Hope is what encourages the believer to seek personal holiness. Remind yourself that this is not an end to itself, a personally realised pathway to Heaven, but a response to what Jesus Christ has done for us: the cross, but even more, a now loving relationship with the living Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit in the believer! Who could ask for more and yet He continues to pour out His blessings upon us! All Christians are on the way to seeing God and becoming like Him. John warns his readers that no one can think that they are safely above the moral law, and progress in the spiritual life does not confer the privilege to sin, in fact it is the exact opposite: the further on we go, the more essential it is that we remain pure. Sin is to obey oneself rather than God and sinning undoes the work of Christ. It comes as a result of failing to abide in Him. Remember that sin and the temptation to sin is all around us and we fall to temptation generally at the same weak parts...are we likely to envy, gossip, gamble, drink too much, watch porn, judge others, be proud and arrogant? Some of this list, we will feel that it is not an issue for us, but there will be at least one or two things even in my short list which make you flinch (and me). Again, please let me remind you that this is not an exercise in guilt-for Jesus has died to free us from guilt, His grace overcomes all! It is however a constant commitment to personal purity and this involves excising sin from our character. Moses sinned by smiting the rock with his rod to produce water for the Israelites rather than holding it over the rock; David sinned by arrogantly assuming he could sleep with who he liked and get away with it; Abraham sinned by telling the King of the region that Sarah, his wife, was his sister! People are very inventive in their sinning! All sin comes from the devil, the master of deception. Just as he seduced Eve and Adam to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, so he seduces us by encouraging our imaginations to picture what it will feel like to sin in a certain way, the pleasure of what it will bring. We think again of Pinocchio and the island of the lost boys. Sinning for believers arguably may be covered by God's grace, but it will rot our souls.
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