“He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.”
1 John 2:2 NLT
Only Jesus!!! No one else can pay for the sin of humanity. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:20). He was born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18, 23; Luke 1:27, 34). He lived a sinless life (2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15; I Peter 1:18-19; 2:22; 3:18; I John 3:5). Jesus is the only capable, qualified, and sufficient sacrifice for our sins. He has paid the debt we incurred. He paid a debt He did not owe! We owed a debt we could not pay! Thank God today that the price for your freedom was satisfied in the Lord Jesus Christ!!! To all who trust in Him as Lord and Savior, He pardons from sin and declares them righteous. Certainly not by deeds which we have done, but by the precious blood of Jesus!!! Sing it loud today. Let the earth ring out with praise. Lift your voice in adoration to the King! He is worthy!!!!!!!
My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous.” 1 John 2:1 NLT
As believers in, and disciples of, Jesus Christ we are called to be set apart from the world. This doesn’t mean that we don’t wear ordinary clothes, work regular jobs, and live ordinary lives. This does mean that we are seeking to please our extraordinary God in our words, thoughts, and deeds. We aren’t working for our salvation, but we are working for His Honor. We are His children and we should display His likeness as we grow and mature in Him. He knows our frame, that we are carnal (sinfully lustful) creatures. “For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust.”Psalms 103:14 NLT Through Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we are able to live a life that obeys and honors our Father. We cannot do this on our own merit. We must depend upon the presence and power of the Holy Spirit (see Galatians 5:16). We can make excuses for our sin or we can choose a way of escape from sin through Christ (see 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 and James 1:12-15). We can overcome through the power of Jesus Christ. We do not have to resign ourselves to the depravity and debauchery that this world thinks is “the life”. Personally, I choose Christ and the way of righteousness. Only He can satisfy my soul and give me real life here and eternal life to come. Hallelujah!!! If we do fall down, as believers, and find ourselves in a mud puddle of sin, we can confess our sins (1 John 1:9), repent of our sin (Acts 2:38 and 2 Corinthians 7:10). When we do this, we have an advocate named Jesus who pleads our case before the Father! The prosecuting attorney is Satan. He has his case nicely ordered to nail us to the wall. His attack is ferocious and relentless. His arrogance is repulsive. His statements against us are convincing and stinging, but, wait a minute!! Jesus, our defense attorney, has been here before. He knows every detail of our transgressions (violations). He is keenly aware of our guilt. He has accepted our case out of our cry for mercy and our desire for grace. He stands in the court room with absolute poise and confidence! He has faced this prosecutor, Satan, over and over again. In each case, that He has been asked to defend, His record is spotless. He has never lost a case to Satan. Suddenly, our head can lift from shame and disgrace to the gavel smash of a not guilty verdict and an announcement of grace and freedom. Our soul is stunned and overwhelmed as we walk out in utter amazement. We ask “how did this happen”? Jesus then replies “I paid your debt and your record is now expunged” (erased completely). Never has such love been known to us. We are free!! (see John 8:32, 36; Romans 8:1-4; and Galatians 5:1). Let’s not use our freedom as a license to sin, rather an opportunity to glorify our Savior!! After all, doesn’t He deserve our obedience? Let’s use our lives as a stage to present Him to others!
“If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.” 1 John 1:8-10 NLT
Each of us are guilty of sin. None of us are excluded from this category. Romans 3:23 tells us that we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s holy standard. There is only one alternative to the situation: Jesus Christ!!! He, and He alone, can forgive our sins and cleanse us from our wickedness. There is one requirement: Confession. I’m not talking about confessing to a man. We must confess to God, through Jesus Christ. He is the only mediator (see I Timothy 2:5). When we confess, we are agreeing with the charges. The marvelous and miraculous thing in this case is that, when we confess to God, we are immediately forgiven and the record is wiped clean. This is called “justification”. Justification, by definition, is being “declared righteous”. We could never make ourselves righteous. Only Jesus can make us righteous (see 2 Corinthians 5:21). Aren’t you glad that He has paid the price for your sin and graciously extends forgiveness? Without this, life would be hopeless!!
This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:5-7 NLT
God is Light. All light finds it’s source in God. He is the Light! The sun is a light! The Son (Jesus) is the Light (John 1:1-9)! Because God is Light, He dispels darkness, gives life to humanity, and shines upon our path so we can walk in the truth. Anyone who says they love Jesus but lives a life of darkness is deceived and lying. To know God is to know how to live. His light drives out the darkness in our lives. When we walk in fellowship with Christ Jesus our Lord we receive the corresponding benefit of His radiance as it illuminates everything, including our innermost secrets. God’s Light is fully illuminating. This means that there are no shadows in His Light. When we stand before the natural sunlight we cast a shadow. When we stand before the Son-Light, there are no shadows. The Light of Jesus permeates every crack and crevice of our lives. Only in a relationship with Jesus Christ can we experience His blood cleansing us from sin as His Light exposes our darkness. This is most marvelous!!! God shines His Light into our lives to show us sin and then, in return, offers us redemption through the blood of His Son. I am so thankful that His Light is showing me things in my life that, otherwise, I would not see and then, offers me forgiveness and freedom as His Light drives out the darkness. Are you walking in the Light??
