We want to purify ourselves because of the work Jesus did on the cross on our behalf and because we are God’s children. “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin.” (1 Jn 3:4-5)
Jesus Christ was manifested to take away sins. This is the great purpose of His coming into the world. Linked with that purpose is the great possibility that flows from it: “in Him there is no sin”. This is the glorious gospel of hope. There is a way, but there is only one way (John 14:6). That is like saying that air is the only thing to breathe. We need only one way out of this human dilemma. There is only one way, because there is only One who has ever appeared in human history who can take away sins.
Jesus doesn’t do it by an act of magic. He does not wave a wand or utter some religious abracadabra and the problem is solved—poof! Suddenly you are free from sin, lawlessness is gone, and you will never have any problem with it again. If that is your idea of Christian faith, then you are badly mistaken. But as we have been seeing through this letter of John, the Lord Jesus Christ has appeared to take away sins. How does He do it? He does it by the impartation of life, by the turning on of light, by the awakening of love.
These are the things that answer the manifestations of lawlessness. What is lawlessness? It is that which produces death, the destruction of life; darkness, the extinguishing of light; and hatred, the violation of love. “But if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” (John 11:10) Thanks be to God that He gave us His law so that we would realize our need for a Lord and Savior. “Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” (Rom 3:20)
What does Jesus Christ give? He gives life in place of death (John 10:10), light in place of darkness (John 8:12), and love in place of hatred (Rom 5:8). When we receive Jesus Christ, that is only the beginning. The whole Christian life follows. As we have been learning, it is a process of growth, but the results are inevitably the same. There is the taking away of sin, there is the elimination of lawlessness, and there is the restoration to the human heart of order and peace. That has been the demonstration throughout human history. Repeatedly in every generation, the hardest cases have responded to this amazing remedy—homosexuals, alcoholics, drug addicts, sex addicts, murderers, and thieves.
Even more difficult cases have surrendered—the proud, the intellectuals, the bitter, the cynical, the angry young men, the jaded old people. And always there have been the despairing, the wounded in spirit, the hopeless, the pathetic, the pitiful, and the lost, broken derelicts that float through life. No matter where or when people have lived, it has always been the same story, always the same deliverance, always the same results: the healing of lawlessness. The miracle occurs when people come to know Jesus Christ and receive Him into their lives. Then the sickness begins to heal. He has the same promise for us all: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matt 11:28)
In the rest that Christ gives us, He also gives us His righteousness, allowing us through the Holy Spirit working in us to walk as He walked. “Forsake foolishness and live, and go in the way of understanding.” (Prov 9:6) We are to be holy (set apart) because He is holy (1 Pet 1:16). We are to purify ourselves using His provision, that we might be clean. “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (2 Cor 7:1)
And we are able to choose to walk in His truth and obey His commands if we abide in Him. “Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life.” (1 Jn 2:24-25) Every obstacle becomes a glorious opportunity to display the fullness of glory, wisdom, and power that is in the God who has come to live and make His home within us. “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to [His] power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Eph 3:20-21).
Lord, may I have the privilege of being a part of this, the greatest cause of all, that I may see clearly that there is nothing greater that I could possibly give myself to than the thrusting forward of this mighty message of healing. Lord, remind me that I am but a vessel in sharing Your love and light to the darkness in the world, and that I have Your power within me to choose to walk as You did, and to forsake sin. Thank You for abiding in me as I abide in You.
Source: Taking Away Sins by Ray Steadman
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