Who is the Weak Believer?

Who Is The Weak Believer?

© 10/6/2016 C. O. Bishop THCF 10/9/2016

Romans 14:1-23


Weak believers—“Who is who?”

As we read Romans chapter 14 there are three main questions to ask:

  1. What constitutes a “weak” believer, versus a “strong” believer?
  2. How is each to treat the other?
  3. What are we going to do about it?

1Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.

Him that is ‘weak in the faith’, receive ye.” The writer assumes that the reader is not the one who is weak, but specifies that the reader is to be receptive toward those who are. We all want to think that “We are the strong believers!” That is because we are vain, self-centered people. We all want to think that we are right. But how can we tell “who is who?” Everyone has a right to their own opinion, right? But, maybe we need to find out what God says about the matter.

What Constitutes a “Weak” Believer?

Paul then goes on to say that the one who is unnecessarily limited in his choices because of his poor understanding of scripture is the weak one, while the one who is liberated by his faith is the strong one, but that neither has the right to disrespect or condemn the other. This presupposes that the things in question are not elsewhere forbidden. For example, Idolatry, Murder, Theft, Lying, and Adultery are always condemned. Such things are not a part of this discussion. This is about things not condemned by God, but which are frequently condemned by humans. The first thing he addresses is vegetarianism.

For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. (Vegetables.)

The strong one believes he is free to eat any food…the restricted one, who thinks somehow he is forbidden to eat meat, is weak in his faith (probably untaught, thereby ill-equipped), and would be guilty (at least in his own mind) if he violated his understanding of God’s Word by eating meat (mistaken though he is.)

How is Each to Treat the Other?

For God hath Received Him

Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.

The one who is free in his faith is not to look down his nose at the one who is limited…on the other hand, the one who is limited must realize that he himself is not the judge, and that he must not condemn the one who is enjoying his freedom in Christ. One’s position in Christ is what makes one acceptable to God…not what one eats or doesn’t eat.

But, how is one “received by God?” Ephesians 1:6 states that we have been “…made accepted in the Beloved.” The key, there, is that I am accepted in Him! I was placed in Him by the Holy Spirit at the moment I trusted Jesus as my Savior (1st Corinthians 12:13); the moment I believed that His blood at the Cross was the sacrifice for my sins. I have no other standing before God. I am either accepted in the Beloved, or not at all. And, if I am accepted in the Beloved, and in fellowship with Him, then nothing else really matters, does it? And yet, we tend to reject one another over some pretty petty stuff. Perhaps we need to ask some questions of ourselves:

Who is the Master, here, anyway?

Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

So, while he is on the subject of judgment, Paul points out that each believer is personally accountable to God. We are not to judge God’s servants…God can handle them. If it is not something expressly forbidden by scripture, then we have no authority to criticize, let alone condemn or attempt to control other believers.

One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.

Paul raises another example—he refers to the keeping of holy days: probably specifically the Sabbath was in mind, but, obviously, it could include all the Jewish feast days. And, again, he states that the one who observes a holy day before the Lord has not done wrong…and the one who sees all days as holy to God, and treats them all pretty much the same, is well within his rights as well. In both examples, both believers are fully able to enjoy their fellowship with God, and give thanks…and other believers are not to interfere with them.

For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.
For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.
For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.
10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

Verses 7-12 reiterate that we believers are not “free moral agents,” so to speak…we are each accountable to God. Our life and death are all under his authority, and in everything we give account to Him….So Paul asks the question, again,  “Why do you feel free to judge a brother?” (With the context making it clear that this is concerning things NOT forbidden by God….) We will all give account to God at the Judgment Seat of Christ…not for sins, but for works.

Paul concludes that rather than judge each other for things in which we have freedom, we should take care that we do not use our freedom carelessly, in such a way as to cause another believer to sin. Yes, the truth is, they have the same freedom we have, but if they are not convinced of that and simply “go along” with our freedom when they still think it is wrong, then we have caused them to sin. They have violated their own conscience, but at our insistence.

What about Conscience? Is it Infallible?

My father, in his junior year in college, had his chemistry book stolen from him. He had left it on the porch, outside the cafeteria, and someone took it during lunch. He hadn’t any extra money, so, for the rest of the term, he was forced to borrow other students’ textbooks, in order to complete his homework. They kept urging him to “just steal someone else’s book”; but he knew it was wrong, and refused to do it.

The problem came to a head, though, near the end of the semester: he still could not afford a new book, and as final exams drew near, his friends could no longer lend him a book, because they needed the book themselves. So, unable to replace the book, and desperately needing one, he finally succumbed to the peer pressure: when he saw a chemistry book just like his, sitting outside the cafeteria, he grabbed it, shoved it under his sweater, and hurried home, feeling exceedingly guilty; like a criminal, in fact, because he had violated his conscience. He had stolen a book!

