Religion is the death knell for the Mrs. Krebs’ of the world.

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I John 3:4-10 is a difficult passage of Scripture for me. It’s personal and hard to observe very nice people (by our human standards) and lump them into John’s summary: “The one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has been sinning from the beginning.”  What about “Mrs. Krebs”, the church “saint”? (Name withheld to protect the non-innocent) Whenever the church puts out a plea for help in the kitchen, she is there. If they need a Sunday School teacher, she responds. No matter if they are toddlers or teens, she has a lesson and a pocket full of M&M’s that meets the needs of any age. Mrs. Krebs serves, regardless.


I call her a “saint” using the Google definition: “a very virtuous, kind, or patient person”. Mrs. Krebs possesses all three of these qualities. However, the Bible defines “saints” as a group of people set apart for the Lord and His kingdom.  That’s what holiness is: being set apart for God alone.


Growing up in the church, I met a lot of people who love to go to church and participate in all the activities that are offered: Sunday worship, youth activities, baptisms, weddings, and yes, even funerals. We smile and serve year after year, but none of these things are the metric for evaluating an actual relationship with God. That’s the important part: saints have a genuine relationship with God and are set apart for Him alone.


Mrs. Krebs is what is termed as a “cultural Christian”. John says, “No one who lives in him, keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him, or known him?” (I John 3:6).  Mrs. Krebs does good things, but doesn’t know Christ. In secret, she sins and just shrugs it off. People may like a church, grow up in a church, and have an affinity for everything that the church approves of, but they may only be what are called “cultural Christians”. They don’t know Christ or have the heart of Christ. They just have religion; not a relationship.


Dean Inserra has written a book called “The Unsaved Christian”. He says, “Like their New Testament counterparts from Matthew 7, they know religion, but they don’t realize that their religion is the very thing from which they need to be saved. I tried to imagine the faces of those calling “Lord, Lord”, when Jesus told them, that they won’t be going to heaven. Their religious resumes were something to admire, yet Jesus wasn’t impressed–He was outraged. Rather than calling them good people, He called them lawbreakers.”


John’s warning is in the present tense. The phrase “continues to sin” refers to a habitual action of defiance and rebellion. People who become Christians will sin, but they will not live as they once did because they know Him. At the moment of belief, His divine seed is implanted in their lives. God’s new life gives both the desire and the power to live a holy life; a life set apart for Christ. We may serve in a lot of wonderful ways like Mrs. Krebs, but religion is the death knell for the Mrs. Krebs’ of the world. She doesn’t have a personal relationship with Christ.

So how do you measure up? Does God define you as a cultural Christian or a genuine Christian? Has the work of Christ alone both saved and preserved you? Has God implanted in you His holiness plus a desire to serve a life dedicated by love for Him? Does “set apart for Him alone” describe your life? Maybe you need to have a talk with Him.

Delight in helping women to discover wholeness in their "New Normal".