[CF Devotionals] 2009-08-12 - Summer Questions

2009 #6 ~ Sin Beyond Grace

Luke 15:7, “I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in Heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”

Today’s Question: “I think I have sinned beyond grace.”

A little background here, because I am not giving the whole story and this is not really a question. This came from someone, male or female. It doesn’t really matter; it is from someone who names Christ as Lord of their lives, says that they are trusting in Jesus for all hope from the wrath of God, forgiveness of sin, peace with God, and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness, but over the last couple of months has found that they have slept with both sexes (male and female) outside of wedlock. This person recognizes that their life is in a spiral out of control. There is a conscience that bothers them and tells them that they are continually crossing new lines into sin, and this person wonders how God can really love them. So putting that aside, let us ask the question, “Can we sin more than grace can forgive?”

The answer, thankfully, is “no.” The answer is not “no, unless.” The answer is an unqualified “no.” We cannot out-sin grace. There is forgiveness in Christ for all who come to Him for it. There is forgiveness right now for the one who has never, until this moment, given a second thought to their sins. There is forgiveness right now, to the one who knows they have done wrong, even gone into sins they never imagined were possible for them to commit, for them, for the backslidden Christian to the inmate on “death row” who not only has no remorse, but who wishes he could do it all over again, for all who will come to Christ. There is forgiveness of sin, all sin, dark sins even that only God knows. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sins, 1 John 1:7.

The truth is that we all sin. Nobody will deny this; no one who is clearheaded and honest will deny this. We all sin. In Jude 21, we are admonished “keep yourselves in the love of God.” So we have an active role in the process of rooting out sin in our lives. We are to be active in this. We are told, “keep yourselves in the love of God.” This strongly suggests something that is active within us. Someone who is theologically astute might say, “We are kept by the power of God, through faith. For you to exhort us to keep ourselves is useless, carnal, and shows a legal/works righteousness understanding of God’s grace.” I would respond that the argument against our need to keep ourselves in the love of God, if there be such a one, is an argument with what the Spirit tells us in God’s Word. I don’t recommend arguing with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit always wins. So Scripture, and the Spirit by Scripture, tells us we have an active role to play in keeping ourselves in God’s love.

We now have the question before us, of one who professes faith in Christ, but is a prodigal (Luke 15:11-32). Here is someone who says they love Jesus, is active in church attendance, but has fallen into sin. What do we say? We say, “return to the Lord.” It is, in fact, what we see the prodigal doing. He returns home. So the sinner must return to Christ and never play the prodigal again. That may mean changes in lifestyle. It may mean a renewed reformation of life, but we tell the wayward sinner, the lost sheep (Luke 15:1-7), to flee to Christ while forsaking their sin. The broken-hearted sinner returns to the Savior and seeks to keep himself or herself, and to be kept as well, in the love of God. When the sinner comes back to Christ, there is much rejoicing in Heaven.

The Christian cannot long live in sin and not desire change. If you can go on in sin, and not have it affect you in life, conscience, fellowship and soul, then you cannot be a Christian. You may need a first repentance of coming to Christ. Either way, the charge, for all sinners, is to trust in Christ. God has shown great love to each of us. He has sustained us, provided for us, even given us more than we require. He has been loving to us beyond what we deserve. His love ought to compel us to return to Him, or seek Him for the first time. His love toward us should melt our hearts. Sins, our great big sins, can be and are forgiven, when we come to God seeking forgiveness through Christ’s atonement for sin, and by our personal faith in Christ’s work for us. We trust Him and seek forgiveness for our sins. God gives us the grace to trust. God has done much for the sinner. It cannot be that the new life God gives His children is in your soul, if there is no love to Him on account of the many blessings He has granted you. The Christian loves God, and that love is but a reflection of the great love with which He has loved us.

God’s grace is bigger than our sins. He grace not only out weighs our sins, but His grace takes our sins and removes them from us. Our sins are so far from us that the Bible says, “As far as the East is from the West, so far has He removed our sins from us,” Psalm 103:12. East and West never meet, and what we are told in God’s Word is that when God forgives our sins they are no more. He has removed them from us. They are gone. Our responsibility is to own our sin, confess them (1 John 1:9) and then seek anew to live faithfully before Jesus, forsaking sin and seeking keeping ourselves in the love of God.

Soli Deo Gloria,

[email tim] GodRulesTB@aol.com

Editor's Note: The questions in this series are stated in the exact form sent by the readers - unedited, unproofed, in order to remain true to the reader's original wording.