Sunday, April 5, 2009

1 John 3

I wouldn't think that a chapter that starts about love and being God's children would be so controversial, but it is. People want to have their cake and eat it too. They want to worship a god that allows them to live in sin and seek their own way and still go to heaven and live in the presence of a holy God. We also like to say that only God knows a person's heart so we can't say for sure whether or not someone is truly a Christian or not but John says otherwise here.

So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the devil. Anyone who does not live righteously and does not love other believers does not belong to God.

I don't think that sounds like the "aw shucks, well she was a good person" god that we talk about a funerals. Or the "well I think he's a Christian" god that we worship when we're compromising about who we date. John says we should be able to confidently know our status, and probably the status of others by our actions. Demonstrable compassion=saved. Make a practice of sin=unsaved. Ouch? There's a verse far more face-slapping than any of these. Check out what verse 17 has to say to the wealthiest nation on the earth.

If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?

So how do we deal with that? We just don't look. Out of sight, out of mind. We pull into the bat cave in our cars (which are more valuable than most people's homes), close the garage door behind us, step into a room just for our cars (again nicer than many people's homes),and hole-up for the evening, watching images of the even richer, so we can convince ourselves this verse and the many others like it aren't talking about us.

OK, that was harsh. I know it's my soapbox. And I know I'm a hypocrite. The screen I'm typing on is 20 inches for crying out loud. But I want to have the confidence John promises. I want to live a life characterized by God's love rather than the accumulation of stuff. But that's why there's a face to the right. A face of a brother or sister in need. How can God's love be in us if we do nothing?