Missing the Mark

Written on 05/25/2021
Christian Dunn

Verse: 1 John 3:4-6

4 Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. 5 But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. 6 No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.

What is sin? Is it something religious people use to make us feel bad, or something God invented to make life harder for us? Why does God care whether we sin or not?

In the Bible the Hebrew and Greek word for sin means to "fail" or "miss the mark."  In the Old Testament (Judges 20:16) we are told there were expert sling shot throwers who wouldn't "miss" their target - the word there is the same word used for "sin."

So what target do we miss when we sin? Specifically we miss the targets of loving God and loving others. Those two main ideals are what undergird the Ten Commandments and what Jesus reinforced when asked what the greatest commandment was (Matthew 22). 

Whenever we choose ourselves over God or others, we sin. Whenever we seek our own good first, we sin. Whenever we mistreat, or use words to hurt others, we sin. 

Why does this matter? The thing is, we are created in the image of God. And God is love. So when we step outside of loving God and others, we step outside of our destiny - who we were created to be.  When we miss the mark, it isn't about God wanting to quickly punish us. It's about God wanting us to live as we are called to live, to live out our destiny, to live as children of God in a broken world (Philippians 2:15).

This passage illuminates the fact that if we keep on sinning (that is, live a lifestyle of repeated sin that we don't repent of) we won't be walking with God. He's not saying if you sin, you aren't a Christian. No. Earlier in fact he told us that we all sin (1 John 1:8)! What he's talking about is persisting in a lifestyle of ignoring God and breaking his Word. This style of living will not result in you loving God and others. It will result in you loving yourself. And as a result, it will cut you off from the life and destiny God has for you.

Today, this passage invites us to look at our lives. Are there any areas in our life where we have closed the door to God? Have we said, I don't want God in that area of my life? I don't want to follow his Word, or listen to his voice in that area? If so, why? What is motivating us? And what would happen if we brought it to God in honesty and repentance? God has a great and beautiful plan for your life. And his forgiveness for our sins is insurmountable (even repetitive sins!). Don't miss out on what he has for you by living parts of your life away from his will, love, and forgiveness.

I want to bring my whole life into alignment with loving you and loving others. Help me to do this God!