know God. Confess your sins today and come back to Jesus. Begin to walk in the light!
Today we celebrate the Most Holy Name of Jesus. It is true that in some parts of the world, people answer the name ‘Jesus’. I think there is even a footballer who goes by that name. Nevertheless, when I call the name Jesus, I am referring to no other person than Jesus Christ, God who took flesh in Mary’s womb and became man. I call the name Jesus with confidence knowing that as St. Paul says: “God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11) Let us pray: Lord Jesus, bless me with a sense of shame and guilt for my sins that I may constantly run to you for mercy and grace to live a life pleasing to you. Amen.
. Bible Study: 1st John 2:29-3:6, Psalm 98, and John 1:29-34).