Do any of you have a piano at home? We got one for free (just had to pick it up) from friends who needed it moved. It’s not a great piano, but we now have it and the kids love to play on it. Even I sometimes will play on it. And it is abundantly clear that some of us play on it while others actually practice on it.
To occasionally walk by and tap a few keys is one thing. To even sit down every once in a while and tap out part of a song is another. But to sit there with music in front of you and go through it over and over, seeking to improve, that is practicing the piano.
It’s the word practice that stood out to me in my reading this morning.
“Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. … By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.” (1 John 3:4,10)
John was not saying that everyone who commits a sin is of the devil, he said everyone who “makes a practice of sinning” is. The dictionary defines practice as “habitual or customary performance. Simply doing a thing does not mean you make a practice of it. However it becomes a practice when it is done habitually, consistently, repeatedly.
It is the distinction between committing a sin and being in the practice of sin that seems cause issues with various groups of Christians. Since all Christians still will commit sins at times, some will say “what right do you have to judge one persons sins if you are not without sin yourself?” As a result of this belief, that kind of Christian will turn a blind eye to others who are still in the practice of sinning.
Yes, it’s true. Every Christian still continues to commit sin in their life. But as a result of their faith in Jesus Christ and acceptance that His death paid for their sins, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Rom 8:1) We are still made up of flesh and we are still sinners saved by grace. John is not saying that all who ever commit a sin are now condemned and of the devil.
However, to be in the practice of sin is another thing all together. To make a lifestyle choice that says ‘I believe this thing is OK so therefore I will continue to do it’ is not following Christ, it is making a practice of sinning.
As our society continues to accept more and more sin as a normal way of life, Christians who call sin for what it is will continue to be seen as judging. When Christians change their practice or beliefs because society has changed its opinion of an action, they are no longer following God’s laws, but instead are following man’s laws.
Man’s laws will always change. The world view of various actions will continue to change. But God’s laws never do. Don’t get into the practice of sinning just because society no longer labels it as sin. That is the devil’s lie, to change definitions of things.
Yes, you will still commit sins at times… but that does not mean you need to be in the practice of sinning.
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