Little children, let no one deceive you. He who does right is righteous, as he is righteous. He who commits sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning.” (1 John 3:7-8.)
Just like yesterday, St. John hits hard on the meaning and danger of sin in our lives as Christians. By saying that anyone who sins is of the devil, John wants us to understand the gravity of sin. John wants us to perceive the smell of sin. Truly, sin is not something to joke about. Whenever I consent to sin, I am just being a devil.
John then goes on to say: “Those who have been born of God do not sin, because God’s seed abides in them; they cannot sin, because they have been born of God.” (1 John 3:9). This is a verse that could easily misinterpreted to mean that the moment one becomes a Christian, he or she becomes incapable of committing sin. I have literally heard someone preach this heresy just to make his listeners excited as if to say whatever they do is no longer sinful. This is a clear example of telling people what they want to hear rather than the truth contained in God’s word.
By saying “we cannot sin”, John is only emphasizing the fact that sin makes us children of the devil. As children of God, we cannot afford to give up the struggle against sin, we cannot afford to choose sin in the face of temptation. John equates identity with action. You are not what you say you are; you are what you do.
In our Gospel passage, we see John the Baptist for the second time, introducing Jesus as the Lamb of God. This time around, he even allowed two of his own disciples follow Jesus. Later on we hear John the Baptist say: “He who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. For this reason, my joy has been fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:29-30)
Therein lies the key to living above sin: allowing Jesus to increase in our lives. In truth, the more time we devote to prayer, spiritual reading, personal meditation and other spiritual activities, the less prone to sin we become. Jesus must increase while we decrease. Remember the story of the two giants fighting? The little child asked his mother, “which giant will win?” and she said: “the one you feed.”
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, fill me with your grace to live above sin. Amen.
Bible Study: 1st John 3:7-10, Psalm 98, and John 1:35-42).