April 15: Following and Sin

Read 1 John 1:1-10

What are some of the characteristics of genuine followers of Jesus? Have we invited Jesus to follow us as a first responder for life’s emergencies or as a resort concierge for life’s amenities? Or are we willing to follow Him no matter the cost? Those are the kinds of questions we are posing in this current devotional series.

The apostle John offers us some good insights to the implications of following Jesus. He helps us to understand how true followers relate to sin. First of all, notice that genuine followers are identified by the path they choose (vv. 6, 7). They are intentional in selecting a lit path rather than a darkened one. In other words, the pattern of their life demonstrates that they strive to please God and to avoid sinful lifestyles. They do not knowingly and intentionally excuse or ignore aspects of their life that displease God.

Which path are you on?

Secondly, genuine followers of Christ are quick to own the reality of their own sinfulness (vv. 8, 10). They are not self-deceived into somehow thinking that they no longer sin. A humble awareness of their own imperfections and vulnerability is essential. They live knowingly in the tension of understanding that they are forgiven from past sin but they have not yet been set free from the presence of sin.

Do you humbly own your sinfulness?

Finally, John points us the fact that genuine Jesus followers are marked by more than their awareness of sin. They go beyond acknowledging to truly engaging in confessing sin (v. 9). This moves us past the public admission “Well, nobody’s perfect.” to the prayerful confession “God, that thought was sin. It was against your will for my life. Cleanse me and forgive me.” Aren’t you glad for the assurance that John gives when we confess. He does faithfully forgive and cleanse. The slate is wiped clean. The sin is not held against us. All of that is due to the fact that the just punishment for our sin was satisfied in Christ.

Is confession a regular practice in your life?

Let me add one final thought. Confession should never be done as a convenient way of dealing with something that we have no intention of forsaking. Paul made that clear in Romans 5 and 6. Don’t use God’s generous grace as a reason to keep sinning.


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