The Struggle

1 John 3:4-6 (NIV)
Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.
What does John have in mind when he says, “No one who lives in Him keeps on sinning” (1 John 3:6a, NIV)?  I have been born again by the grace of God.  I think that I’m living in Him.  So why do I keep on sinning (and sinning and sinning and sinning)?  Is John referring to some kind of super Christian?  Why do I seem to have the same old struggles and sins that dog me day in and day out?  He says, “No one who continues to sin has either seen Him or known Him” (1 John 3:6b, NIV).  Does this mean that I don’t know Jesus?
Let’s go back a couple of chapters to 1 John 1:8 (NIV):

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.

So we know that we cannot claim to be without sin because it just isn’t true.  In Romans 7, Paul wrote about the struggle that Christians have against sin:

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. – Romans 7:15 (NIV)

​So what is John talking about in 1 John 3:6?  I call it, “The Sinful Struggle.”  I know the difference between right and wrong.  Most people do.  I struggle to do what is right and to not do what is wrong.  Not to save myself or keep myself saved (only grace can do that).  Rather, I struggle because I long to please God.  Some days, I am strong and I resist temptation.  Many days, I am weak and I give in to temptation and I fail.​  That’s where Jesus comes in to save the day (and me!).

But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. – 1 John 3:5 (NIV)

​Jesus takes away my many sins through His perfect sacrifice on the cross.  I cannot take away my own sins.  I cannot save myself.  I struggle against sin and lose.  But Jesus battled temptation and won.  ​Now, His victory is mine and I am made victorious over sin.  Not because I don’t sin, but because He didn’t sin.  I will still face the daily struggle against sin and I will lose the battles, but Jesus won the war.  Praise God!
PRAYER: God, I need Your strength to overcome temptation and sin.  I need Your grace to forgive me when I fail.  I struggle against sin and I often lose the battle.  Thank You for Your Son, Jesus, who died for me so that I may live for You.  In His name, amen.

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