"Does it really matter? I mean, God loves me and He forgives me. So it doesn't really matter."
So went the conversation with a young man and woman. They professed faith in Christ and were fairly active in church attendance. They did not understand why it was a big deal that they were sexually active outside of marriage. After all, God is a loving God. He forgives us when we do wrong. Why make a big deal out of sin?
"Pastor, you spend too much time focusing on repentance and people confessing their sin. When people come to the altar, we should just be speaking blessing into their life and declaring over them the good things God has for them and not focus on sin and repentance." Such was the conversation of a couple with their pastor.
Has the Church made too big a deal out of sin and repentance?
Since God is love and a God of mercy and grace, why not make that the emphasis and not focus on sin and calling people to repentance.
That was the issue surrounding the rhetorical question of the apostle Paul when he wrote to the Church in Rome. "What shall we say then, shall we continue in sin that grace may abound"? (Rom. 6:1).
Since God is a God of grace, it does not matter if we continue doing wrong. He will forgive. In fact, He has already forgiven, right? That is why Jesus died on the cross.
The apostle does not agree. His answer to this question is, "God forbid!" New American Standard translation says, "May it never be."
The suffering of Jesus Christ is not to excuse continued bad behavior, "After all, God has and will forgive us." The unimaginable sufferings of Christ make it possible for even the worst kind of sinner to live a transformed life, free from sin. The apostle Paul wrote: "Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father; we too may live a new life" (Rom. 6:3-4, NIV).
The torturous whipping of Jesus' back, the excruciating crown of thrones, and the grotesque nails in His hands and feet paid the priceless ransom for the sin of every human being. The reception of that ransom paid is not universally applied because God made it so. The redeeming power of the whip, the thorns, and the nails is only made effective when an individual makes the choice to believe and to receive the regenerating power of the blood of Jesus Christ and the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit.
When the apostle Peter preached the powerful sermon on the day of Pentecost, the crowd was moved by his message and declared, "What must we do?" Peter's answer was clear and straight forward. "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins ..." (Acts 2:38, KJV).
Heavenly Father has provided only one way to enter into the finished work of Jesus Christ and that is through repentance of sin. Each individual must personally confess their sin, turn from their sin, and ask Heavenly Father to forgive them and wash away their sin by the blood of Jesus Christ. Then walk the "new life" not continue living the same sinful life style. Jesus said, "Go and sin no more."
No matter how repugnant that maybe to a post-modern generation, it is the only way to receive grace and mercy. Away with easy believe-ism! Jesus Christ paid an awful price for lost humanity. Shall we make light of it by excusing our love for sin by continuing in the very behavior for which He died; then arrogantly proclaim, "God loves me. He has forgiven me."
I will say as the apostle proclaimed, "May it never be!!"
Dr. F. Dean Hackett has served in full-time Christian ministry since October 1971. He has ministered throughout the United States, Canada and Europe, serving as pastor, conference speaker and mentor. He has planted four churches, assisted in planting 15 others, and currently serves as lead pastor of Living Faith Church in Hermiston, Oregon. Dr. Hackett founded Spirit Life Ministries International in 2001 to facilitate ministries in Croatia and Bosnia Herzegovina and to open a training center for workers in those nations. You can find him at F. Dean Hackett - Foundational, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
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