God’s Word is not ambiguous. Humans add ambiguity when they don’t like what it says, so they try to twist it to mean what they want it to say. Reading the Bible should make you feel a little uncomfortable. It’s called the conviction of sin. When reading God’s Word, we instinctively know what is wrong in our life. If we keep reading, we will see God has the solution for everything wrong inside us — His Son Jesus.
But following Jesus isn’t easy in this world. It’s not because He imposes a lot of rules and requirements on us, but because we want to hold on to what the world offers. We want to fit in, to belong. The Word of God is clear on this. You will either serve God or you will serve the things of this world (Matthew 6:24). It’s black and white, with no gray around the edges.
In his first epistle, John was very clear about who was and wasn’t a true believer of Christ. In the first chapter (1 John 1:6), John says if we claim to be in Christ but continue to walk in the ways of the world (darkness), we are lying. We don’t know Jesus, because anyone who has a genuine encounter with the Lord does not continue to practice the sins of this world. John doubles down in chapter 2 (1 John 2:3-6), saying if we don’t obey the commands of Christ, our profession of faith is a lie. Again, it’s black and white. John doesn’t hedge or offer a middle ground. But he’s not through yet.
Further on in chapter 2 (1 John 2:15-17), the apostle says if we love the world, then God’s love doesn’t exist in us. And if God’s love is not in us, we have no part in His fellowship. We might call ourselves believers, but we are not. In chapter three, John says anyone who continues living in habitual sin is of the devil (1 John 3:4-10). Anyone of the devil is not of God. In the following chapter, John reminds us that anyone who does not love does not have God (1 John 4:7-8). God is love. If He dwells in your heart, you cannot help but express love to your brothers and sisters in Christ, and indeed to everyone you meet.
John closes his letter by once again reminding us that a genuine believer does not continue to live in sin. It’s not that followers of Christ will never sin, but the word here refers to “practicing” sin, meaning it is a habitual part of your life. Anyone touched by the mercy and grace of God will not continue to live this way. You cannot experience Jesus and be unchanged.
The Bible is black and white about who is a genuine believer and who is not. It is clear what is expected of us as followers of Jesus. Love God with all your heart (Matthew 22:37-38), love others (Matthew 22:39), and obey the things Jesus told us to do (John 14:15; 1 John 2:3-5; 1 John 3:24; 1 John 5:2-3). Walk as He walked (1 John 2:4-6). This isn’t hard to understand, but it will require you to surrender your very life to Jesus. You are dead to this world. In every way, you are a dead man walking, crucified with Christ, and no longer alive (Galatians 2:19-20). Few will have what it takes to follow the narrow path to the Father (Matthew 7:13–14; John 14:6). Be one who turns their back on the world, shoulders their cross, and seeks after God with your heart, soul, and mind. The choice is black and white, and so are the consequences. Follow Jesus whatever the cost.