Thursday, May 30, 2013

Condemned to sin?

All too often I hear that Christians are nothing but "Sinners saved by grace" and that we continue to sin in word, thought, and deed on a near daily, if not daily basis. I hear this from professing Christians who I genuinely believe mean well, but this message is not one that scripture proclaims, and it is one that prevents us from pursuing what God created us to be.

Sin is most definitely a problem in our world, and a deeply rooted problem at that. But it isn't a part of creation. God created all that there is, and He formed us from the dust and placed His image on us and breathed His life into us. God declared His creation to be good, as He created it and goodness is at its fullest, most complete, most comprehensive expression and realization in the character of God. On top of that after He formed us, gave us His image, and breathed His life into us, He declared us to be "very good."

Sin is the very antithesis of what is good. If God declared His creation to be good, and us to be very good, sin could not have been part of creation. Though it is deeply embedded in our world today, it is not a part of creation and therefore is something that, with time and through the work of the Holy Spirit, can be removed.

Plus, when it comes to the Christian life, the Bible boldly declares that we are made new, we are a new creature, we are given new life, etc. The old has passed away, the new has come. In Christ we are more than conquerors. Jesus told both the woman at the well and the man who was an invalid for 38 years that they were to go and sin no more. Can God make such a declaration, can He give such a command to not go and sin no more if in fact we are forever condemned to sin?

God, who commanded all that there is to be created, and it was created, can (and does) command us not to sin when we have been made new in Him. Think about this, if God commands something that cannot be done, what does that say about God?

Those who like to proclaim that God is completely sovereign and requires no input from us fail to realize that by saying on the one hand the command to not sin exists must then say that if God commands it, it must happen, for God is completely sovereign. Yet they go on to say that we continue to sin, therefore God's command to not sin is undermined. But how can this be if God is completely sovereign and we have no say in anything?

Again, I believe that those who make such a claim are full of good intentions, but I also believe that they are severely misguided. What are we really saying when we say "I continue to sin in word, thought, and deed"?

Perhaps it's a justification for continuing on in a lifestyle that you happen to enjoy, or doing things that you know don't please God, but rather please yourself. You can say to yourself "Well God still loves me even though I do this" and that may be true, but it wasn't His love that saved you, it was His grace through faith and belief. Does His grace give us a license to sin? According to the Apostle Paul (who those who claim they are still sinners love to quote) the answer is a resounding NO. Paul wrote that we cannot continue in sin so that grace abounds all the more.

But then again those who love to quote Paul will look to Romans 7 where Paul talks about struggling between doing what is good and what is bad. What they fail to realize is that Paul is not describing a current struggle. He is, in Romans 7, talking about the logical conclusion to what the capability of the Law is. Romans 8 makes it very clear we are given victory over the sin in our life through the work of Christ.

If Christ's work is complete, why then are we incapable of being delivered from a sinful life?

Those who claim we can do nothing but sin, even after salvation, give God too little power in our lives, and sin way too much credit.

Now I should say that in our humanity we are prone to make mistakes, but mistakes are not sin, at least they don't have to be. Proverbs talks about the righteous man that falls seven times. His righteousness is not taken from him as he gets back up, dusts himself off, and continues on. Mistakes are actions that require correction, but it doesn't make it sin. If however the righteous man stumbles, and falls, and remains on the ground, then those mistakes have led to sin.

For those who say they continue to sin even after being saved, I have to wonder why? Why do you refuse to live a life empowered by God that overcomes the sin in your life and in this world?

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