Volume. XXIII, No. 37
Sunday, 08 March 2009


Purifying Oneself in the Glorious Hope (Part 1)


Introduction

It said in France, if a man is introduced to a woman who is an expectant mother, it is the height of politeness for him to congratulate her: "Je vous felicite de votre esperance," which means "I congratulate you on your hope." Just as a woman becomes pregnant in anticipation of bearing a child, so a believer becomes saved in anticipation of being fully like the Lord Jesus Christ because it is unto this state of hope that we are saved!

Are you saved in anticipation of being fully like our Lord Jesus when He returns for us like any expectant mother who awaits for the coming of her dear baby? If this had been your hope, how should it impact your Christian walk with God and your relationship with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ? But how should we keep ourselves pure? Apostle John in 1 John 3:4-12 urged us that we should keep ourselves pure by keeping God’s law and abiding in His Son; we should also purify ourselves by loving righteousness and abhorring evil; and should purify ourselves by loving one another without jealousy.

First, You Should Purify Yourself by Keeping God’s Laws and Abiding in His Son (vv.4-6)

By Keeping God’s Laws (vv.4,5)

John in verse 4 says, “whosoever commits sin transgresseth also the law.” Here Apostle John defines for us what sin is. John defines sin as a disregard for the law of God, which is inherently a disregard for the law Maker, God Himself. Non-Christians would never accept this fact, because they won’t recognise sin as an offense against their Creator, the Great Law Maker, God. But unfortunately, how often God’s people also do not recognise this truth. Many Christians rather called sin “a mistake that we made.” It is important to recognize sin as it is: “an offense against the Great Law Maker, God.” Is it not what WCF shorter catechism #9 defines concerning sin? “Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God.” As one theologian says, “The first step towards holy living is to recognise the true nature and wickedness of sin.” Therefore, keeping God’s law is the first step that a Christian should do in order to purify himself.

Apostle John also says in verse 5, “And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.” The “he” of course refers to our Lord. Here, John goes on to remind us that the mission of our Lord at its most basic root, is to take away our sins. Some may say, “If Jesus has already taken away all our sins, why is it that Christians need to keep God’s Law in order to purify themselves?” Yes, Jesus took away our sin, but in the sense of taking the penalty of our sin and the power of sin away in this present life. These two are accomplished when a person believes in Jesus as his Lord and Saviour. But while we are living on earth, we only have taken away the penalty and the power of sin from us, but not yet the presence of sin. This is a work that will be completed when we pass into eternity and are glorified with Jesus when we see Him face to face. Therefore, it is a must for Christians to keep God’s laws in order to purify yourself in this life, and it is process which we often called sanctification.

By Abiding in His Son (v.6)

Apostle John in verse 6 says “Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.” In other words, it is important for one to abide in Him in order to purify oneself. But what is the meaning of “Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not”? Does it mean that Christians cannot sin or should be sinlessly perfect once he becomes a Christian?  No. The word “abides” here means to “remain, to continue”. It is used of persons remaining or dwelling in a place, in the sense of abiding there permanently, or lodging there. Therefore, it is not simply by coming to Him as a Christian but remaining in Him as His disciple.

Furthermore, the word “sin” or “to sin” in verse 6 also carries the idea of “does not live a life style of habitual sin.”  The phrase “sinneth not” in verse 6 is a present tense verb which in Greek implies a habit, continuity, unbroken sequence. Thus, it is speaking of a settled, continued lifestyle of sin. In other words, verse 6 can also be rendered as “whosoever continues to remain in Him sins not continually or habitually”. This implies that it is not possible for a born again Christian to settle or continue in a lifestyle of sin if he remains and abides in Christ! This is because a believer himself possess the power to resist and overcome temptation and not to sin because Christ has overcome sin and death for His people (1Cor 15:56,57). This means, if a person claims himself to be a Christian, yet never willing to put away his past sinful lifestyle and continues in his lifestyle of sin without any sense of remorse, this is evidence that the person’s salvation remains under a big question mark. Does it mean Christians would never sin habitually? It is possible for a true Christian to temporarily live in a life style of sin, but not continually and permanently without any sense of remorse, for it is utterly incompatible for a new creation in Christ to be comfortable in his habitual sin. Thus, the question is not so much “is it possible for a Christian to sin?” We all sin, even habitually sometimes or for a while. The question should be, “How should a Christian react when he sins?” Does he let himself live in the pattern of sin, and let it dominate his lifestyle continually? Has he ever humbly confessed his weaknesses and been willing to fight the battle against it with the grace given to him?

