Abiding in Grace
“By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.” – 1 John 3:19-24
Abiding in Grace
As God’s children abide in his love and truth, as they experience the transformation of their lives by the Holy Spirit, they learn how to walk as Jesus walked and to love as Jesus loved. This is no easy task and can never be accomplished outside of the work of the Holy Spirit. What is impossible for the child of God is made possible by God’s Spirit working in that child.
John would remind his readers that they were called to walk in obedience and to walk in love. While they had the presence and work of the Spirit in their lives, and they would grow in godliness, they would never reach perfection until they saw Jesus face to face. Then, and only then, would their lives fully reflect the life of Jesus. While they lived in this world, there would continue to be places in which they fell short of that glory. It was in those times that the devil was quick to condemn. Questions could arise – am I really a child of God if I think this way, act this way, or find it so difficult to love that person?
Where the devil condemns, the Lord breathes grace. Jesus kept every commandment. He obeyed perfectly and loved perfectly all the way to the cross. Jesus offered himself on behalf of our sins because he knew that we could never fulfill the commandments. He knew that we would always fall short of his glory.
In knowing us and our inabilities, Jesus made the way for our forgiveness, healing, and restoration. When we sin, we fall into the arms of that grace. John would have us receive that grace so that we know the joy of our salvation. As Paul would go on and write, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”
(Romans 8:1). Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, believers in him are fully set free from that condemnation regardless of what they are feeling and thinking. The promises of God overcome the doubts and fears of his children.
The Apostle John encourages God’s children to rest in what has been done for them and then to abide in the amazing grace. From that place of resting and abiding, there comes the ongoing desire to walk with the Lord and for the Lord. God’s children want to obey him. Not only that, but God’s children are given the power to obey through the Holy Spirit abiding within them.
God’s children abide in him, and God abides in his children. There is no greater assurance in this world or the next than abiding in him. Reflection:
The work of Jesus is much greater than your sin while the promises of Jesus are also much greater than your thoughts or emotions. In what way can you rest in this grace and these promises today?
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