Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous;
1 John 3:7 (NASB)
Practices – The common theology of righteousness in mainstream Christianity is that the only way to be righteous is through Yeshua alone – only him. Any work you do is like filthy rags before God. That’s their mantra, and their argument for abandoning the law of God. But John makes a different claim. John writes that the person who practices righteousness IS righteous. So why the differences here?
Well for one, John wasn’t a Christian. He was a Jew who believed Yeshua as the Messiah. He didn’t convert to mainstream theology, he simply followed a Messiah and continued to live as a Jewish member of society. His Hebrew upbringing was much more inline with Yeshua and the New Testament teachings then the Greek worldview capitalized in mainstream Christianity. You see being made righteous and living righteously are two different things.
Yes, being made righteous is done through Yeshua. He washes us clean. But it’s our duty to continue to live righteously. This is John’s point. We need to practice righteousness, and in so doing this keeps us inline with the righteous path that Yeshua laid out for us. It is only by Him that we have this ability to even step foot on this righteous journey because without Him we were outcasts, spread across the earth and assimilated into paganism. But with Him, we have the invitation to join Israel and become grafted into the good tree. It’s now our obligation to bear good fruit, and the only way to do that is through obedience, not by abandoning the order and process by which the fruit can be produced.
This is where the deception comes in. Many will declare that our works mean nothing before God and cannot contribute to our righteousness despite John’s words above. Without realizing this, they promote rebellion to the law which in turn condones sin and they state that grace will abound. Does this sound familiar? Apostle Paul reasons against this very train of thought. “What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.” Paul’s words are in opposition to the deception being promoted by many in the Christian faith.
The word is poieō which is to create, make or do. Another form of the same word can be found in Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans.
For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
Poieō is used in the LXX often in relation to the law, the will of God, or individual commands. It’s always involved with action, and never with thought or belief. It’s all about what you do.
So if we want to repent and stop sinning, how do we do this? We keep the law. So have you been deceived? Do you think the law has no place in our lives right now? Do you think grace will just continue to abound while you live in rebellion? Think again. The seed of the woman clothed in the sun according to John the Revelator, are those who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Yeshua. If you have the testimony, but not the commandments, you’re not complete and the dragon has no desire to seek you out because you already live in rebellion against God.