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From the Word: 4 Everyone who sins also does lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. 5 And you know that he appeared to take away sins, and there is no sin in him. 6 Whoever abides in him does not sin. Whoever sins does not see him or know him. (1 John 3:4–6)
From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Introduction
Besides, being occupied with the Word of God —to speak of it and meditate upon it — is an exceedingly effective help against the devil, the world, and the flesh, and all evil thoughts. The First Psalm declares as blessed those who meditate upon the Law of God day and night. You cannot offer a stronger incense or other cleansing agent against the devil than by engaging with God’s commandments and words — speaking and singing them, and thinking about them. This is actually, the true holy water, the holy symbol from which the devil flees, and by which he is driven away.
Pulling It Together: In many cases, Greek is difficult to translate into English in a way that makes sense. Today’s New Testament lection is such a case. Many English translations makes it sound like Christians do not sin. However, that is not what it says in the biblical language. Sometimes, we need to add words to make the English mean what the Greek says.
The original language in today’s reading carries the idea of a continuous activity. This is why the NASB and the ESV add words like “keeps on” or “practices.” So, those who abide in Christ do not practice sinning. They repent and ask God’s forgiveness. This does not mean that they will no longer sin, or even commit the same sin again. It means that they do not continuously do so.
Now, how would you know that, and be comforted by the Spirit of God, unless you were occupied in the Word? If you do not read it, listen to it being read (Rev 1:3), study it, meditate upon it, talk about it, pray it, and sing it, you will not be blessed by it. And the devil will run roughshod over your soul.
Prayer: Show me ways to meditate on your Word, Lord, and share it with others. Amen.
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