Jesus: "I have made You known to them and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them."

- John 17:26

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Why live sinlessly?


When someone asks: ‘if Christianity means that whatever sin you do/will do/have done you’ll be forgiven anyway, then why don’t you keep on sinning?’ (Subtext here: keep on 'having fun' like getting drunk and sleeping around) The answer is a simple one. 

Short answer: because if you truly know God and love God then there’s no way you would ever want to do anything he doesn’t like! You should hopefully be striving in the complete opposite direction; striving to seek what he really does want you to do and follow it with your whole heart. ‘No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.’ (1 John 3:6)


Long answer: If someone asks this, it usually means they’re coming at it from an incorrect preconception: that Christianity is purely and primarily about having your stained record wiped clean so that you can enter into this ‘heaven’ place, a sort of paradise where you can live in luxury forever. Even writing that out made sounds flat. Doesn’t that seem so two-dimensional and terrifyingly dull in comparison to what Christianity really offers!?

The first thing to do is obliterate that preconception: To be a Christian is to be aware, through a process of repentance and rejoicing, that God is your Father, to enter into a relationship with Him through the blood of his Son and know in the deepest part of your heart that you are his child. It's Christ focused not you focused.

It is to see that Jesus Christ is your loving big brother (Hebrews 2:11) who took the punishment for you, his siblings, so that the Father could be reunited with his beloved ones. ‘The Son of God has come and given us understanding so that we may know him who is true.’ (I John 5:20) This was an act of sacrifice which reveals how much your Father actually does love you: He was willing to turn his face away from his Son, with whom he’d been in perfect relationship with for all eternity, so that he could bring ‘many sons to glory’ (Hebrews 2:10), into the joy of fellowship with Him! And the Son was willing to separate himself from the Father for the sake of us! 

This means that heaven isn’t merely a place where we can go and relax in the hot sun somewhere, it’s not just a tropical paradise where we can fly around and chat to angles, it’s so much more. Heaven is anywhere where God is, heaven is being with God.

Therefore, knowing this and seeing this (knowing and seeing God) means that if He says we should ‘continue in him’ (1 John 2 v 28),live holy and godly lives’ (2 peter 3:11) and ‘love one another deeply from the heart’ (1 Peter1:22) then we’ll flipping well want to! We would want to repent of our wrongdoing with sorrow and rejoice at his mercy! Because it means that one-day, instead of dying, we will be united with the King of Kings, we will fall prostrate in front of our holy creator, our gracious and just ruler and ultimately loving Father and get to say ‘Abba, I tried.’

AAAAH!

In the meantime, we should look to the example of Gods perfect child: Jesus Christ and strive to copy him: ‘Whoever claims to live in Him, must walk as Jesus did.’ (1 John 2:6) He is the best template by which we should model our new lives as children of God. Philippians 2 puts it in an excellent, heart-fluttering way: 

‘Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 

Who being in very nature God, 
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 
but made himself nothing, 
taking the very nature of a servant, 
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death - even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the 
highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee 
should bow,
every tongue confess that Jesus
Christ is Lord,
To the glory of God the father.’

What a passage! It is a privilege to glimpse this insight into the relationship between the Son and the Father, let alone be involved in something so wonderful! 

I think that it's very important to drive home that our sin is deadly serious. Anything, even the tiniest little sin is enough to cut us off from the source of all goodness for eternity, but there's something worse than that. Sin is embedded into us, it's impossible to separate ourselves from it, our bodies tell us that much. They wreak of it: we're constantly falling apart, getting ill...this whole world is sagging under the heavy burden of our original sin: our original choice to turn away from our Father. And he cannot tolerate it, he is holy. To sum up, there's no way that there's anything we can do to save ourselves, no good work, nothing...its completely up to Gods grace!

And that is what has happened through the atoning sacrifice of his son: we’ve been called, beckoned back into a pure, harmonious, gloriously complete relationship with our Father! And if we realise this and choose to answer his call, choose to 'acknowledge his name' (Psalm 91:14) he will 'rescue us' (v14). 

‘How great is the love the Father has lavished upon us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!’ (1 John 3 v 1) It's all about relationship! This is the right conception: parenthood.

So when it comes down to it and you’re sitting in a room with a few friends and they ask you the question: ‘how come you don’t get drunk?’ you can say, with every confidence: ‘because I've seen and I know God. I’m living for something more.’ I’ve got a goal that’s far above a fun night out. I’m playing the long game. You can say to them, ‘if you were living for what I am living for, you wouldn’t even think about it.’

2 comments:

  1. This is great, Gins. There's so much in here, even just the small things, like I'd never thought about Jesus being like a sibling before. You've got a gift!

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  2. PUNCHY. This blog post literally SPEAKS the truth out. It accurately destroys many non-christian inaccurate assumptions about Christianity. :) :) KEEP POSTING !

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