But Christ Died For My Sins, So I Can Do Whatever Right?
We’re only human.
Our God is a forgiving God.
It’s only natural.
I don’t know about those who may be reading this, but I’ve certainly said every one of those phrases at least once in my life. I wanted to live in a world where I could do what I wanted, even knowing it was wrong, and it would be fine because my sins were paid for.
Let’s look at this from a human level. Let’s say you had a loved one or friend who kept getting into financial trouble. You loan him a bit of money, but he falls right back into debt. You give him more, but he loses his house. You give him a place to stay, but he never makes much of an effort to find work or provide for himself. He seems perfectly content to do what he wants and let you pay for everything. He doesn’t even so much as help clean up around the house or even cook a meal.
Wouldn’t you, even the most patient and loving of you, eventually grow tired of it? Isn’t that person really just using you?
The above phrases are absolutely true, every single one of them. There are simply two ways (there are always only two ways when you boil them down) to look at it. One way is for a person to accept those truths and let them convict their hearts to strive to do what is right. The other way is to accept those truths and simply not bother to try at all. Even someone who fails time and again, but continues to work and pray and find ways to turn from their sins is still working under the first perspective.
It’s to those who try and shrug it off I offer this warning. You can’t live in sin and call yourself a follower of Christ (1 John).
“Whoever says, ‘I know him’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him (1 John 2:4-6).”
God is forgiving of those who strive to keep his word but slip (1 John 2:1). There is no such forgiveness to those who continue in sin (1 John 2:9-11).
“No one who abides in Him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen Him or known Him (1 John 2:6).”
“Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother (1 John 2:8-10).
We’re still working our way toward recognizing sin. But before we look at sin for what it is, we have to abolish the myths people cling to so they can excuse their sins or avoid the need to even look at sin. I’ve demonstrated that one must either believe in Christianity, or not. I’ve demonstrated that it is impossible for one to believe in Christianity and any other path, since belief in Christ means accepting him as the way, the truth, and the life.
Now we must abolish the myth that accepting Him somehow allows us to continue sinning as if we didn’t believe in Him. This simply isn’t true.
Paul pondered this same subject in his letter to the church in Rome. He asked a direct question: Can we continue to sin so that God’s grace can continue to abound? He offered a very simple response:
“By no means (Romans 6:2)!”
A true Christian dies to sin, so they can no longer live in it (Romans 6:2). Romans 6:2 is 14 words long, and it holds such deep, meaning. The question Paul asks points out the very same excuses some people claiming Christ make without realizing they haven’t turned to Christ.
Paul and John were not the only people to dispel this falsehood.
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments (John 14:15).”
Those are the words of Christ Himself.
Once more we can reject Christ and do as we wish, or we can accept Him, but if we accept Him we must, therefore, keep His commandments, for that is what those who love Him (and therefore accept Him) do.
Jesus didn’t mention this once in passing. He emphasized this in His final words to His disciples as I mentioned above, but it was a part of His ministry throughout His life on Earth.
“Jesus said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you should love Me, for I came from God, and I am here (John 8:42).”
There Christ openly states that love of Him demonstrates a relationship with God (since they are two parts of the one triune God).
Then Christ explains the actions of those who follow the devil.
“‘You are of your father, the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him (John 8:44).”
There is no position in which one can say he belongs to Christ and then continue to live for himself rather than for Christ.
This does not in any way indicate that one slip, one instance of failure means damnation. Again, the words I began this chapter with are all true. What this means is that those who follow Christ strive to live in accordance to His commandments.
For those who do this, Christ advocates on their behalf when they stumble (1 John 2:1).
God Himself declared David a man after His own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). Yet David committed adultery and murder (2 Samuel 11:4, 2 Samuel 11 14-15). How can such a sinner then be of God.
David absolutely sinned against God, but David repented each time. David accepted the severe consequences of those sins. He didn’t challenge God or question Him. He understood his sin for what it was. He asked for forgiveness. He accepted God’s sovereign punishment for those sins.
This is the difference between one who lives in sin, and one who lives in Christ. Never in scripture does David plot in this manner. He never (in scripture) says, “Well I know I shouldn’t murder Uriah, but I’ll do it, and God will forgive me.”
This isn’t to say he didn’t know what he was doing was wrong. He did, and he worked very hard to hide it. But when rebuked (through the prophet Nathan), he confessed and repented.
That brings another important concept to mind. Even those seeking earnestly to please God sin, and those sins have consequences. David, God’s anointed, sinned, and he, the one whom God declared was after His own heart, was punished. If David was not free of consequences, who is?
This shows us that even though our sins are forgiven, they are not necessarily without punishment. If God still reserves Earthly punishment for His chosen, what hope do those who deny the Son He sent to rule us have?
The myth that, “I’m Christian, so nothing will happen to me” or “I’m Christian, so I can sin, and God won’t judge me” dies.
What about the myth that “I’m blameless, so I’m guaranteed a wonderful, prosperous, pain-free life”?
Job was that man. He indeed had a life full of prosperity and blessing, but his story in the Bible isn’t about how great his life was or how great it ended. Instead, it shows us Job’s great trail. Even Job had no right to demand a life free of pain from God. Even Job had no right to question God and his sovereignty. Job, a man who was blameless (Job 1:1) saw the worst sorts of emotional and physical pain. His fortune was taken. His family was taken. Everything he had was taken. Indeed, he was once more blessed beyond even what he once had (Job 42), but his life wasn’t free from pain or turmoil. How much more those of us who openly admit we have done wrong?
No Christian life is free of pain. No Christian life is absent of blessings. Indeed, on this Earth, God gives and takes away (Job 1:21). God does this to sinners and the righteous (Matthew 5:45). That’s because the real reward is in Heaven. The real reward and blessings exist in God’s kingdom, and those rewards are only reserved for those who serve Him.
Nobody’s perfect, but a Christian strives to be as much as he or she is able, trusting in God’s forgiveness and accepting His divine sovereignty.
We’re only human, but a Christian strives to live like Christ, God in the flesh.
Our God is a forgiving God, but no Christian tests God (Deuteronomy 6:16 and Matthew 4:7).
It’s only natural, but a Christian doesn’t live of this world, but of Christ (1 John 2:15-17).
We had to dispel the myths those outside the faith want cling to. We had to reveal those myths to those who are of the faith but don’t understand they’re misguided.
We had to do these things before we look at sin for what it is because only those who see sin for what it is can then truly choose to live in it or turn away from it.
Again, that choice belongs to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t now be Christ’s and live whatever life you feel “makes you happy.” You can’t be Christ’s and sin as you please. You can’t be Christ’s and follow after other religions.
These are the truths a Christian must accept. You can accept them or reject them, but you can’t reject them and accept them.
For our panel: What are some other excuses people cling to? How would you dispel those excuses? What are some other areas of the Bible we can study to better understand the myths we’ve covered? How do we come to terms with the fact that even Christians receive trials and consequences for sins? How does a Christian stay focused on the real rewards even while losing some (or even, unfortunately all) of their Earthly blessings? How does can one know they’re lost in sin?