Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Devotional Help: 1 John 2.1-2

1 John 2.1-2

2.1My little children, I’m writing these things to you, so that you don’t sin. And if someone does sin, we have an Advocate to the Father, Jesus the Messiah, the Righteous One! 2And This Man is the propitiation for our sins, but not only for ours, but also for the whole world. 


1. It's simple, but John doesn't want us to sin. And that concern seems tied to his fatherly role in the lives of the believers he is writing too. He is writing out of love and concern for people that he thinks of as his children. He calls them little children, which probably sounded more endearing when he said it in Greek, than it does in English, much like in Spanish when endearing emotions can be communicated by saying "Mis hijitos" or "mis ninitos" instead of "mis hijos" or "mis ninos." The point is that he loves them and cares about them as a father. For me personally, this reminds me how much I need to love my spiritual children, and how important it is that I really communicate to them that I love them--so, any youth group student that reads this, know that I love you and care about you, and that is why I teach you.

2. Although the whole point is that John doesn't want us to sin, he still knows that Christians aren't perfect and need some amount of hope when they see all the failure and sin in their lives. I need that comfort as much as anyone else, and I am really thankful to God that I do have hope and comfort in my failure and sin. That comfort is that Jesus is backing me up. When I fail, He picks up the slack. He is the One to tells my Abba Father in Heaven that He has already taken my punishment and that I am clean and pure and holy because of His death and Resurrection! That He is my Righteousness! That my righteousness doesn't come from me! This is really important, because I always feel tempted to have to deserve my relationship with God or the grace He gives me, but because of Jesus I don't have to try to deserve it by not sinning, because I already deserve it in Jesus--because of all Who Jesus is and because of all He has already done, I am righteous, I do deserve my relationship with God. The most awesome thing is that I don't deserve my deservedness, but I have been given a right relationship with God based on Jesus' deservedness! Jesus ROCKS!!!

3. Propitiation means that Jesus took away all of God's anger against me and my sin and put it on Himself, but because He was so good and righteous and never did anything wrong, Jesus got rid of that anger. But it also means that He cleaned out the sin and evil in me, by His death on the Cross. Jesus dealt with my sin and now I can have a good relationship with God!

4. Advocate means that Jesus right now is with God the Father arguing on my behalf that God would forgive me, bless me, and use me, not because of what I am or have done, but because of Him and all that He has done! I don't have to worry about whether God likes me, because I know Jesus is convincing Him that He does and that because of what Jesus did, I am connected to His likability, which makes me likable! Awesome!

5. Now, that last part about Jesus being the propitiation for the whole world is weird. What does that mean? Because if Jesus is the propitiation for my sins, that makes me right with God, but is the whole world right with God because of Jesus' death? No, I don't think so. But it is interesting, because John doesn't say Jesus was the propitiation "for the sins of the whole world," but "for the whole world." That might not make that much difference, but it seems to point us away from thinking that everyone in the whole world is saved because of Jesus. It seems to mean that Jesus' death did something for the whole world, even if it didn't exactly get rid of the sin of the whole world. What is that something? Well, I think it is talking about how Jesus' death enables God to bless the whole world and not just blow it to smithereens. This is called the Doctrine of Common Grace, which is about how God can given good things to the whole world, even the people who don't trust in Jesus for eternal life. Common Grace means that God gives non-Christians a good life, happiness, children, hope, safety, and other blessings, as well as Christians, but this grace is only for this life. So Jesus' death is how God can give people good things now, even if He will send them to hell later, because they refused to trust in Christ for eternal life. It is awesome. I am so thankful for common grace. It is the reason why food tastes good, why people aren't as bad as they could be, why even non-Christians are able to love people, why clothes aren't always scratchy and ugly, and why people are able to invent cool things that improve the lives of others. Really all those things are because Jesus's death on the cross took away God's anger enough to allow Him the whole world, even those it doesn't love or obey or trust in Jesus.


Abba, protect me from the lie that I have to deserve anything on my own. Help me to depend of Jesus to deserve everything for me! Jesus, please convince our Father to bless me, forgive my sins, and use me, because You know that I've sinned big time and I deserve only endless punishment and pain! But Lord Jesus, I praise You, because in You I deserve the opposite of everything I otherwise would deserve! In You I deserve love, forgiveness, blessing, and joy! Thanks for dying on the cross and working on my behalf even now! Abba, thanks for common grace! Thanks so much that the world is not as bad as it could be! Thanks that Jesus' death was enough to allow for You to bless the whole world! Help me love my spiritual children and communicate to them that I love them, just like John did. Help me know how much my spiritual leaders love me and help me to be easy to love. And, Abba, You know that I don't want to sin, but I do. I sin I a lot! PLEASE FORGIVE ME BECAUSE JESUS IS MY PROPITIATION! Because of all He did, all that I've done has already been punished! So, Look at Jesus, and give me His blessings! Use me for Your glory and work, not because I deserve it, but because Jesus deserves it! Keep me from sin! Abba, I sin so much, and I don't even know what I am doing is sin, so make my sin clear to me and keep from the sins that I find so tempting! I don't want to sin against You, and John wrote this whole section so I wouldn't, so keep me from sin and empower me by Your Holy Spirit to live for You! In Jesus' Name I ask all these things, by Your Holy Spirit, Amen!

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