We have been discussing passivity this week, one of the killers of any effort to change. Passivity is the knowledge that we need to take action but the desire to act is just not there.
Let’s talk of some extraordinary statements from Scripture that can lead a person to passivity. In 1 John 3:4-9 John says “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 know Him.”
This is a real killer piece of scripture for many believers because it can be construed as the doctrine of perfection.
What are the facts?
Ever after we come to know Jesus, we all continue to sin.
What can happen to people who believe the words of 1 John? Hopelessness. The feeling that it does not matter anymore because we are not meeting God’s standards. Passivity.
What does John mean by saying such strong things that make us realize our shortcomings? We should not persist in sinning.
What happens when I sin? I experienced this the other day. I really did something wrong and I knew it. I knew it before I was about to do it. I did it. I felt bad after I did it.
For hours after the sin was committed I grieved that I had been so bad.
Let me stop right there and let’s imagine I am a passive person and I believe the doctrine of perfection.
If I am passive, I continue to grieve my behavior but I grow to accept it. I say things to myself like “It is just me” or “I can’t help myself” or “I’m making too big of a deal out of this” or “It will be ok.”
I eventually become adjusted to that idea that I am to be the way I am. I am a sinner. I will never be accepted by God and the words “No one who lives in Him keeps on sinning” keep ringing in my head. Opportunities to sin reappear and I indulge myself. It does not matter. I can’t stop this. I can’t change.
Let’s take another path, another interpretation of 1 John if you will.
The word is persist. If you believe in God, we don’t want to persist in sin. This does not mean we succeed in leading a sinless life but we don’t want to lead a sinful life either. A believer, Alfred Plummer wrote, “sins, but opposition to sin, is the ruling principle of his life.” We need to remember why Jesus came. In 1 John verse 5, John reminds us: “He appeared so that He might take away our sins.” In 1 John verse 8 John states “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” I don’t want the status quo to be “me, the hopeless sinner”. I want something better for my years here on earth. I know God knows I sinned. I ask for His forgiveness; I know He knows me better than anyone here on earth can know me. He knows me warts and all. He wants me to believe. He wants me to be a fighter against the devil. He wants me on His side. I accept His forgiveness. I move on beyond my sin. I choose to persist.
If you think your goal is to lead a sinless, perfect life, you must be real with yourself. You and I don’t have what it takes for this to happen.
However, we can persist in trying to keep sin at bay. Trying to do better is a reasonable goal and I believe that God honors that. When we are passive and accept our lack of effort as “who we are”, we are playing into the devil’s hands.
He wants us passive.
He wants us to remain as we are.
He does not want us to ACT!!!!!