In last week’s post, I talked about how each and every one of us sins, so we shouldn’t judge one sin greater than others or label certain people as sinners, because we ALL fall into this category.
But, as promised, that’s not all I have to say about that.
As I said last week, ultimately, the sin that sends us to Hell is rejection of Jesus Christ. When we remove that sin, in other words, when we repent and accept Jesus, all other sins are forgiven. Everything in our pasts are wiped away.
That does not mean, however, that we’re free to live life however we want from then on, that we can just go on exactly as we were before. The point of salvation is to free us from the things in our pasts, from the sins that kept us from God. All the “rules” in the Bible are for our good. Everything that God commands us to do or not to do is for our protection and for the protection of those around us. God’s goal isn’t to stunt our happiness or give us a maze to walk through to get to Him; rather, every command is given to help us and to save us from the natural consequences of our own behaviors. Moreover, if we truly believe God is who He says He is, that Jesus is who He says He is and did what He says He did, then we shouldn’t want to continue on the way we were. If we are truly repentant, then we will want to trust God not only for our salvation, but for our lives, and that means growing closer to Him and becoming more like Him every day.
I’m not saying we won’t still struggle. Of course we will. There may be deeply ingrained beliefs and behaviors that will take years to over come, and we may always struggle with those things, but just because they are constant doesn’t mean we should give in and give up; if we truly believe what we say we believe, we should continue to fight against the things that are displeasing to God.
I bring this up, because the tendency in our culture is to justify sin, to insist upon the irrelevance of holy living. Behaviors that are clearly defined as sin in the Bible are justified because they’re “archaic,” or because “I was born that way” or because “they didn’t understand; that was a cultural issue,” and so on.
But here’s the thing.
You don’t get to choose. You don’t get to decide that Jesus didn’t really mean what He said when He instructed His followers to do or not to do this or that. You don’t get to decide that the New Testament writers are culturally irrelevant and just don’t understand. You don’t get to decide that what God says doesn’t matter any more.
You can’t have it both ways.
Either you believe the Bible and trust in Jesus Christ, or you don’t.
If you do, then the natural, logical outflowing of that faith is necessarily obedience to what the Bible and Jesus say. If you actually believe the Bible, then you will desire to follow what it says. It may be hard, but the goal of your life will always be drawing closer to God and becoming more like Him and obeying His commands more fully.
If, on the other hand, you want to follow a faith that loosely conforms to Jesus’ teachings, except for the ones you don’t like, and generally follows the Biblical teachings, except for the ones that you think are irrelevant, then you don’t actually believe in the Jesus of the Bible. If you want to pick and choose what sins are acceptable and which ones aren’t, which ones are still real and which ones God didn’t really mean, if you don’t want to follow ALL of the Bible, then you are creating a religion based on your whims, not on what God actually said.
So decide. Does your faith conform to the standards of the Bible, or are you choosing which standards of the Bible you want to put in your religion? You can’t have both.