_No one who abides in him sins; no one who sins has either seen him or known him.” (1 John 3:6)
Not too long ago, I saw a short video clip on WhatsApp. It was an address delivered to a couple of religious leaders by a professor. He spoke of how the colonialists came to Africa years ago with the Bible in one hand and a gun in the other hand; how they professed faith in the Bible (which condemns the dehumanization of our fellow humans), yet supported slavery and other forms of oppression, division, and subjugation of the Africans.
To this day, many still try to understand how many of us Christians would claim to be followers of Christ while our day-to-day lives are completely against the values that Christ stood for. It is shocking how we would identify ourselves as Christians before others yet the kind of things we do are scary even to devil worshippers. Most of those who have left the faith did not have a problem with Jesus but with those who claimed to believe in Jesus.
St. John tells us today that to know God is to flee from sin. Anyone who commits sin does not know God. mind you, sin is not something that happens unconsciously. To sin is to be fully aware of the gravity of an act (or inaction) and still go ahead with it. If truly we know God, we would do everything within our power to avoid sin. And we would continue to battle with temptations until we succeed.
Is it easy to completely avoid sin? No. But is it possible to overcome your habitual sins? Yes. Let us face it, if we all look inwards and examine our consciences, we can identify our weaknesses – those particular evils we struggle with. Giving up on ourselves just because our society has “normalized” these evils is equivalent to knowing you are sick and refusing to go to the hospital, refusing to seek help, or refusing to take your drugs.
The simple truth is that habitual sins do not disappear on their own. The more efforts we put in, the more we get closer to success. To relax in sin, to give up on the fight against evil while at the same time claiming to be a Christian shows that you do not know God.
In today’s Gospel passage, John the Baptist introduces Jesus Christ as the “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!” What does this mean? John the evangelist tells us: “But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.”
If you truly desire to rid yourself of your sins, you need to improve your relationship with Jesus, that is, spend more time with Jesus – deepen your prayer life. Occupy your mind with the things of God; read books, and seek to know God better. Pray for an increase in faith that God may open your eyes to see why sin is evil, and that God may strengthen your desire to live above sin.
Let us pray: Heavenly Father, help me live above sin. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Bible Study: 1 John 2:29-3:6, Ps. 98:1,3-6, John 1:29-34).*
@Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu