Thursday, December 6

You know them by what they practice…

1 John 3:4-10 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. (5) You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. (6) No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. (7) Little 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. (10) By 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.

A leading advocate of free grace theology said the following: “When one finds a consistent line of exposition and interpretation that allows him to take the words of Scripture at their face value, in other words, for what they literally say, without the inclusion of secondary assumptions and gratuitous importation, he has found exegetical gold.”

When we look at the passage above and take it at face value and literally as he suggested, what do we learn? Is it accurate to glean the following from this passage using this exegetical method?

(1) Sin is lawlessness.
(2) Jesus is sinless and came to take away sin.
(3) No one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.
(4) Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil.
(5) No one born of God makes a practice of sinning.
(6) Jesus appeared to destroy the works of the devil.
(7) There are two kinds of people: children of the devil and children of God.
(8) Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God and therefore of the devil.
(9) Whoever is born of God has God’s seed abiding in him.
(10) Those born of God cannot keep on sinning
(11) The children of God are saved and the Children of the devil are not saved.

Since being born again is a divine action performed on a person by God, doesn’t this passage indicate such a person has been changed and is a new creation just as 2 Cor. 5:17 teaches? Therefore, would it then follow that all who are born again and saved respond to this change, caused by God, by not making a practice of sinning and anyone who does make a practice of sinning is of the devil, not born again, and not saved? If this is true, wouldn’t this rule out the possibility of the “carnal Christian” concept of free grace theology, that holds that a person can be saved and yet show no discipleship, obedience, sanctification, or restraint in sinning?

What are your thoughts?


Anonymous said...

I agree with you. It doesn't make sense that a person could be 'born again' and not be changed. Without repentance, what's the point? If we're not changed, then why bother?

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Give our regards to Jazzy. Grace got a negative on her inquiry recently with her dad to get a cat, but my money's on her in the long run. I'm staying silent on both sides of the issue, but hope for a feline of our own some day...

jazzycat said...

Yes, I believe John is saying, as the title of this posts suggests, you know them by what they practice. I believe James said the same thing........

mark pierson said...

I have a commentary by William MacDonald, and edited by Art Farstadt. MacDonald is close in some ways to Hodges, and Farstadt has worked with Hodges on some Majority Text issues. Anyways, MacDonald's take on 2 Cor. 5:17 is that we are *positionally* new creations, the old lusts and such are still there, with final realization awaiting glorification. While that is true his comment there leaves the impression that one need not worry about failure to experience newness of life now. It seems he lets positional considerations outweigh experiencial.

mark pierson said...

How about this post make it to bc blog, eh?

Steve said...

That's a GREAT quote. Thanks.