And, he was guilty—that is why he “felt guilty”—he had violated his conscience! But when he got back to his room, he discovered that he had stolen back his own book; the original thief had finally gotten careless and left the book on the cafeteria porch, just as Dad had done. Was Dad any less guilty? Nope. He truly had violated his conscience. He was very angry, then, and wanted to go back and find out who the thief had been. But it was too late. He rationalized his own theft, and was relieved that it turned out to be his own book…but he was still wrong.

Now: Were his fellow-students right, in urging him to steal? Of course they were not! They were clearly encouraging wrong behavior; urging him to sin. Was he wrong to retrieve his own book? Nope! That was not the issue! He thought he was stealing someone else’s book: that is why he was guilty.

So, let’s take that principle a step further: Paul says that if a person thinks it is wrong to eat meat, then, until God enlightens them further, it is wrong for them. But you have no right to criticize them for that position, though you know they are mistaken.

A Word to the Weak:

Let me “put the shoe on the other foot,” for a moment: let’s say you are the one who thinks it is wrong to eat meat…or something else that God does not condemn. Is it OK for you to use this passage to bully your meat-eating brother and say that he has to not eat meat, because it offends you? I don’t think so! You are clearly commanded in verses 3, 4 and 10 to leave each other alone in such matters. Allow God to work in the other fellow’s heart, as well as in your own. On the contrary, we each need to consciously look for ways to not cause another believer grief in their relationship with God. So, how do we deal with such differences? That is our final question:

What Are We Going to Do About It?

No More Judging: and No More Pressure.

Paul recognized that such behavior is common. He told them to knock it off!

13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.

This issue of “stumbling” means to “cause someone else to sin”: it does not mean that I can bash someone else because I don’t care for their taste in shoes, or the way they part their hair. So, while we are to look for ways to not cause others to “fall”, we are also not to go around trying to control other believers by saying “Your hair-do offends me!” (Or something equally foolish)… there is no way that someone else’s hair-do is “causing you to sin!”

I had a fellow take me aside when I was in Bible school and tell me that my shoes offended him. They were odd-looking, oversized shoes, (though brand new) and happened to be literally all I had to wear. I had found them on a clearance table in a mall for $7, and I was grateful to have them. Were my shoes causing him to sin? No! He was just condemning me for wearing them.

14 I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.
15 But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.
16 Let not then your good be evil spoken of:
17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
18 For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.
19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.

If we convince someone else to do something because we know it is right, when the reason they are resisting is because they think it is wrong, then we cause them to sin. Don’t make a big deal out of peripheral things that have nothing to do with Christ; Paul says that the kingdom of God is not about food and drink, but about Righteousness and Peace, and Joy in the Holy Spirit. These are the key issues we should be looking for in our own lives.

Each of these has two aspects: the one God provides (imputed to us by Grace), and the one with which we respond (and demonstrate and experience), via the Holy Spirit working in our lives.

  • Righteousness:
    • Imputed: (Romans 4:3) “…Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned unto him as Righteousness.” That is how we receive Righteousness, too! When you place your faith in the shed blood of Jesus, His righteousness is applied to your account, and you eternally stand before God in the Righteousness of Christ.
    • Demonstrated: (Hebrews 11:8-10) Abraham believed God, and it caused him to live a life of obedience to God. He had his failures, but God holds him up as an example of faith-driven righteousness.
  • Peace:
    • Imputed: (Romans 5:1) “Being therefore Justified (declared Righteous) by faith, we have Peace with God.” We are to first find peace with God, through faith in Jesus’ blood, and then, daily seek the Peace of God.
    • Demonstrated: (Philippians 4:6, 7) “ 6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”  We choose the Peace of God by faith. We obey by faith, and leave our griefs with Him. (See also, 1st Peter 5:7)
  • Joy in the Holy Ghost:
    • Imputed: (Galatians 5:22, 23) “…the Fruit (singular) of the Spirit is Love, Joy, Peace…” The Holy Spirit is the source of all Joy in a believer’s life. Joy has been conferred upon us by God, in the person of the Holy Spirit. He indwells us and will never leave. (John 14:16)
    • Demonstrated: (same passage) The Holy Spirit is the source of the Joy of God, in all cases. We demonstrate, experience, and display Joy in our lives only when we are in fellowship with God and walking in obedience with Him. (1st John 1:7) In fact, a lack of joy and peace is an important clue that we are not walking with Him.
      • Please do not confuse Joy with Happiness. They are not the same. The circumstances may be severe enough to preclude happiness (the cross for instance) but Joy is still possible (“…Jesus…who, for the Joy that was set before Him, endured the Cross…” Hebrews 12:2)

If we possess (and experience, and display) those three things, we are in fellowship with God, and will be (usually) accepted by those around us, as they see the reality of Christ in us. So, that is where we need to put our priorities…not on the outward things that are of no eternal value, but on the inward things that make for peace, and by which we can build up one another in the faith.

