If I go bowling occasionally, would you conclude that I “practice” bowling?
How many times do I have to bowl each year, month, or week to be considered a “bowling practitioner”?
If I do bowl, is it accidental? After all, it takes quite a bit of effort to go bowling. I have to go to the bowling alley, I have to rent shoes (and be willing to put shoes on my feet that have been worn by hundreds of people before me), I have to find a big, heavy ball that fits my hand and bring it to “my lane” – then and only then am I ready to bowl – but I am still not a bowler. It is only when I pick up that heavy ball and roll it down a hard wood floor toward some pins 60 feet away that I can be found to be a bowler.
Could we conclude that a bowler is one who makes a conscious, deliberate, effort to go bowling?
Could we also conclude that one who “practices” sin is one that makes a conscious, deliberate, effort to continue in sin?
I could very easily quit bowling; I simply would not go to a bowling alley any longer, and even if I did go to a bowling alley to have pizza, I can easily not put on the stinky shoes. If I don’t put on the stinky shoes, I can’t bowl. It is then that I could rightly say, “I am not a bowler. I used to bowl, but no longer. Not once in a while, never, I don’t bowl. I am not a bowler.”
Only we can make the honest assessment as to whether our “bowling” (our sin) is a deliberate continuance OR if it is a stumble. I can accidentally drop a bowling ball on my foot, I don’t accidentally go bowling.
This is absolutely CRUCIAL! It is hypocrisy and flawed logic to conclude that one can practice sin, yet still avoid eternal condemnation. God’s Word says that it is by our works and words we will be judged. You may say, “wait a minute, we are not saved by works, we are saved by grace through faith.” You are absolutely right, however, our works and words do not save us, but they are evidence of our salvation.
For example, if I tell my son that sleeping with his cell phone next to his head is dangerous and could cause brain cancer, he has a choice. He can believe me and care about the potential consequence; OR he can either not believe it, or not care. If he truly believes me, and he truly cares, he will quit sleeping with his phone next to his head. If he doesn’t believe me, or he doesn’t care about the potential consequence, he will continue his practice of sleeping with his phone on his pillow.
In the same way, God says, those who practice sin are of the devil, they are not His children. How do we know who is who? More importantly, how does God know who is who? Answer: by our words and works. If I truly believe God, and care about what He says, my words and works will reflect this belief. If I say one thing, yet my life is lived in direct contradiction, I am deceived.
If I was able to play back a time lapse video of the last two years of my sons pillow and see whether his cell phone is on there or not when he sleeps, and I see that every night he is sleeping with his cell phone on his pillow, what would I conclude? Obviously, the only conclusion is, “he doesn’t believe me, and/or he doesn’t care.” That is how we will be judged by our works and words. We will give an account of every careless word. It is as if God says, “you profess faith in my Son, which also means you are saying you believe my Words, let’s play back your life and see if your works and words reflect your profession of faith, by this I will know whether your profession was genuine or not.”
Don’t be deceived, to think what you say and do does not matter because you made a profession of faith is an example of a devil’s scheme.
Matthew 12:36-37 I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, 37 for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."
1John 3:7-10 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. 8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. 10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
Ephesians 6:11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.