We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy.” 1 John 1:3-4 NLT
John wanted his fellow man to experience the joy of knowing Jesus Christ as Lord. John had seen Him with his own eyes. Can you imagine what it was like to see Jesus, to walk beside Him, to listen to Him teach, to watch Him interact with people, and to marvel at His miraculous power. I sure would like to have been a fly on the wall! No one had done what Jesus did. No one spoke like He did. No one showed love like He did. John was captured by the person of Jesus Christ. He sat with Him at the table of the last supper (John chapter 13). He watched Him pray in the garden before His arrest (John 18:1-11). He watched Him as He was falsely accused at trial (John 18:12-40). He watched Him as the Roman soldiers beat Him beyond recognition (John 19:1). He watched as Jesus hung on the cross at Golgotha. (John 19:17-42). Wait! There is more!!! He ran with Peter to see the empty tomb (John 20:1-10). He watched as Jesus walked through the wall and appeared to the disciples after His resurrection (John 20:19-23). He stood gazing into heaven as Jesus ascended, and he heard the words of the angels as they reiterated the promise of His return (Acts 1:9-11). John wanted everyone to know Him too. When we truly know Jesus Christ as our Lord, grasp the fullness of who He is, what He has accomplished for us, what He can do, and the unsearchable riches of His grace, we, too, will want everyone to know Him!! My soul sighs in deep sorrow because of those who don’t know the joy Christ has brought to my life. My heart aches because so many are selling their lives to an artificial substitute. So many are searching for that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Its’s just a mirage in this life. However, Jesus has the rainbow wrapped around His shoulders. Nothing, and no one, can impart the joy to our lives that only our Creator can. Give me the world and I have nothing. Give me Jesus and I have the One who holds all of creation in the palm of His hand. I don’t know about you, but the joy Jesus gives me is beyond any temporary happiness that this current state of life can afford in its entirety.
Thank You Jesus for genuine, eternal joy. You have lavished my spirit and soul with the unfading beauty and majesty of Your presence. My soul is satisfied only in You!!! Like John, You are my JOY!!!!!!!
We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life. This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then he was revealed to us.” 1 John 1:1-2 NLT
The human author of this passage from God’s Word is none other than John “the beloved”, the disciple of Jesus. I, personally, love this brother in Christ. He is a man of great tenderness of heart, compassion toward others, and deep loyalty to the Lord Jesus Christ. He was there with Jesus from the beginning of His earthly ministry (see Matthew 10:1-4 and Luke 6:12-16). John had been an eyewitness of Jesus. He heard Jesus speak. He touched him with his own hands. There could not be a more credible witness than this. John loved Jesus and was determined to share the validity of Jesus deity to the world. John was absolutely convinced about Jesus being God who became a man. There are no stronger words, concerning Jesus divinity, spoken than Johns. There are, certainly, other equally strong words used by other New Testament writers (Matthew - Matthew 1:23; Paul - Colossians 1:15-19; 2:9)John is fixed on the necessity of proclaiming Jesus as God and Lord (John 1:1-18; 8:58; 10:30-33; 14:6-11; 17: entire chapter; I John 1:1-2; I John 2:23; 5:20; Revelation 1:8, 13-18; 19:11-16). John, without doubt, verifies the deity of Jesus Christ. This is a foundational doctrine of Christianity. God became a man, dwelt among us, lived a sinless life, died a substitutionary death for sinful man, was buried, and resurrected three days later. Let us shout it from the rooftops. JESUS CHRIST IS LORD!!!!!!!
