(For the Sin and Salvation series)
Do you realize that after you become a Christian you aren’t supposed to sin deliberately? No Christian is ever to think, “I’ll just do it and ask forgiveness later.”
In the Old Testament, blood sacrifices were made regularly to cover unintentional sins. Jesus’ death washes away our sin guilt. It covers the sins we repent and turn from and the sins we don’t realize we are doing. As we walk in the Light, walk with Christ and learn from Him, reading His word and getting to know Him, He shows us sin in our lives. We need to confess those sins and repent. And He cleanses us from them. It’s called the process of sanctification, making us holy, making us wholly His, weeding out all those things that sin nature sowed into us.
For instance, maybe when you came to Christ you knew to confess that you were a liar. He forgave you. He gave you His Spirit of truth, so that you had the power to overcome lying and speak the truth. When you were in a situation where you might have lied before, you felt constrained to tell the truth. If you messed up, you felt awful and confessed both to God and the person and made it right and were forgiven.
Then maybe you read about the Israelites complaining and their destruction and how they were an example to us and how we’re commanded to do everything without arguing or complaining, and you realize, because the Spirit is at work cleansing you, how you’ve been sinning against God acting ungrateful by your complaining. You confess. You ask God’s help to turn any complaining thought into a declaration of gratitude. You ask for God’s help being thankful always for all things. You partner with the Holy Spirit and He brings to mind songs of praise to help you meditate on thanksgiving and praise and renew your mind. And you are being cleansed from all unrighteousness.
Hebrews 10:26-27 reads, “Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins. There is only the terrible expectation of God’s judgment and the raging fire that will consume his enemies.”
Is there hope if you have sinned deliberately and repeatedly? Of course! God is a God of hope. He loves you! His desire is for you to be with Him. That’s why He’s so diligently at work cleansing us from unrighteousness.
What hope do we have? Jesus, of course! 1 John 2:1 says, “My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous.”
John says we’re not to sin, but IF we do, Jesus will plead our case before the Father. Why does Jesus have to defend your life to the Father? Because the wages of sin is death. Your choice to sin earned you a terrible expectation of God’s judgment. God would be just in opening the earth and swallowing you whole. Jesus pleads on your behalf; He pleads His own blood over you.
Please, think about this. This is not a situation you want to put the Father and Son through again and again. We want to please Him, not put Him through anguish. The greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. Choosing to live in sin is loving yourself, not God. He won’t stop loving you, but He won’t force you to love Him. He will, however, do all that He can to save you, which means turning you from your sin.
Isaiah 5 tells the story about how the Lord tenderly cared for His vineyard, protected, and watered it, but it produced bitter fruit instead of sweet. The result is that He tears down its hedge of protection to expose it to destruction.
God doesn’t stop loving at that point. God is love and can never stop loving. His heart is for you to repent. The beginning of understanding is the fear of the Lord, so He will allow suffering to teach you to fear Him and hate sin and turn you to Him to cry out for saving. He wants to save you!
I’ll share one final story, a parable from Jesus. God is a good Teacher. He is a Good Father. He will do all He can so that you will turn to Him and repent, which is the only way you can truly love Him and receive the gifts He’s offering you. But He can’t make you love Him. He has chosen in His sovereignty to allow us the free will to accept or reject His love offering, His gift of freedom from sin so that we can be with Him. You have to choose Him.
Matthew 22:11-13 “But when the king came in to meet the guests, he noticed a man who wasn’t wearing the proper clothes for a wedding. 12 ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how is it that you are here without wedding clothes?’ But the man had no reply. 13 Then the king said to his aides, ‘Bind his hands and feet and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”
That’s not a story about allowing suffering to turn you to repentance. That’s eternal separation from God, someone who was a wedding guest and called a friend.
God’s love gift is freedom from sin so we can be with the one, true, holy God. Accept it through the fear of the Lord and give your whole heart to loving Him. Hate the sin and receive His love and freedom.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.