1 John 1-2, Psalm 36
Freddie Prinze, actor and comedian, unfortunately took his life in 1977, at the age of 23, writing: "I must end it. There's no hope left. I'll be at peace. No one had anything to do with this. My decision totally." Satan's playbook has never changed, he first tempts us to sin, then when we fall, he's there to whisper in our ear that God could never forgive us. This lie not only causes people to have no hope, but it also weakens the walk of believers in their walk of faith. The truth stated in Hebrews 8:12 that Satan doesn't want anyone to believe is, " For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more." The truth is as often as we come to God for forgiveness, He not only forgives but forgets the sin.
John writes in 1 John 2:15-17, "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world-the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life-is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever." When John refers to the world in this section, he is referring to the spiritual system led by Satan in opposition to God. Again, we see that Satan's playbook has not changed. The tools mentioned in this Scripture is the same that he used on Eve in Genesis 3:6, "So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate." Once we fall into sin, which we do daily as stated by John in 1 John 1:8,10, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us...If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us." But our hope and our confidence comes from 1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." He goes on to show why we should be confident in this in 1 John 2:1-2, "...And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world." It's comforting to realize that our forgiveness rests solely on what He did and not on what we do.
We, as believers will continue to fall into sin, we just can't continue to live in it and practice it. Each one of us knows our own sinful nature. It's easy to put on a good front, but deep down we all really know ourselves. This easily can make us feel unworthy and not worthy to serve Him. So many "know" they are forgiven, but plagued by guilt refuse to experience His forgiveness. Feeling unworthy is not a bad thing for it forces us to lean on His grace rather than our own strength or goodness. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:10, "Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong." Satan wants to weaken us, but God's grace and mercy are stronger. We simply need to depend on this and believe this and live this, so that we can live lives glorifying God and in peace.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: