If you are confused as to why I am writing about the Bible, you can read more about this 5 year long project back at the beginning of this thread. But basically I am writing at least 1 thousand words for each book of the Bible. Why? Well, an atheist was doing it, and I figured… heck, if he can do it, then so can I.

So we are nearing the fantastic and gloriously cataclysmic ending of this transcendental love story between God and man. And I really believe that is what this story is really about. After five or six years of coming and going with this project, I really do believe that this is what the Bible is all about. Sure, we could all get hung up on the Old Testament prescriptions for a desert culture not dying from food poisoning. And rules about not eating hooves or whatever. Ok. But the enormous take away for me in this project has been just gracious the creator of the universe has been with all of us. The fact that He has created a covenant with us, and He is fulfilling both sides of said covenant on our behalf is just mind blowing. Why would He do that for us? Well, uh, because He is crazy, madly, and perfectly, in love with you. We have been right jerks to Him, but He is making a way for us to be restored into relationship with Him. Man is that mind blowing.

Well, for this entry in our excursion in to First John I figured we’d do something a little different. This time, I’m going to talk a look at a conundrum posed at the end of chapter 1. Alright, let’s take a peek at this mental mindjob of a spiritual complication:

This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.

Did you catch it? Here, let me put it a little more simply in the Taylor Holmes Translation Edition:

“First things first. God is perfect. Heck, he’s basically light He’s so perfect. And by the way, there is absolutely no imperfections to Him. No darkness. Now, with that said, since we Christians like to say that we walk with Him, and yet we walk in darkness, we are liars. But if we walk in this glorious and amazing light, we will walk with other fellow Christians because Christ and His death on the cross has saved us from our sins. And if we say we have no sin, we are also liars. But if we confess our sins, He will forgive us and wash us in a tidal wave of grace… but if we kid ourselves by saying that we don’t sin, we make a mockery of what He did for us at calvary.”

Not sure if that was clear enough. One last try:

God is perfect and can’t abide sin. So don’t sin. Or else we are liars.

But also, don’t say we don’t sin, or else we are liars.

It’s hard to point out just how mindblowingly confusing this is theologically… well, for me at least. Don’t sin, or else you can’t walk with God. BUT, don’t lie, and say you don’t sin, or else you make a joke of what God did for us. Well, which is it? And I really do think this is the conundrum of being a Christian. I’m a complete and utter failure living a good life, compared to the amazing brilliance of who God is. Literally daily, heck, moment by moment, I screw up and fail in some way or another. Maybe the Christians you’ve come in contact with like strut with their chin up high, and they proclaim their holiness. Trust me, that isn’t godliness. That’s a Christian who is afraid to be vulnerable in their walk with God because they’ve been tricked into believing that in order to be a Christian, they need to be perfect. But that is the opposite of what God is calling us to. I mean, take a look at Paul, and what he thought of himself over the course of his life as a Christian:

First he said in, 1 Corinthians 15:9 “For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.”

And a little later in his life he said in, Ephesians 3:8 “Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ”

Then in 1 Timothy 1:15 he stated, “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst.”

Did you catch that? He went from the least of the apostles, to the least of all Christians, to least of all sinners. What was happening here? This was Paul, over the course of his relationship with God becoming more and more aware of the magnitude and impact that sin has in his life. His sin meter, his gauge for sin has gone through the roof. The closer to God he walks, the more overcome he is by his own sin and the difficulty really, and honestly, living a Godly life.

And yet, this verse says, you must live a Godly life in order to truly walk with God. You have to live a perfect life! Here, I’ll quote the verse again, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” Paul, one of the founders of our faith, his life became worse and worse the longer he lived. Did he have fellowship with God? YES! He definitely did. BUT HE SAID HE WAS CHIEF OF ALL SINNERS MAN! Well, yes, he did say that. And yet, what he was getting at was, as he became more and more aware of God’s perfection, he became even more aware of the enormity to his own sin. It wasn’t that Paul wasn’t trying to live a godly life, he was. But in his attempt to live a godly life, he was just overwhelmed by the surpassing goodness of God. So much so, that comparatively, he was the chief of all sinners.

So there is this crazy balancing act involved in walking as a Christian. I must be perfect to live life walking with Christ. And yet, I am the chief of the chief of all sinners. So how is that possible? Thankfully, it is possible through the crazy puzzle that is God’s forgiveness on the cross at cavalry. Because of what He did for me, in spite of my utter failures at this thing called life, He has made a way for me to walk with Him. As Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” I am living this life out in faith, trusting that the work He has already done is enough to cover my daily increasing list of failures. That the miracle of the cross is enough for me. And that through this miracle, I can daily walk with Him, and that through this walk, I will continue to become ever more aware of my sinfulness, and I will change those things, through His strength and power, in order that I might continue to live more and more like Him each day.