Nevertheless, Christians should not make excuses for their sin as Paul said in Romans 6, so to “allow God’s grace to be magnified when we sin.” God forbid. We should never sign a “peace treaty” with sin or wink at its presence or excuse it by saying, “Everybody has their own area of weakness, and this is mine and I can’t help it.” No, we should strive to overcome sin by the power of Christ by depending on the grace of God each day to live a holier life.

(To be continued next Lord’s Day)

Pastor Weng


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

Announcements

Ps Ki has answered God’s call to serve in New Life BPC, London.

Bible Witness - Please help yourself to a copy.

Transport and Food needed for Senior Citizens’  Fellowship Meeting. If you can help, please see Sis Peng Ha Yeo.

Congratulations to Bro Joseph Ng and Sis Ayji Chong on the Blessing of their Wedding yesterday in Canberra.

Service Roster for the next quarter is being prepared. Please let Dn Edwin D’Mello know if you can serve the LORD. 

Basic Bible Knowledge Class about to begin. If interested, please see Elder Michael D Lee.

 

Looking Ahead

Family Bible Conference at Easter, 10-13 April 2009.

 

Praise & Thanksgiving

Journey mercies: Bros Laurie Brown, Edward Ee, Kwanthar Lim, Fred Loo, & Barry Palm (Adl); Mrs. May Loh, Mr & Mrs Heng Wee Tan (S’pore); Sisters Sarah Carpenter & Purdee Yeo (Canb), Smrithi George (Melb), Melissa Chong, Judy Li & Juanita Tong (Adl).

Church activities: BSAG, Joy & Maranatha; E-Ministry;  Shorter Catechism Class; Sparks4Christ; YAF Seminar.

Inaugural Hope B-P Chinese Ministry yesterday.

Victorian Bush Fire under control.

90th Birthday of Auntie Oei.

Job for Sis Angie Yuen

 

Prayer Items

Health & God’s healing - Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren; Rev John & Mrs Christine McKenzie; Rev Peter Clements,  Rev Stephen Khoo, Rev Timothy Tow, Dr S H Tow, Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros Tommy Brooks, Yew Shing Chan, Colin Creaser, S Dhamarlingam, Makoto Kobayashi, Raphael Ng’s father, Richard Pearson, Winston Selvanayagam, & Hans Ziegelmann; Mr Yeom. Grandpa Ki; Auntie Oei; Sisters Mabella Booth, Lai Kheng Cheong, Nita Chong, Annie D’Mello, Myung Ki, Alice Lee’s father, Fiona Paauwe; Margaret, Dianne, & Sarah Pearson; Aranka Rejtoe, Susan Veradi, Irena Kurek-Braden, Giok Yeo’s sister-in-law; Piah Buey Yeo & others in affliction.

Missions - Cambodia: (Rev Stephen Choi & Ministry in Phnom Penh & Kandal), Pastors & believers in Laos, Pakistan & India; Kuching Ministry (Teo family).

Sketch n’ Tell Ministry - Pr H S Lim

Pastor Ki: future ministry in New Life BPC (Lond) & his family.

Journey Mercies: Sisters Sarah Carpenter, Purdee Yeo (Adl) & Michelle Lee (Arno Bay); Invited guests of Bro Barry Palm & Sis Juanita Tong from interstate & overseas; & all others who are travelling.

Pastor Weng: ministry & family in Hope BPC. Message preparations for Ebenezer BPC’s Family Bible Camp at Easter.

Outreach to Mandarin speakers in Adelaide.

Job - Bro Cong Pham; Sisters Marion Chan, Tabitha Heah & Judy Li.

BPCWA (Perth) - God’s guidance & wisdom.

Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe (Perth) -  Wisdom and guidance.

Rev & Mrs Patrick Tan - preparation for Easter Bible Conference

Bro Barry Palm & Sis Juanita Tong - wedding next Saturday.

 

 

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PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063