20 For meat (food) destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.
21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.
22 Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.

v.20-22. Paul reiterates that we do have freedom, but that we are not to use our freedom in such a way as to cause our brothers or sisters to sin. We can exercise our freedom privately, and not cause someone else to stumble.

When a vegetarian friend or relative comes to our home for a visit, we simply have vegetarian meals, so that they are not forced to “choose”. Sometimes people have medically-mandated dietary restrictions that are so limiting that they simply cannot eat what everyone else does. (We have a niece who has to completely avoid gluten, for example.) But they have no thought or feeling that this is a moral issue; it is simply a practical necessity. In that case we try to prepare a separate, attractive, and tasty meal for that individual as well, so they can eat with everyone else, and be included, but not be affected badly by eating something they can’t handle. We seek to be a blessing, not a stumbling block to those around us.

23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

v. 23 is the key verse to the whole subject—he says that one who partakes in an activity that is not forbidden by God when he thinks that it is forbidden, is condemned by his own conscience, because he did not act according to faith. (John 5:24 says we are not condemned by God…and never will be.)

The Conclusion:

“Whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” (This is one of the four definitions of sin, given in the epistles: the others are 1st John 3:4 “Sin is the transgression of the Law”; 1st John 5:17 “all unrighteousness is sin…” and James 4:17 “…to him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is Sin”) Romans 14:23 wraps it all up: “Whatsoever is not of faith is sin!”

Don’t attempt to “bully” others into your own way of thinking, when there is no clear mandate, and especially, if it is a peripheral issue; not a cardinal doctrine. Learn to appreciate your fellow believers for their position in Christ, and not condemn them because they aren’t “just like you!”

Receive the three cardinal values of the kingdom of God (Righteousness, Peace, and Joy in the Holy Spirit), and practice reflecting those three in your life. That will go far toward building good relations with those around you.

Learn to Love the brethren; Learn to walk with God.

Lord Jesus, we are accepted before God because of your sacrifice at the Cross. Cleanse our hearts and help us to love one another as you have loved us, and accept one another as you have accepted us. Fill us with your Righteousness, your Peace, and your Joy, as we learn to walk daily with you.

No Condemnation (Part One)

No Condemnation (Part One)

© C. O. Bishop 12/25/15 THCF 12/27/15

Romans 8:1-4


We have taken a bit of a guided tour through Romans over the last several months: We saw in the first five chapters the utter bankruptcy and lostness of the human race, contrasted against the Grace of God freely offered through the person of Christ. We saw that we are to enter into that Grace through faith in the shed blood of Jesus as being the full payment for our sins.

We saw that upon our placing our faith in His shed blood, his complete righteousness was posted to our account as a believer, so that we are no longer seen as bankrupt, but as fully solvent in Christ, and completely righteous in Him.

We saw that because of that transaction at the Cross, we are no longer seen as enemies, but rather that we are at Peace with God, and, more importantly, He is at peace with us.

In chapters six and seven we saw that we no longer have to sin…we have a genuine choice available to us because we have a genuine new nature. The old nature is still present, but no longer holds any authority. It has not only lost its authority, but it has lost its identity, as God no longer sees our old sin nature (frequently called the “flesh” in scripture, but not to be confused with tone’s physical body) as the “real” person. He will only address Himself to the new nature, sometimes called the New Man, and sometimes the “mind” or the “spirit”, (not to be confused with the Holy Spirit.) We finally saw the results (chapter 7) when a genuine believer earnestly attempts to live the Christian life in His own strength.

