Going Deeper 04.08.2021

The second reading for Easter 2... 1 John 1:1—2:2

We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— this life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it, and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us— we declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.  This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true; 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 that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that 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; and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

The goal is to stop sinning.  Some would say that is unachievable, while others proclaim it to be a necessity.   Who is right?  Ah... once again we must be aware of the heresy of the false alternatives!  Both are correct... our efforts to stop sinning are BOTH necessary and unachievable.

Jesus taught that "with God all things are possible."  When we practice the discipline of repenting, of turning away from sin while at the same time continually seeking the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit of God, we can be "cleanse​[d] us from all unrighteousness."  It is possible.

And yet the truth is that as long as we are on this side of the grave, we will never be able to always choose to turn away from sin and toward God.  We will always need grace. "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us."

The most important truth here is that the most powerful motives for stopping sinning are gratitude and love.  As we experience the ongoing grace of God, and as our relationship with our Abba Father and Brother Jesus grows through the empowering of the Holy Spirit, we are filled with increasingly profound love for God and for our fellow children of God.  At the same time, we are led to see the damage that sin can do to those relationships and be inspired to keep seeking the goal: to stop sinning.

It will prove to be an ongoing battle.  Just keep fighting!!

With You in the Struggle,

Mark Gabbert, Pastor

Zion Lutheran Church, Wellington

"Gratefully Growing Servants"