We're Talking About Practice
Associate Pastor Jonathan Pugh talks about what it means to practice our faith in day-to-day living. What team are you on?
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We're Talking About Practice
What you practice is who you are.
Before we get into the definition of practice, let's watch this famous rant by Philadelphia 76ers Allen Iverson from back in the day.
- Define practice poieon – to be doing something in a way that is continually active
- Define sin/lawlessness (v.4 proves that sin is lawlessness) harmartia/anomia– “Every thought, word, or deed that is not in perfect conformity with the law and will of God is a sin” – Charles Spurgeon
- Define righteousness dikaisune – keeping the commands of God
1 John 3:3-9 contrasts the reality of what Christianity is and isn’t.
- Christianity is practicing righteousness.
- Christianity is not practicing sin.
Christianity is practicing Righteousness
"And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure." - 1 John 3:3
Hope is ”a confident expectation for the future, a trust in God’s provision, and the patience of waiting for him.” -John Stott
Our purification is regarded as a fact. This is why everyone who has the hope (not a wish, but a confident expectation) is purifying himself as he is pure. We are on a journey of holiness because God is making us like Christ, who is holy.
"Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous." - 1 John 3:7
The core belief that Augustine reiterated to the church in his day is that every single person is born so dead in their sins that they can never save themselves. Only a supernatural act of God to awaken the soul can allow a man to be righteous. God’s supernatural gift of righteousness means that the distinguishing mark of the person who receives it is to pursue righteousness as a practice.
“Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.” - 1 John 3:4
The Greek word for sin is harmartian and the Greek word for lawlessness is anomian.
The idea behind lawlessness is not simply that we mess up and break a law that we know we shouldn’t break, but that we live in total rejection of God’s authority over us. This is what sin actually is.
"You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.6 No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him." - 1 John 3:5-6
Not only is the removal of sin a byproduct of being in relationship to Jesus, it actually is the purpose of that relationship.
“Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” - 1 John 3:8
“For the devil made no man, begat no man, created no man: but whoso imitates the devil, that person, as if begotten by him, becomes a child of the devil; by imitating him, not literally by being begotten by him.” - Augustine
No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God.” - 1 John 3:9
“The new birth involves a radical change in human nature; for those who have not experienced it, sin is natural, whereas for those who have experienced it, sin is unnatural- so unnatural, indeed that its practice constitutes a powerful refutation of any claim to possess the divine life.” – F.F. Bruce
Every effort in life is either a practice of righteousness or lawlessness. Look in the mirror and ask yourself which one describes you. Which team’s practice are you showing up for day in and day out?