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I am writing this to you, my children, so that you will not sin; but if anyone does sin, we have someone who pleads with the Father on our behalf—Jesus Christ…
(1 John 2:1 TEV)
God’s goal for you is that you will not sin. Notice that the Apostle John does not say “when you sin,” but if. Yes, we all fall short, and yes, while we were still sinners God saved us, but that does not mean the realm of sin is where we stay. By constantly saying, “I’m a sinner—but I’m so thankful God saved me and forgives me!” we live with a sin consciousness. If we are living according to the revelation of grace, our hearts should instead be focused on a right standing with God consciousness. As a believer, you may still sin, but you are not a sinner.
Those who keep on sinning have never known [Christ] or understood who he is…. It shows they belong to the Devil….
(1 John 3:6, 8 NLT)
The Amplified Bible puts 1 John 3:6 this way: “No one who [habitually] sins has either seen or known Him….” The new covenant of grace empowers us to be free of both the penalty and power of sin so that we no longer habitually practice ungodliness. Yet sin consciousness will steer us right back into sin.

Shame, guilt, and condemnation always hinder us from ruling in life. God wants you to succeed; it’s the enemy who wants you to fail. Condemnation and correction both hurt! But there is an absolute difference between the two.

Condemnation, which comes from the enemy, leaves us feeling like there is no way out. We feel that we are forever judged. Correction, on the other hand, offers a way out: repentance. God corrects us to restore our fellowship with Him and to make us more like Him. He always wants to pull us closer, not push us away.

Because being in Christ leads to freedom from the power of sin, if you are looking for a license to sin, you are on dangerously deceptive ground. As believers, our question shouldn’t be, “Where is the line?” Instead we should ask, “How close can I get to my Father?” By getting close to God we get close to His grace, which empowers us to live righteously.
…If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong.
(1 John 1:9 NLT)
Faithful means God will forgive you every time you repent. Just means He will do it no matter who you are or what you’ve done. He will cleanse you from any wrong and make it as if you’ve never sinned.

Have you sought the license to sin rather than the empowerment to be holy? Repent before God and ask Him to give you a passion for righteousness. Are you plagued by guilt over sin you’ve already repented of? Settle it now: if you have genuinely repented and confessed your sin to the Lord, you stand before God as if you never committed the sin. It’s that simple.

Source: Relentless (WaterBRook Press, 20011) by John Bevere
Excerpt permission granted by Messenger International.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.



Author Biography

John Bevere
Web site: Messenger International
 
Over 30 years ago, John and Lisa Bevere met in college. John was a tennis-playing engineering student, and Lisa was a sorority girl. On their very first date, John shared the gospel with Lisa and she gave her life to Christ. Soon after, they got married, and they've been happily married ever since.
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