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2 Responses

  1. Spencer Morrison

    Well said, Taylor!

    You really painted an accurate picture of the struggles Christians experience in sanctification.

    To help myself understand why I struggle with sin as a Christian I came up with these descriptions of my life:

    Depraved — I WAS UNDER THE POWER OF SIN / Sin was my master. Even my righteous acts were like filthy rags before God because my motives for doing good acts were not pure. I was a prisoner of sin who could not fight back.

    Justification — I WAS SET FREE FROM THE PENALTY OF SIN by asking Jesus to rescue me from the punishment I deserve for disobeying God. Thus, Jesus made my account/record/file with God clean and pure forever. Sin is no longer my master. God is forever my wonderful father, master, & king.

    Sanctification — Because sin is no longer my master I AM FREE FROM THE POWER OF SIN, but the parasite of sin is still connected to my flesh and is now waging war against me. It’s like I’ve been released from jail, but the warden will not leave me alone and keeps trying to put me back in jail. I am able to obey God now because of the strength He gives me; so I wage war back against the parasite of sin. Each time I let sin act like my master again I am not reflecting the reality of God being my master. This is an ongoing war until my body dies. Sometimes I’m winning. Sometimes sin is winning. I think of sanctification as the process of my obedience muscles growing stronger by having to continuously stab disobedience in the heart over and over each time it raises its vampire head. This whole time my account/record/file with God is clean, pure, and perfect because of how powerful Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is at making things clean forever. (Hebrews 10:14 “For by one sacrifice he [Jesus] has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.”)

    Glorification — I WILL BE FREE FROM THE PRESENCE OF SIN. I will be given a new, eternal body. The fleshly body I’m in now will be gone; thus, the parasite of sin will no longer be able to reside in something connected to me.



    SPOILER WARNING : I’m a preterist who likes pointing out verses.

    I was hoping the speed bump known as 1 John 2:18 was going to pop your car up high enough for you to stop, get out of your car, and investigate why John put that thing in the middle of the road.

    1 John 2:18 “Dear children, this is THE LAST HOUR; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know IT IS THE LAST HOUR.” Before Jesus was crucified he warned his disciples multiple times to keep watch, because they do not know the day or hour when the Lord will come, yet because antichrists had come John told his readers, “IT IS THE LAST HOUR” —Wow!— No more not knowing. John knew. No more days left. No more hours left. John made it clear to his readers they were in THE LAST HOUR.

    The mindjob you’re going to discover that will blow away all the best mindjobs in the movies will be what you discover about the second coming of Jesus as you keep probing/researching/analyzing the scriptures for all the mindjobs God is involved in. This website is proof you love to find mindjobs and are skilled at finding mindjobs >> so get ready for finding the biggest mindjob ever in history! It’s even bigger than when Jews started to figure out their understanding of the Messiah was incorrect and that Jesus is really the one who fits the description of the Messiah all the way.

    Ok the more I thought about it, I realize I’m wrong. God setting up all of history in order to show His love for us even after mankind rejected Him in Eden is really the biggest mindjob in history, but what you will discover about the second coming will not be far behind it.

    • Taylor Holmes

      Hey Spencer,
      Just noticed this comment. My apologies for the delay. I have to say I have investigated preterism extraordinarily thoroughly and find it lacking – and all hinging on a very very literal reading of the text. This generation will not pass – the last hour – etc etc. But for me it makes zero sense that we have already exited history and have vaulted past the tribulation – that we missed the AntiChrist all together. I know of no moment when the world watched as a man, who died, then came back to life, then proclaimed blasphemy against God as a result. I mean, I know of a lot of important leaders that have blasphemed. But not one that died first, and then was resurrected. (Revelation 13:13-16)

      But my biggest question to you is why? Why would you jump the tracks so readily? Where is Christ’s kingdom? (Zech 14:17). Can you point me to a visual diagram of the timeline of preterism? When does Christ come? Because many of the prophecies of the Old and New testament haven’t occurred. Like the death of millions of Israelites in a battle that surrounds them, and they only make way of escape through Christ’s return. Do you think the tribulation happened, but not Christ’s return? I genuinely don’t even get what you are positing, or why it even matters. Just thinking out loud at this point.


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