Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Forgive or Excuse?

How do we avoid confusing the forgiveness of sin with the excusing of sin? The forgiveness of sin is glorious news for believers but most unbelievers see it as an excuse to sin. When the gospel is proclaimed to unbelievers there can be a tendency in the unbelieving heart to say, "Why does it matter what I do since God has forgiven me all my sins?" It is true that by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ sinners can have all their sins forgiven. Paul is clear in Colossians 2 when he writes:

"And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross." (13-14)


This is the Good News revealed to Christians by the Holy Spirit's work in our lives. But what about those who claim to know Christ yet still sin? What is the difference between the unbeliever and the believer? Ask yourself this question: "What is your attitude toward sin?" There is a huge difference between hating and grieving over sin as opposed to presuming on God's forgiveness as a reason to excuse sin. Paul had to address this issue in the book of Romans:


"Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?" (Are we to continue in sin because we know God will forgive us?) Paul continues, "By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life." (Romans 6:1-4)


The true child of God does not use forgiveness as an excuse to sin but truly grieves his sin. Christians are new people who have been given the Holy Spirit. We are to be people who love what God loves and hate what God hates. The Bible is where we find out what he loves and hates. Let me help you on one thing: GOD HATES SIN!! Want proof: He crushed his Son on the cross! Do not look any further than the crucified Christ. God hates sin but in his love and for his glory he sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to die for sinners like you and me. Why would we want to offer him back a spit in the face by presuming on his forgiveness?

Grace upon grace,
JRL

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