I was going to go to bed, but I know I’ll be up for hours to come thinking about this, and I just want to work my way through it. It’s been said that Jesus was inclusive, and loved everyone, which I don’t debate. What I do debate is the lack of address to Christ’s message on sin, and that in one of his most famous sermons Jesus revealed God’s exclusivity and ultimate dividing of the people into two groups: those on his right and those on his left (Matthew 25).
There’s such an emphasis on grace in today’s culture that is so liberating, but also deceptive. I believe in grace, and thank God for it daily. But I also know scripture, and one in particular throws a wrench onto the New Age grace. Hebrews 10:26 says very plainly, “if we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sin is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgement and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.”
The New Age grace says “don’t worry about how you live your life. God has no standards anymore because Jesus died for our sins. We can live it up however we want, because there is no more condemnation.” Romans 8:1 says something to that effect, but Satan had twisted it into something untrue. “There is now therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” But read further on and you will find in 1 John these truths:
“If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth” (1 John 1:6).
“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be liar and his word is not in us” (1 John 1:8-10).
“Whoever says ‘I know him’ but does not do what he commands is a liar and the truth is not in him … Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did” (1 John 2:4, 6).
“Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so the he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him” (1 John 3:4-6).
”Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous. The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning since the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning because they have been born of God … Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother or sister” (1 John 3:7-10).
Do I understand that correctly? That we are not all in Christ? That being in Christ comes with evidence so that we might know one another? I appreciate that about God. He told us we’d know one another by the fruits produced.
Those who are in Christ will live a much different life than the rest of the world. A true believer will not live in sin and justify their sin with the message of grace. That was never the purpose of grace. Jesus did not die so we could throw off all inhibitions and live a life of self-gratification. Many new Christians in Paul’s time had similar confusions and Paul told them over and over, “Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! (Romans 6:1).
“Do we then nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather we uphold the law” (Romans 3:31).
God’s standards, then, still apply. Not as a chain around our necks, but as a loving response. We were unable to fulfill the law before Christ. Now we are free from the bondage of sin and have the law as a loving reminder of what God desires of us. Now we are able to live by those standards because sin has lost it’s grip on us. So then, the sin that exists in our lives can be expelled!
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful: he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he wlll also provide a way out so that you can endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Sin, therefore, is a choice made against the better way God provides. It is intentional and devastating.
“Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness. Sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4).
“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness”(Matthew 7:23).
And it is right to say that Jesus was inclusive and loved everyone. He himself said, “If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world” (John 12:47). But Jesus did not say the world would not be judged. In fact, he talked a lot about the judgement to come.
Grace is not a cover for the sinful life. Grace is holding the door open that those who would come before the Lord for forgiveness of sin, a true act of repentance, might approach the throne with confidence. The person determined to live a life unto themselves instead of unto the Lord is hardened and will not approach the throne of grace at all. Because he doesn’t think he needs to be forgiven.
If the Word of God is true, and I believe it is, then Jesus is not a liar and neither is the Spirit of God that ministered the Word to the faithful men who wrote it. They all being in agreement, the liar is the man or woman who preaches a different doctrine than this.
Lord, give us ears to hear. Soften our hearts that we might perceive truth again, and give us discernment so that we can understand and rightly divide the word of God. We cannot understand it on our own, but we believe that your Spirit gives revelation. I pray that the blind will see and the deaf will hear your truth, Lord. We live in an age of compelling false doctrine, but I believe in the power of your Word to dispel the enemy’s lies. I thank you for revelation and I ask for freedom for captives today. Thank you, Jesus, for fighting for us. For dying to set us free and declaring that freedom over us again today. You are a tremendous blessing and a great savior. We love and magnify you. In your precious name, amen.