“You already know these things, dear friends. So be on guard; then you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing. Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. All glory to him, both now and forever! Amen.” 2 Peter 3:17-18 NLT
If you know the truth of Jesus Christ, stand firm on it and refuse to give in to the false teaching of those who try to lead souls astray. “Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.” Ephesians 6:13-14 NLT There is a battle raging around us every day. Our preparations for that battle help us stay ready and alert. Growing in the knowledge of God’s Word helps us stand secure in His grace and protects us from the arrows of the enemy. When we allow our minds to wander from our daily focus as believers, we become susceptible to the voice of the enemy. He sets us up by distractions. He uses these opportunities to plant thoughts and soften up our convictions. Over a period of time we become cold and indifferent concerning the truth. Things no longer bother us like they used to. We find ourselves in a backslidden state of life. In those places we are extremely vulnerable to the enemy’s attacks. He has gotten us away from God’s Word, away from the family of God, and out of tune with the Father. This is a most dangerous place. Perhaps you are there right now. Turn to Jesus and fall into His arms of grace. Let Him restore you and revive you. It’s not too late. Stop letting things keep you from believing, and practicing, the truth. Don’t become a casualty of war. Don’t let Satan steal your testimony and disgrace the name of our Lord. Stand fast. Others are watching and need to know the truth. Think about your life and how it is affecting others. Do they see and hear the truth of the gospel in your life? Are you growing in grace or groping in disgrace? Stand up and be counted child of God! Give glory to God by the way you live your life. The truth is marching on!!
And remember, our Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved. This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him— speaking of these things in all of his letters. Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture. And this will result in their destruction.”
2 Peter 3:15-16 NLT
There are two things present in this scripture:
1. God’s patient allowance of time for mankind to hear the gospel and receive salvation. We need to understand that Jesus seeming “delay” in coming again is actually His mercy. He isn’t asleep in the heavens and He hasn’t had trouble preparing our eternal home. He is perfect in all His ways, including His timing. God wants man to come to salvation.
2. Some twist the scriptures because of their lack of understanding and stability in the things of God. In doing so, they create false doctrines that mislead men and eternally condemn them. All of us, as believers in Christ, should be about our Father’s business in telling the good news of Jesus, His return, and refuting false doctrines. We must be solidly, and soundly, established in the truth of God’s Word. Let’s make it our focus and goal to learn God’s Word this year and share it with others. If we do this, we will have a successful year.
Since everything around us is going to be destroyed like this, what holy and godly lives you should live, looking forward to the day of God and hurrying it along. On that day, he will set the heavens on fire, and the elements will melt away in the flames. But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness. And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight.” 2 Peter 3:11-14 NLT
As children of God, we should look forward to the day of God’s judgment on the world. We shouldn’t be afraid. Our sins are washed in the blood of the Lamb!!! We are forgiven!!! We should yearn for His return. The condition of the society around us should vex our souls and make us desire our eternal home. We shouldn’t gloat in the reality of the destruction of wicked men (Ezekiel 33:11), rather our deliverance from this wicked place. We weren’t made to live like this. We were made for so much more!! Jesus has redeemed us and made it possible for us to escape the wrath that is coming!!! (John 3:36; Romans 5:9;
I Thessalonians 5:9). Therefore, we must fix our gaze upon where we are going instead of where we are living. This current world should not hold us captive by its temporary pleasures. This life really isn’t what life is. In reality, we are physically dying every day. Those who don’t know Christ Jesus are spiritually and physically dying. We cannot allow Satan and his deceptive spell to be cast over our eyes. We should not let this temporary world place it’s claws in our soul. Let us look for the better kingdom coming. Our hearts should pound within our chest with absolute longing for the day of Jesus promised return. (John 14:1-3). Stay focused church!! Look up, not around (Luke 21:20-28). Move forward and don’t look back! Egypt is behind us. The promised land is before us!! (Exodus 14:13-15). The best is yet to come! While we remain here, let us live a life that honors Jesus and shines His light in the darkness (Matthew 5:16).
...Even so, come Lord Jesus!!!
But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment.” 2 Peter 3:10 NLT
Jesus is coming when people (the majority of humanity) are not expecting Him. Matthew 24:44 says “You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.” NLT. When He returns, there will be a time of judgment upon the wicked inhabitants of the earth. The current heavens (the sky, the stars, the solar system, and all of the heavenly bodies) and the earth will be purged by fire. God’s Word Translation says it like this: “The day of the Lord will come like a thief. On that day heaven will pass away with a roaring sound. Everything that makes up the universe will burn and be destroyed. The earth and everything that people have done on it will be exposed.” 2 Peter 3:10 GW The Amplified Version says: “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will vanish with a [mighty and thunderous] roar, and the [material] elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and the works that are on it will be burned up.” 2 PETER 3:10 AMP The New American Standard says: “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.” 2 Peter 3:10 NASB Studying the various translations of this text helps us clearly understand that there will be a cataclysmic (apocalyptic) event that will occur when Jesus comes again. This event will bring finality to sin, sickness, suffering, sorrow, and Satan. The current earth and heaven will be made new. This is the hope of all believers. Nonbelievers should fear this day. As believers, we should respond as John did on the island of Patmos (where he was exiled for his witness of Jesus Christ): “He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” Revelation 22:20 KJV
Rev. Curtis Norris