The trilogy of Romans 6, 7 and 8, then, is completed with 12 “layers” of truths in chapter eight:

  1. There is no condemnation to those in Christ.
  2. Those in Christ are free from the Law of Sin and Death.
  3. Those in Christ are responsible to walk in Him.
  4. Only those in Him can walk in Him.
  5. Only the Holy Spirit can do the walking.
  6. Only saved people have the Holy Spirit…and, conversely, if you do not have the Spirit, you aren’t
  7. The Flesh cannot be subject to God, so it cannot please God.
  8. The Flesh is always an agent of death, whether physical or spiritual…always remembering that “death”, in scripture, is always some sort of separation, whether spiritual or physical, and whether temporary or eternal.
  9. Those who are indwelt by the Spirit of God are already the Sons of God, and, because of that we are joint-heirs (not co-heirs) with Christ.
  10. At the “adoption” (Greek “huiothesis”) we will be recognized (publicly) as the heirs of God, and, at that point, too, the Earth will be freed from its bondage…when we receive our new bodies.
  11. We cannot be separated from God, because we cannot be separated from the love of God which is in Christ.
  12. We cannot separate ourselves from His love, because He specifies that “no created thing” can separate us from Him…and we are, by definition, a “created thing”.

I don’t think it would be profitable to try to cover all of these twelve layers of teaching in one service; partly because we would have to rush, and partly because it does not give the hearer the necessary time to think things over. There is a great deal here upon.which to meditate

So, let’s see how far we can get:

No Condemnation:

This is one of the most important foundational truths for the believer in terms of confidence, peace, and functionality. If you do not grasp the central truth of your security in Christ then you cannot serve effectively because you will be constantly looking back to see if your salvation is still safe.

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

This comment alone has generated more arguments among evangelical Christians than most of the rest of the Bible. Some see it as a dangerous teaching that will be misused to produce licentiousness. And that is true. Any valuable tool or privilege can be misused. A hammer (or a pair of scissors, etc.) can be used as a weapon; that does not mean that people should not have hammers or scissors. It means that we have to use responsibly the gifts and tools that God has given us. That same principle applies across all levels of truth. The fact that truth can be misused does not negate its truth…it simply means that responsibility goes along with truth.

Let’s examine both the truth and the responsibility that accompanies it.

How sure am I (and why am I so sure) that I am secure in Christ? It is clearly stated in many passages that offer no qualifiers. It is the key theme of this particular chapter, and is stated by Jesus personally, in passages where no conditions were added to modify the promise.

John 10:27, 28 is a fairly important passage. He says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me, and I give unto them eternal life and they shall never perish.” Notice that he did not say, “IF they follow me, I will give them eternal life”…he said “…they follow me, and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” I have many times heard someone protest, “well, yes, but you can jump out!” No…because, in the first place, if you could “jump out”, then the central promise to this passage (“They shall never perish!”) would be untrue.

Also (again Jesus is speaking), in John 6:37-39, Jesus promised “all that the Father hath given me shall come to me, and him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out. For I came not down from heaven to do my own will but the will of Him that sent me, And this is my Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which He hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.” Let’s think that one through:

  • All that the Father has given to Jesus will come to him. He won’t fail to find them.
  • No one who comes to Jesus will ever be cast out…ever.
  • God’s specific will regarding all those given to Jesus is that Jesus will never lose one of them, but that
  • They will be raised up at the last day.

That is pretty specific. There are no honest ways to refute the promise. Sometimes people try to bring up counter-examples:

  • Judas Iscariot (He was never saved to begin with—Jesus himself said so. John 13:10, 11)
  • Ananias and Sapphira (they lost their physical lives—there is no evidence that their eternal destiny was involved.)
  • Samson seems a “poster-child” for an unfaithful believer, if you only read his history. But when we read God’s commentary on him, we find him in Hebrews 11:32, listed by name under God’s “hall of fame” for faith. Many other such examples exist, but the point is that we need to believe God’s promise, not keep trying to find loopholes.

One thing we don’t want to overlook is the second half of verse one: “…who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit”. There are those who argue that this half of the verse is a copyist error, and that it is only supposed to be in verse four, not verse one. But let’s set that argument aside: What would it say if we knew for sure that it should be in both places?

Looking back at Chapter seven we see that Paul concluded that a “disconnect” had occurred between his old sin nature and his new righteous nature: that the old man, the flesh, was no longer him.  Does that shed any light on the subject? Who is it that verse one promises will not be condemned? The old man or the new? The old man is already condemned, and irrevocably so: even God couldn’t save it or change it. The new man is created in the likeness of God to the extent that it is completely righteous and holy, just like Him (Ephesians 4:22, 24).

Do you suppose he may be simply reiterating the separation between old and new, here? God does judge sins…and he judges sinners, if they cling to their sins. The moment you trusted Jesus as your savior, your sins were judged at the Cross, and you gained a new nature, so that the Lord will never again see you as a sinner. Will you see yourself as a sinner? Actually, I rather hope that you do—Paul saw himself that way.

