On Wednesday evenings I am teaching through 1 John. Tonight we began to address Chapter 2. As I began to teach God spoke powerfully to my heart and I
want need to share it with you. Let me share the passage first.
1My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for[a] the sins of the whole world.
3We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. 4The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love[b] is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: 6Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.
7Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard. 8Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.
9Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. 10Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him[c] to make him stumble. 11But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him.
Two things in particular jumped out at me this evening. The first is verses 9-11. The command to love our brothers and sisters is so clear. In the past year and a half I have jumped in with both feet to the world of denominational controversy. In just the past month I have done so in regards to our state controversy. In the midst of the conversation I have had (and continue to have) strongly held opinions. I have stated them at times, and I’m sure have alienated people in the process. For a long time I was consistent in my reminders to each other in the blog world that this is not a fight between enemies but rather a disagreement between brothers and sisters. As I’ve progressed (or digressed, as the situation may have it) in this conversation, however, I have found myself more and more firm in my positions and less willing to listen to contrary positions. I have found myself setting up those who disagree with me as “enemies” in my mind. Let me please confess tonight that sin!
If you claim the name of Christ and are working together with me in the SBC (or outside the SBC for that matter) let me reiterate the truth that you are family with me. I am not your enemy and you are not mine. I will not treat you as such. I apologize for my sometimes arrogant behavior and I anticipate greatly the opportunity to partner with the brothers and sisters in Christ who disagree with me on many of these issues. Please forgive me!
The second truth that I noticed in the passage is in the beginning, in verse two to be exact. We are told that Christ is the “atoning sacrifice” for our sins. As I thought, tonight, about setting myself against my brothers and sisters it is as if God directed me to that verse and reminded me that even for this sin, Christ died. I praise the Lord tonight that I can rest in His grace. I hope you can do the same.