2011-07-07 - The Price
When we get what we want that is in opposition to what God wants there is a price to pay - Dr. J. Bruce Sophia
1 Cor 6:11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. (NASB)
Why are we different?
What makes a believer in Jesus Christ different than anyone else? Some will claim that we think we know some "secret knowledge" that is like a key. Well, the knowledge is published in one of the most published and distributed books on Earth. Like the song says - It is no secret what God can do. This information is free for the asking. The verses just before this text run down a list of things that God can not accept. Creation was made perfect. Adam and Eve chose to place themselves over the authority of God in breaking the one restriction He placed on them. Humanity was separated from God by sin. The problem is not that the knowledge is secret. It flies in the face our human pride to have to admit that we are not perfect, and there is something we can not do for ourselves.
Then Paul drops the hammer lest any of us feel justified in any way - "And such were some of you ..."
Before any of us get to feeling like we have earn anything at all that might justify our position we need to think again. Our very best deeds are called filthy rags in Isa 64:6. So there is nothing we are capable of doing to help ourselves in our standing with God. Notice two words in that fragment of Paul's statement. The first word is "were". Note the past tense of the verb. We who believe and have accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord were formerly members of that club.
But I didn't eat that apple. It wasn't me. Why am I a sinner?
No you and I were not there. But Adam and Eve, the parents of humanity fell and were cursed as punishment. They were no longer perfect or innocent. And as like begets like, we are not innocent or perfect. When we are honest with ourselves we will accept that we fail routinely. Jesus raised the bar even higher saying that looking at a woman (or a man) with lust in our hearts is the same as committing adultery (Matt 5:28). The thought, not the action is enough. When we grasp that level of requirement then we realize that we may sin before our feet hit the floor in the morning.
The second critical word in the verse is at the beginning of the next sentence. "But ..." creates an alternative or opposition to the previous statement. The Lord promised to make a way to bring us back into fellowship - to erase the sin and bring us back into a relationship with Him.
1 Cor 6:11 And such some of you were [once]. But you were washed clean (purified by a complete atonement for sin and made free from the guilt of sin), and you were consecrated (set apart, hallowed), and you were justified [pronounced righteous, by trusting] in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the [Holy] Spirit of our God. (Amplified Bible)
Do we still stumble and sin? Can that sin also be washed away?
Yes we do. 1 John 2:1 tell is that we have an advocate - someone who will stand up for us and plead our case. Jesus Christ will intercede before the Father for those who have accepted Jesus' sacrifice for sin in our place. Does this mean we are free to do as we please? In the third chapter of Romans Paul exclaims, "May it never be!" (NASB) We are still accountable to our advocate. We still humble ourselves, ask for forgiveness and turn away from our sins - actions or thoughts.
I have, as many of you have, pushed my wants ahead of what I knew Christ did not want me to have. We have paid that price. Some of us will carry that scar for the duration of this mortal life. If we have any wisdom it is a learning experience however painful. There is forgiveness and healing, but there are also consequences. Just like someone with lung cancer may accept Jesus has their Savior their sins are washed away. Some may also be healed of their cancer, but many are not. Why or why not some diseases or scars are not healed is a mystery for now. The scars are reminders like Paul's thorn in the flesh that there are limits and we are subservient to His authority. And when we chose to deliberately place our authority over His there is a price to pay.
There is forgiveness too. Never sell that short. The terrible price was paid on Calvary at the cross. We will never be asked to suffer that pain. He paid the debt we could never pay. This life has thorns, but the rose is forgiveness by His grace (undeserved favor) and the peace that follows knowing He will never let us go.
Matt 10:27-28 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. (NASB)
Grace & Peace,