1st John Devotional - Week 9, Day 3

Day 3: “Tenaciously Kept” - by Ralph Acerno (Retired Pastor)

Read: 1 John 5:18

Review: Our new birth has permanent privileges and obligations. First, we do not sin. While we may at times fall into sin, we do not live in it. Before Christ, Christians were once "dead in sin", now we are "dead to sin." Once sin was our companion, but now our enemy. This is because God keeps him through the abiding presence and power of the Holy Spirit.

Thus, the "evil one" (Satan), no longer has power and possession over us as he once did (Ephesians 2:1-3). The CSB translation for "touch" (haptetai) is far too mild. A better translation is to "cling" (John 20:17). In other words, while Satan's clinging on the unsaved is tenacious and strong - like the clinging claws of a lion - Jesus' hold on his own is far stronger, making the Lord's prayer, “Deliver us from the evil one” and Jesus' promise “My sheep shall never perish” a lasting reality.

Reflect: A new popular phrase today is "Reverse engineering." (Interfacing with a new system.) For us, this interfacing is the new birth and lifestyle by which we are transformed into a new creation. Do I see myself in this way? How does that affect the way I view and respond to sin and Satan?


After earning a BA in Bible from Northeastern Bible College, as well as a Masters
in Theology from Princeton University and New Brunswick Seminary, Ralph served
the Lord through his primary gifts of preaching, teaching and counseling since 1972 –
first with youth and then as pastor in the Presbyterian Reformed Church. He and his
wife, Terry Thompson Acerno, a retired journalist, have three grown children who
continue to reside in the metro New York area (and joyfully visit them when they
return to their Connecticut home each summer). Ralph and Terry retired and
relocated to Henderson in 2018.

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