June 16: Not Perfect?
Ezra 1:1–2:70; 1 John 3:5–10; Psalm 106:1–15
Sometimes sin can discourage us to the point that we loathe ourselves. At first glance, John’s letter seems to encourage this. Addressing a struggling church community, John seems to call for perfection: “And you know that that one was revealed in order that he might take away sins, and in him there is no sin. Everyone who resides in him does not sin. Everyone who sins has neither seen him nor known him” (1 John 3:5–6). Does this mean that people who struggle with sin are unable to know God?
In his letter, John is actually addressing the false idea that was rampant in the community he addressed—that Christ’s sacrifice had covered sin, and therefore it was permissible to keep sinning. This is an issue that Paul addresses in his letter to the Roman Christians: “Should we go on sinning then, that grace may increase? May it never be!” (Rom 6:2). John answers the same way. He’s not saying that any sin indicates an inability to know God—he’s addressing the heart of the practice of sin (1 John 3:8).
Unchecked sin is an offense against God—it’s rebellion against Him and an attack on His character. Before we were brought into relationship with God, we were characterized by enslavement to sin. Through Christ’s sacrifice, we’re in relationship with Him, and our lives begin to reflect our new identity in Him. What should our lives look like now? John gives us an idea later in the chapter: “Everyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, namely, the one who does not love his brother” (1 John 3:10). Instead of rampant disobedience, then, the practice of “the children of God” is righteousness and love for others.
Though sin is still present in our lives, and we may be discouraged by it, we are no longer defined by it. Rather, we desire a new type of obedience and love, which God works in us.
Does your perspective on sin need to change? How can your actions reflect your freedom from sin?
REBECCA VAN NOORD
- Now in the first year of Cyrus King of Persia (that the word of the LORD, spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah, might be accomplished) the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus King of Persia, and he made a proclamation through all his kingdom, and also by writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus King of Persia, The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he hath commanded me to build him an house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is he among you of all his people with whom his God is? let him go up to Jerusalem which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel: he is the God, which is in Jerusalem. And everyone that remaineth in any place (where he sojourneth) let the men of his place relieve him with silver and with gold, and with substance, and with cattle, and with a willing offering, for the house of God that is in Jerusalem. Then the chief fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the Priests and the Levites rose up, with all them whose spirit God had raised to go up, to build the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem. And all they that were about them, strengthened their hands with vessels of silver, with gold, with substance and with cattle, and with precious things, besides all that was willingly offered. Also the king Cyrus brought forth the vessels of the house of the Lord, which Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of Jerusalem, and had put them in the house of his god. Even them did Cyrus king of Persia bring forth by the hand of Mithredath the treasurer, and counted htem unto Sheshbazzar the Prince of Judah. And this is the number of them, thirty basins of gold, a thousand basins of silver, nine and twenty knives., Thirty bowls of gold, and of silver bowls of the second sort, four hundred and ten, and of other vessels, a thousand. All the vessels of gold and silver were five thousand and four hundred. Sheshbazzar brought up all with them of the captivity that came up from Babel to Jerusalem These also are the sons of the province that went up out of the captivity (whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babel had carried away unto Babel) and returned to Jerusalem, and to Judah, everyone unto his city, Which came up with Zerubbabel, to wit, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilsham, Mispar, Bigvai, Rehum, Baanah. The number of the men of the people of Israel was, The sons of Parosh, two thousand, an hundred seventy and two: The sons of Shephatiah, three hundred, seventy and two: The sons of Arah, seven hundred, and seventy and five: The sons of Pahath-Moab, of the sons of Jeshua, and Joab, two thousand, eight hundred and twelve: The sons of Elam, a thousand, two hundred and four and fifty: The sons of Zattu, nine hundred and five and forty: The sons of Zaccai, seven hundred and threescore: The sons of Bani, six hundred and two and forty: The sons of Bebai, six hundred, and three and twenty: The sons of Azgad, a thousand, two hundred and two and twenty: The sons of Adonikam, six hundred, three scroe and six: The sons of Bigvai, two thousand, and six and fifty: The sons of Adin, four hundred and four and fifty: The sons of Arter of Hezekiah, ninety and eight: The sons of Bezai, three hundred and three and twenty: The sons of Jorah, an hundred and twelve: The sons of Hashum, two hundred and three and twenty: The sons of Gibbar, ninety and five: The sons of Bethlehem, an hundred and three and twenty: The sons of Netophah, six and fifty: The sons of Anothoth, an hundred and eight and twenty: The sons of Azmaveth, two and fort: The sons of Azmaveth, an hundred and eight and twenty: The sons of Kirjath Arim, of Chephirah, and Beeroth, seven hundred and three and forty: The sons of Ramah and Geba, six hundred and one and twenty: The sons of Michmas, an hundred and two and twenty: The sons of