(Today's post by Chris Queen)
1 John 2:28-3:10
Some of you kids may be too young to remember this, but there was a big hit song in 1982 by British singer Adam Ant called “Goody Two Shoes.” With its refrain of “Don’t drink, don’t smoke, what do you do?” the song sounded, at least in my nine-year-old head, like a taunt to people who didn’t engage in bad behavior. (I recently learned that the song is actually an indictment of the press for being too interested in his boring personal life.)
Growing up, I was a “goody two shoes.” I didn’t fall for so many of the temptations my friends did. I thought I could get by on being good, and I honestly had the warped idea that simply being good played a role in my salvation. It took two really good (and really young) youth pastors – Gary Thompson and Scott Moore – to invest in me, disciple me, and show me otherwise.
In Chapter 3 of 1 John, the apostle John talks about what it means to be God’s children – recipients of his love. As the chapter unfolds, John explains that sin is a violation of God’s law, and that righteousness itself stems from our relationship with God:
5 You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and that there is no sin in him. 6 So no one who remains united with him continues sinning; everyone who does continue sinning has neither seen him nor known him. 7 Children, don't let anyone deceive you – it is the person that keeps on doing what is right who is righteous, just as God is righteous. 8 The person who keeps on sinning is from the Adversary, because from the very beginning the Adversary has kept on sinning. It was for this very reason that the Son of God appeared, to destroy these doings of the Adversary. 9 No one who has God as his Father keeps on sinning, because the seed planted by God remains in him. That is, he cannot continue sinning, because he has God as his Father. 10 Here is how one can distinguish clearly between God's children and those of the Adversary: everyone who does not continue doing what is right is not from God. Likewise, anyone who fails to keep loving his brother is not from God.
Did you notice verse 9? Our righteousness, our purity, do not come from our own efforts; rather, they grow out of “the seed planted by God” which “remains in” us. We can’t save ourselves by simply being good – and that’s a huge mistake many Christians here in America make.
I have two takeaways from today’s reading. The first is this: don’t buy into the lie that goodness and righteousness are of our own making. Know that without God, even our greatest acts of goodness and expressions of purity are worthless. The second is this: rejoice in the fact that you don’t have to be good of your own accord. God has taken care of it for you! Just be His loved child. There’s no need to be Goody Two Shoes…