Summary: Every Christmas causes debate concerning "why did Jesus come?" In a unique way, 1 John 3 brings the gifts of incarnation and regeneration to the forefront.
Celebrating the Father’s Gifts at Christmas: Incarnation and Regeneration
1 John 3: 4-10
1 John 3:1: “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.”
This is what we looked at last week: The Glorious Love of the Heavenly Father who has GIFTED people to be children of God. Call it, the Father’s Love to the Lawless. The possession of this Love of God is by God’s invitation, His calling… and when Jesus comes again, we WILL receive the fullness of what He has promised. In response to His Love, we are called to live Holy (Pure) Lives BECAUSE of the precious privilege of becoming children of God; we have been called into His family, and so we fix our eyes on Him by faith, trusting implicitly in His grace, every step of the way.
(John works backwards here.) Under the power of the Holy Spirit, in verses 4-6, John explains the extent of God’s Love to us: “Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. 5 But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. 6 No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.”
What a switch from the lavish and luxurious Love of the Father, to “Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness!”
No one ever born has been a law-keeper (Except Jesus!) The majority of people who walk the face of this earth consider themselves to be “law-abiding citizens”, but that in and of itself does not make you a citizen of the Kingdom of God: That does not entitle you to be a “child of God”, which we saw in verses 1-3. The Bible teaches that EVERYONE is a law-breaker.
When we talk of criminals, we consider them to be “lawless”, that they think they are above the law, and so-called, “Law-abiding citizens” want them to be punished to the full extent of the law. Yet when it comes to breaking God’s LAW, people either expect to receive mercy or they ignore God in the hopes that He will ignore them and their sinfulness.
Everyone has sinned against God because ONE Sin “misses the mark” of God’s Holiness and places us under eternal judgment by an absolutely Holy God. Listen to this quote by R.C. Sproul: “Sin is cosmic treason. Sin is treason against a perfectly pure Sovereign. It is an act of supreme ingratitude toward the One to whom we owe everything, to the One who has given us life itself. Have you ever considered the deeper implications of the slightest sin, of the most minute peccadillo? What are we saying to our Creator when we disobey Him at the slightest point? We are saying no to the righteousness of God. We are saying, ‘God, Your law is not good. My judgment is better than Yours. Your authority does not apply to me. I am above and beyond Your jurisdiction. I have the right to do what I want to do, not what You command me to do.”
Sin has drastic and eternal effects on individuals and in the world; All we need to do is look in the mirror and see that we grow old, get sick, and die. The world is decaying and we first notice it in our own bodies. We see the effect of sin on societies that war against each other. There is mayhem, killing, theft, adulteries, murders, lying, etc. The effects are within US and outside of us. Our jails are filled with those who are ruled by sin -- which is rebellion against God's truth, but it hits far closer than “over there” or “those people.” Emotional distress and depression, uncertainty, fear of ANYTHING and everything, prejudice, hurt, spiritual confusion, lack of faith and direction…the extent of the effects of sin are innumerable.
At the very root, sin is active rebellion against God’s Will and God’s Law for the men and women whom He created and so sin LEAVES you OUTSIDE of God’s Family. God’s standard is to be HOLY so you cannot LEGALLY be a child of God if you have ever sinned. The bottom line is that even one SIN is Fatal. In the Greek, sin means “to miss the mark” but ALSO “to be without a share in.” What is it that we miss then? What can we “NOT SHARE IN” because we have sinned? We cannot SHARE in knowing God and sin prevents a person from being a child of God.