Paul said (1st Timothy 1:15), “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; among whom I am chief.”  (Greek protos eimi ego: Not “was”, but “am!” Jesus used nearly the same construction when he said [John 14:6] “I am the way, the Truth, and the Life…”, and Paul used exactly the same construction when he said [Romans 11:13] “I am the apostle to the Gentiles.”) It is interesting, too, to realize that of all the apostles, and all the potential people who might say such a thing about themselves, Paul is the only one through whom the Holy Spirit elected to say such a thing…and he said it three times, in so many words. (“To me, who am less than the least of all saints…”; “not worthy to be called an apostle…”—these words are not just Paul’s “emotional outlook”.

Peter might have possibly said such a thing in his own private grief at having denied the Lord, but in his epistles there is not a trace of that. Paul, who arguably is the one who laid the foundation of the entire Gentile church, is the one through whom the Holy Spirit made all three of those statements… about Paul, no one else. So, while I think it is fine for me to soberly look at myself and say, “I am a sinner, saved by grace!”, it is not OK for me to declare myself the “worst of sinners” or anything similar, because Paul already holds that title. That is what it says. I do not claim to understand it, but there is no question that it is what it says.

So, those who “walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit” includes all believers. God has permanently separated you from your sins.

Set Free from the Law of Sin and Death

The next thing Paul states is that he has been made free from the Law of Sin and Death.

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

Notice the tense in this verse: does he say that the Spirit will make him free? No, he says that the law of the Spirit has made him free from the Law of sin and Death… past tense! So, what does that mean? What is the Law of Sin and Death, anyway? Is it the same as the Law of Moses?

I think that the Law of Moses could certainly be included, because, as you recall, the Law of Moses certainly called for death to the disobedient. But the “Law of sin and death” goes back even further: In Genesis 2:17, God warned Adam, “but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; thou shall not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” There is the first iteration of the Law of sin and death. “If you break the Law you will die”. That is the central theme of Law. Notice that there were no “safeguards” set up—no invisible fences or anything similar. They broke the Law, and died spiritually the moment Adam ate that fruit. 3,500 years later, God re-stated the principle: Ezekiel 18:4 says “the soul that sinneth, it shall die.”

So, in what way have I (past tense) been set free from this ancient principle? I can see that the Law of sin and death recognized me as someone who should be put to death. But, according to Galatians 2:19, “I, through the Law, am dead to the Law, that I might live unto God.” Jesus fulfilled the Law for Himself by living it perfectly. He fulfilled the Law for me by dying in my place. Now I am free, not because the Law has changed, but because it is satisfied regarding my sin. I am dead!

For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

That is what Jesus accomplished through His perfect life and substitutionary death. He deposited His righteousness to our accounts by His perfect life, and took our sin in his vicarious, substitutionary death. The Law made no provision for such a thing. The Law of the substitute was there, to be sure, but in very limited form. The Kinsman redeemer was there, but only to a certain extent. Jesus fulfilled all the promises of God for a redeemer and a savior, and a perfect sacrifice that takes away sin, rather than temporarily covering it.

What Should be the Result in Our Lives?

That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

We are alive to God, and He wants us to respond to His Grace by allowing Him to live through us, and demonstrate His righteousness in us. For what cause? To keep us from going to hell? No, to glorify God in our bodies, and to keep others out of hell. Jesus said that we were to let our light shine in such a way that others will see our good works and not glorify us, but glorify our Father in Heaven! Our good works are part of the Christian life, but they are not part of how we are saved, nor part of how we are kept safe. They are part of our testimony and part of our worship: part of how we honor God with our lives. All the saving and keeping is done by Jesus.

But, What if We Fail?

Are there consequences for disobedience? Of course there are…but they still do not negate the promises we just read. My salvation and my security in Christ are entirely His responsibility, not mine. I could do nothing to save myself, and I can do nothing to stay saved. But I want my life to count for eternity: I want to honor God with my life. I do not always succeed in that. Many times I fail: If you don’t believe me, just ask my family.

But we are told to confess that we have failed, and get up and walk again. We are just as secure when we are wallowing in sin and self-pity or self-righteousness, as when we are soberly, joyfully, honestly walking with God…but we will not be aware of it, nor happy about it. 1st John 1:9 is not just a statement of fact, or even a command, it is a precious promise. We can be restored to fellowship and joyful service!

Make it a priority in your life to go back over chapters 6, 7 and 8 until the lesson sinks in and you can apply it to yourself. That is what I am having to do as I teach through these passages.

Lord Jesus,  make us able ministers of your Word, and teach us to place our faith in your divine safekeeping, so that we are not constantly working to make ourselves better, but to make your name shine before those who don’t know you. Shape us into the Men and Women of God that you have chosen us to be.