Whose Children are we?

16 10 2009

Before reading this blog check out 1 John 3:4-10 (ESV)

 4Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. 5You know that [Jesus]appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. 6No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. 7Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. 8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. 10By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God,  nor is the one who does not love his brother.

In my class this week we have been looking at this passage of Scripture. I can’t help but think of my own denomination (Southern Baptist) as I read this passage of scripture. This passage makes me think of the millions of people  the country that are a “member” of a Southern Baptist church, but are not present but maybe once every few years (if that).

We MUST wake up and let the Bible (instead of our emotions or egos) dictate how we view salvation. Salvation is a permanent change in a person’s life. Do I believe in the eternal security of the believer (once saved always saved)? YES! AMEN! But, as Southern Baptists we’ve taken that to an extreme. Maybe our phrase should be “Once you walk an aisle, always saved”! See, I think we’ve let ourselves focus on the “permanent” more than we have the “change”. The Bible clearly states that those who are children of God practice righteousness, and those who are children of the devil practice sin.

Can a saved person sin? YES! Does a save person sin? YES! As long as we live in these bodies on this earth, sin will have a constant presence all around us. So what does this passage of Scripture mean? It means that those who make a practice of sinning are not children of God.

Ok, so can a person on a church role that’s not been to church in years, and lives a life of sin, actually be saved? I think it could be possible, BUT I caution those in the ministry to approach this person as if he or she were lost based on this passage of scripture. If they really were saved and you approached them as if they were lost, what have you hurt? Maybe their feelings, but that’s more the convicting work of the Holy Spirit.

You see in this whole passage John is going back and forth about sin and righteousness, and Jesus and the Devil…But then in verse 10 it’s almost like he just adds in “nor is the one who does not love his brother.” What John is doing here is helping us to define what “unrighteousness” is.  Check out 1 John 3:14-

14 If we love our Christian brothers and sisters, it proves that we have passed from death to life. But a person who has no love is still dead.

Now, how do we love our brothers and sisters in Christ? Well, one way is by attending corporate worship with them! Praying together, giving together, helping each others needs together, furthering the Gospel together, etc. etc. etc.

The whole point is that the Word of God gives us clear insight on how to tell if a person is saved or lost. Obviously we as men and women can be fooled on both sides (i.e. a person we think is saved may be lost, and a person we think is lost may be saved). However, I think this applies practically because we as Southern Baptist believe in regenerate church membership! Our goal is to have every person who is a member of our church to actually be saved…This helps us greatly to go about the work of the Lord. I’m not saying call a special business meeting sunday to purge your role of the sinners! BUT, it’s time that we may need to go out and call those who have gone astray back home (cf. James 5:19-20)…

And it may just be that in the process we will win “new” converts to Christ.