Soteriology’s Most Ignored Verses–1 John 2:29

1 John is an irritating book. It’s all about testing whether you are saved or not. John uses very basic language and a repetitive style to get his point across. This is a real bummer because to ignore his case you cannot pretend his meaning is hidden in complex Greek language structures.

No, John says very black and white things showing the sincere believer whether he is saved or not. Here’s a doozy:

“If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.”

One way to know you are saved, or that you are born again, is whether you do righteousness. Notice he didn’t say whether you feel righteous, or whether you claim to be righteous, but whether you do righteousness.

Perhaps he means it more floaty though, can’t we get around this somehow, isn’t saying we’ve been declared righteous enough? He eliminates all doubt about what he means by “do righteousness” when he says in the next chapter:

“Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.”

Being declared righteous by faith results in doing righteousness. John knows there will be a debate over his words so he even includes a warning about people deceiving you that doing righteousness isn’t a part of being righteous.

You can take their word for it, or you can take God’s Word for it. Inconvenient? Yes, but isn’t having the truth a beneficial thing?

John says we are only saved if we do righteousness and Acts 16:31 and Ephesians 2:8 tell us we are saved by faith, is there a contradiction?

No, what you have is part of the Bible’s definition of faith. Faith without doing righteousness is no faith at all. You must have faith first, the ability to hear God’s righteous words and doing righteousness is the result of hearing–you do what you’re told.

If you do not do what you’re told, you have not heard, and thus, you have no faith. Tomorrow I dig the hole deeper.

2 thoughts on “Soteriology’s Most Ignored Verses–1 John 2:29”

  1. The verse in 1 John 3:7 (second one you quoted) is one I think of often, whenever I come in contact with the modern teaching that Jesus’ righteousness is just something that stands in our place, rather than being also put within us.

    What do you think of this picture?:

    It seems to show Jesus putting His clean robe over top of the sinner’s dirty robe. This is exactly contrary to the parable in Zech. 3, where it says,
    “Take away the filthy garments from him…Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.” I noticed they didn’t quote that verse, but only some others which were not as specific.

    But it shows how unreasonable we can be in spiritual things. It is unlikely that anyone would come home from work in their dirty work clothes, and then put their nice suit over top of that to go to a special event in the evening.

    Likewise, no mother would treat her children that way, if they came in dirty from playing in the mud…she would immediately take off the dirty clothes and put on clean ones instead.

    Why is it that our common sense stops working when we come into the realm of religion?

  2. The picture seems to miss the point, I agree. Matthew 22:11,12 comes to mind as well–guy at the wedding does not have on wedding garments so is thrown out. Tie that in with Revelation 19 at the marriage supper where the bride has made herself ready with fine linen, which is the righteousness of the saints.

    Common sense generally flees when comon sense tells us to stop sinning and do what God says. It’s a quite simple teaching of Scripture. Christians have the amazing ability to make the complex too simple and make the simple too complex.

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