John’s Letters: Living in the Light of God’s Love

Day 2 of 5 • This day’s reading


As we continue looking at John’s first letter, remember that the believers he was writing to were being criticized by a group who had left the church to set up a rival and supposedly superior church community. Yet these others were living lives marked by sin.

In the portions of his letter that we read today, John wanted to make it clear to the believers who remained that there could be no correlation between greater spirituality and greater sinfulness.

Sin is a heart issue that often manifests in our behavior—or, as John calls it, lawlessness. Jesus came into the world not only to pay for sin but also to deal with sins in all their specific ugliness. Therefore someone who is Christ’s will not continue to live a life marked by sin.

So does this mean that true Christians never sin? No. In chapter one, verse eight, John established that believers should never expect sinless perfection in this life. He is stating here that being a follower of Christ will make a marked difference in your life.

The good news of Christianity is not simply that the death of Christ offers legal pardon for trusting sinners. That would be merely external. The good news of Christianity is internal too. Jesus died to pay for our sins and purchase the privilege of new birth for us. That is, the Holy Spirit is the seed of God planted in the life of a believer. This internal reality brings a renewed heart and a change in desires.

So we may struggle with sin but will not be characterized by it. The born-again believer, now a child of God, has the spiritual DNA of God within, thereby birthing the desire for a God-pleasing life.

Reflect: What sins manifest themselves in your life? How will fellowship with Christ continue the process of shaping a life that is not marked by sin?