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 ESV)
1 John is a hard hitting book. John challenges us over and over again to put sin away. That's what he's doing in chapter 3. For example, in verse 6, he says "No one who abides in him keeps on sinning." Or, verse 8, "Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil." Those are hard words to swallow!
Now, to be clear, John isn't demanding perfection. In 1 John 1:8 he says, "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." In 1:9 He points us to the gospel for our hope (not perfection), "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
Even so, John still calls us to rid our lives of sin. The fact that God forgives us when we confess our sins is not an excuse for continuing in sin. John says one reason to put sin away is because Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil. This is why Jesus appeared - in the flesh as a baby.
John's basic argument is this: Why should those who follow Jesus continue to take part in the very things he came to destroy?
On D-Day, America and it's allies, courageously stormed the beaches of Normandy to drive the Nazis out of France and gain a foothold in Continental Europe. Thousands of men sacrificed their lives that day. Can you imagine those who made it to the shore then helping the Germans repair their defensive positions, reload their artillery and machine guns, and get them back into position? That would have been treasonous. That would have never crossed the mind of an Allied soldier.
In the same way, John is essentially asking us: Why are you giving life and vitality to the very thing Jesus came to destroy? Jesus humbled himself and laid aside his glorious position in heaven to come to earth and give his life to destroy the works of the devil, which is sin. How can you work against his purposes and follow him at the same time?
Therefore, when we meditate on the Christ child lying in a manger we need to remember that one of the reasons he came was to destroy sin. Let Christmas be a reminder to join the victory of Jesus and put sin to death in your life!
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