Missing the Mark
1 John 3:4-10
Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. [1 John 3:4]
“Sin” is hamartia in the original Greek. It literally means “missing the mark.” It is an archer’s term in regard to hitting the “bulls-eye.” When we sin, we miss the mark, the bulls-eye, which is perfection. So in Romans 3:23, it makes a lot of sense when Paul writes, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” No one is perfect.
Jesus taught this same truth in The Sermon on the Mount. “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment. But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment.” [Matt 5:21-22, ESV]. Ever get angry at a brother or sister in the Lord? Well then, sin, you missed the mark; you are now “liable to judgment.” And then Jesus went on to quote several other commandments that emphasized perfection [ref. Matt 5:21-48]. He concluded by saying, “Therefore, you shall be perfect just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” [Matt 5:48]
Well then, I guess that counts me out. And it counts you out too. No one is perfect; HOWEVER, there is one exception. Jesus being fully God became the Perfect Man, One with the Father; He was sinless. Being the Perfect Man, He became the Perfect Sacrifice that takes away the sin of the world [ref. John 1:29]
“But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.” [Rom 3:21-22] “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” [2 Cor 5:21] These three Pauline verses powerfully explain what the Gospel is, how it works, and how it is received. And once you do, by faith, you become [instantaneously] a child of God with eternal inheritance.
“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God.” [1 John 3:1] But here’s an addendum of truth to remember, “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.” [1 John 3:9, ESV]
In short, our identity as a true child of God is connected to how we live; yet another flavor of the moral test.