1 John 3, Hosea and Romans 3
I was already reading through 1 John and I came to some verses in chapter 3 that sounded harsh. Maybe they wouldn’t sound harsh to someone who was behaving themselves, but to someone who struggles?
“Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.
1 John 3:4-10
How does that go? This isn’t about me, you see I have this friend…..
It has been months that I have been just kind of stuck here.
I have wanted to post about these verses but just have not been confident in my understanding. I still am not.
Then I felt like God said, “let me help you understand me better, read Hosea”.
Hosea is a book about a prophet who God told to marry a prostitute. But God had Hosea do this as a lesson for his people, the nation of Israel.
“When the Lord began to speak through Hosea, the Lord said to him, “Go, marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her, for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the Lord.” So he married Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.”
They went on to have 2 more kids. And then they lived happily ever after. No. They did not. Gomer left Hosea and went back to prostitution.
Then God said this: “The Lord said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes. ” So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and about a homer and a lethek of barley. Then I told her, “You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will behave the same way toward you.”’
God loves people. He loves real people with real problems and real pasts full of real baggage. God loves people who are sinners.
Later in the book Hosea writes some poetry, beautiful prophetic poetry. It predicts a time when Gods people will return to him.
““Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence. Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth. ”’
After reading the Book of Hosea and thinking about God and his love of the wayward I felt prompted to reread Romans and in chapter 3 I was reminded that we are all “wayward”,
“What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”
God loves sinners, the wayward, the lost, those of us sold into a lifestyle of sin. He loves us and has come to set us free.
“Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin. But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood —to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished — he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.”
We get no epilogue from the book of Hosea. We don’t know how the story ended. We don’t know what the end of our story is either. We do know this much, that God loves us so much that Just like Hosea bought his wife back from her pimp, God has sent his only son to die for us, to buy us back from whatever has us enslaved.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
God loves us and has bought us back. If we fall how we be rescued? God loves us and has bought us back. How many cycles do we get? How many times will God forgive and follow and free us? If there is a number I don’t know it.
Is there a word for this number? As many as it takes? As many as it takes to get us home.