Bethel, and Ai, two hundred and three and twenty: The sons of Nebo, two and fifty: The sons of Magbish, an hundred and six and fifty: The sons of the other Elam, a thousand, and two hundred and four and fifty: The sons of Harim, three hundred and twenty: The sons of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, seven hundred and five and twenty: The sons of Jericho, three hundred and five and forty: The sons of Senaah, three thousand six hundred and thirty: The Priests: of The sons of Jedaiah of the house of Jeshua, nine hundred seventy and three: The sons of Immer, a thousand and two and fifty: The sons of Pashur, a thousand, two hundred and seven and forty: The sons of Harim, a thousand and seventeen. The Levites: The sons of Jeshua, and Kadmiel of the sons of Hodaviah, seventy and four. The Singers: the sons of Asaph, an hundred and eight and twenty. The sons of the porters: the sons of Shallum, the sons of Ater, the sons of Talmon, the sons of Akkub, the sons of Hatita, the sons of Shobai: all were an hundred and nine and thirty. The Nethinim: the sons of Ziha, the sons of Hasupha, the sons of Tabboath, The sons of Keros, the sons of Siaha, the sons of Padon, The sons of Lebanah, the sons of Hagabah, the sons of Akkub, The sons of Hagab, the sons of Shamlai, the sons of Hanan, The sons of Giddel, the sons of Gathar, the sons of Reaiah, The sons of Rezin, the sons of Nekoda, the sons of Gazzam, The sons of Uzza, the sons of Paseah, the sons of Besai, The sons of Asnah, the sons of Meunim, the sons of Nephusim, The sons of Bakbuk, the sons of Hakupha, the sons of Harhur, The sons of Bazluth, the sons of Mehida, the sons of Harsha, The sons of Bazluth, the sons of Mehida, the sons of Harsha, The sons of Barkos, the sons of Sisera, the sons of Thamah, The sons of Neziah, the sons of Hatipha, The sons of Solomon’s servants: the sons of Sotai, the sons of Sophereth, the sons of Peruda, The sons of Jaala, the sons of Darkon, the sons of Giddel, The sons of Shephatiah, the sons of Hattil, the sons of Pochereth Hazzebaim, the sons of Ami. All the Nethinim, and the sons of Solomon’s servants were three hundred ninety and two. And these went up from Tel Melah, and from Tel Harsha, Cherub, Addan, and Immer, but they could not discern their father’s house and their seed, whether they were of Israel. The sons of Delaiah, the sons of Tobiah, the sons of Nekoda, six hundred and two and fifty. The sons of the Priests, the sons of Habaiah, the sons of Koz, the sons of Barzillai: which took of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite to wife, and was called after their name. These sought their writing of the genealogies, but they were not found: therefore were they put from the Priesthood. And Tirshatha said unto them, that they should not eat of the most high thing, till there rose up a Priest with Urim and Thummim. The whole Congregation together was two and forty thousand, three hundred and threescore, Beside their servants and their maids of whom were seven thousand, three hundred and seven and thirty: and among them weretwo hundred singing men and singing women. Their horses were seven hundred, and six and thirty: their mules, two hundred, and five and forty: Their camels four hundred, and five and thirty: their asses, six thousand, seven hundred and twenty: And certain of the chief fathers, when they came to the house of the Lord, which was in Jerusalem, they offered willingly for the house of God, to set it up upon his foundation. They gave after their ability unto the treasure of the work, even one and threescore thousand drams of gold, and five thousand pieces of silver, and an hundred Priests’ garments. So the Priests and the Levites, and a certain of the people, and the singers, and the porters, and the Nethinim dwelt in their cities, and all Israel in their cities. Ezra 1:1–2:70
- And ye know that he was made manifest, that he might take away our sins, and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him, sinneth not: whosoever sinneth, hath not seen him, neither hath known him. Little children, let no man deceive you, he that doeth righteousness, is righteous, as he is righteous. He that commiteth sin, is of the devil: for the devil sinneth fro the beginning: for this purpose was made manifest the Son of God, that he might loose the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God sinneth not:: for his seed remaineth in him, neither can he sin, because he is born of God. In this are the children of God known, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness, is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. 1 John 3:5–10
- Praise ye the Lord because he is good, for his mercy endureth forever. Who can express the noble acts of the Lord, or show forth all his praise? Blessed are they that keep judgment, and do righteousness at all times. Remember me, O Lord, with the favor of thy people: visit me with thy salvation. That I may see the felicity of thy chosen, and rejoice in the joy of thy people, and glory with thine inheritance. We have sinned with our fathers: we have committed iniquity, and done wickedly. Our fathers understood not thy wonders in Egypt, neither remembered they the multitude of thy mercies, but rebelled at the Sea, even at the red sea. Nevertheless he saved them for his Name’s sake, that he might make his power to be known. And he rebuked the red sea, and it was dried up, and he led them in the deep, as in the wilderness. And he saved them from the adversary’s hand, and delivered them from the hand of the enemy And the waters covered their oppressors: not one of them was left. Then believed they his words, and sang praise unto him. But incontinently they forgat his works, they waited not for his counsel, But lusted with concupiscence in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert. Then he gave them their desire: but he sent leanness into their soul. Psalm 106:1–15