A Reality Self-Check Up

“No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him.”

1 John 3:6

As a teenager, I would often find myself having little assurance of faith. This, in part, was because of the mindset I possessed as a young teenager. I constantly battled with an outlook on life that if I sinned in some form or fashion, my day would be worse because of it or if something negative happened to me that day, it was because I had previously sinned.

1 John is a letter about assurance of faith. John was writing to former Jews who had difficulty returning to the old ways of Judaism of aiming to keep the law rather than being justified by Christ’s finished work on the cross. The Jewish faith primarily focused on keeping the Mosaic Law which, therefore, gave special adherence to the law for Jewish people.

Our Problematic Nature

Our nature, as human beings, is to follow rules. We feel a sense of completeness and worth when we keep rules and do the right thing. It is within all of us. However, just as doing the right thing results in affirmation, doing the wrong thing results in shame – which it should.

The problem with our nature, however, is that we are wicked and evil. Jeremiah 17:9 says

The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it?”

Our hearts are sick. Our natures are problematic. Our wills are evil. Our wants are tainted. Our minds are impure. Our motives are impulsive. There is no way we can want anything that is good or right because our hearts are sick. Not just sick, but desperately sick. The word “desperately” here implies that our heart is “pertaining to an object or ground that is not smooth or level.”[1]

Our hearts are like rocky ground – bumpy and inconsistent. We cannot make decisions because our hearts are sick and our natures are natural to lead someone astray.

An Encouraging Appeasement

It’s easy for us to “slap ourselves on the hand” everytime we make an immoral action in life. In fact, you would have a constant red hand if such things were true. However, this is not how Christ instituted the New Covenant and its purpose. Instead, Christ came into the world for a specific purpose. 1 John 2:2 shows us that Christ came to be our propitiation. The word propitiation means to appease or to expiate.

We find this word a bit unfamiliar to our English vernacular. However, what we find in Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is the appeasement of God’s wrath toward you. Christ’s sacrifice was a once and for all appeasement of God’s wrath for those who will respond in faith and belief.

Therefore, we find in 1 John 3:6 that our imperfect attempt to live a holy life is sopped up in the blood of Christ on the cross!

Live in light of the propitiation you have received today, Christian. For it has given you the righteousness of Christ that has made you right with God.

Soli Deo Gloria


[1] Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Hebrew (Old Testament) (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

Ben Campbell

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