Wednesday, October 3, 2007

What is my practice?

1 John 3:4-10 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. [5] You know that he appeared 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. [7] Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. [8] 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. [9] 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. [10] By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

There is a key word to understand in this portion of John’s letter. The word is “practice”. It has to do with practicing sin or practicing righteousness. What does it mean to “practice” something?

Practice means:
[v] learn by repetition
[v] engage in a rehearsal (of)
avail oneself to; "apply a principle"; "practice a religion"; "use care when going down the stairs"; "use your common sense"; "practice non-violent resistance"
carry out or practice; as of jobs and professions; "practice law" 1. Frequently repeated or customary action; habitual performance; a succession of acts of a similar kind usage; habit; custom; as, the practice of rising early; the practice of making regular entries of accounts; the practice of daily exercise.

When we say someone is “practicing medicine”, we mean that he or she is in the vocation of assessing the physical well-being of a patient and then prescribing something to assist with that condition or remedy a particular ailment. We call a doctor’s office a “medical practice”.
When we say someone is “practicing law”, we mean that he or she is in the vocation of prosecuting a violator of the law by using the law -or- he or she who is practicing law is in the vocation of defending someone who has been accused of violating the law. This defense is done with a knowledge of the law. We might call a firm of lawyers- a practice.

Practice is a term that describes what someone applies his or herself to. It is a customary action, a habitual performance, a succession of acts in similar kind. It is not one act alone, it is descriptive of regular acts that eventually show an identifiable pattern. When this is the case, we would call it a practice. Something done over and over again.

1 John is a spiritual health assessment of sorts and the Apostle makes very clear in the above text- we are the children of God by adoption through Christ. This supernatural adoption will bear itself out in our lives. He uses this word “practice” to describe what we will look like if we are His children. We will not practice sin, but rather will practice righteousness.

This text (and the bible, for that matter) are clear: We are not redeemed by our practice, however our practice clearly displays if we are redeemed.

1 comment:

Frontier Forest said...

“We are not redeemed by our practice, however our practice clearly displays if we are redeemed.”
Tony, this thought is true profoundness! The concepts of being "spiritually practiced” seems to me, to be the same “line of living” that takes me right to I Peter 5:6-7. “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that HE may exalt you in due time, casting ALL your CARE upon HIM, for HE cares for you!”
As diligent “fishers of men,” we never stop casting, never despair, and always strive to remain humble. Therefore, in living this way, we submit our lives to HIS PRACTICE.