This is the second last post on a series about Christians and sin.
The first post in this series was:
My Favourite Commandment
The second: My Favourite sin
The third: I yam what I yam
The fourth: The Big Lie
The fifth: Let’s be Honest
There are two churches in our little town. Both evangelical, Bible based, socially concerned congregations. These congregations are as good as congregations get.
Still like most congregations, the one we attend carries within it the idea that sin, the reality of sin, the entity of sin is a problem that is dealt with at the front end of salvation. Sinners need to be saved but once they are saved we just get on with the business of living, of “making” a living. The people of course would vehemently deny this. My interaction with them as a counsellor however, shines a bright light on the desire common to all, which is our desire to hide the real self, to avoid transparency.
Believing (wishing?) that sin is dealt with at the front end of salvation causes us to hide our true selves from others and from ourselves. Believing this lie brings to a congregation a lack of transparency that is deadly for any Church body.
It’s as deadly as pretending that radical Islam isn’t at war with us.
It’s as deadly as pretending that satan isn’t out to destroy us.
Pretending that we can defeat this enemy on our own is building into our Christian life a "failure by design" scenario.
Whenever not sinning becomes the goal over and above living in a state of forgiveness for our sins, look out!
“Who among you is without sin?” was the withering blast from Jesus.
“You brood of vipers,” was hurled by John toward those who wanted to look “good” (Pharisees / us) to the outside world while ignoring the filth within.
“If we claim to be without sin, we lie to ourselves and the truth is not in us.”
The question being asked by Ginx, and one that is relevant to the point of this series of posts is, “If we aren’t becoming better people, what does Christ and Christianity have to offer people of the world?”
Um, how about salvation, forgiveness, mercy and grace?
These things are not found anywhere - except at the foot of the cross. That is why the early Church was so attractive. When we love one another, people look to Jesus because the world does not possess love - Nor mercy, nor grace and especially not forgiveness - Not the kind the Jesus offers.
When pretending to be good is more important than maintaining our salvation, when pretending to not sin is more important than honestly dealing with our sin, we are working against and not for our Saviour. The judging, the hiding, the hypocrisy of it all makes non Christians gag.
Following Jesus is an intensely personal walk. We are saved the same today as we were the first day that we brought our sin filled lives to the alter. We need God’s grace on a daily basis. We need His forgiveness on a daily basis. Who would turn down an opportunity to receive God’s grace except one who doesn’t want to be vulnerable to that grace?
And that, Ginx, is about as much as I want to say, for now. For you to judge Christians for buying expensive suits is understandable - I guess. On the other hand, you and I and everyone else are susceptible to self-deception. We are all prone to justifying our actions.
“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners - of whom I am the worst.”
Notice that Paul doesn’t say, “I was the worst.”
Our state in sin is present tense and will remain so until the day of Jesus’ return.
There never has been and never will be a Christian whose life doesn’t possess thoughts and actions contrary to the will of God. One of the things that is able to keep us on track is the knowledge that when any conversation turns to talk of sinners, the conversation is about “me.”
The most amazing thing, and this is something that Ginx and all others need to know, is not that I and other Christians will continue to sin until the day that we die, but that in spite of our sin God not only ALLOWS us to have a relationship with Him, He longs to have a relationship with us. He died to make that relationship possible.
He did that for you!