Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
I heard an evangelist seeking to tell the people Good News, and toward the end of his talk he said: "The next time you sin--and you WILL sin again, for we are not there yet--remember, God loves you and forgives you." This set me to thinking and pondering. What does "there" mean? Some time when those who believe the Good News will stop sinning? Yes. But when is "there"?
It seems that God's intention is that "there" is when Christ died for us. He "condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us." "There" seems to be already now: "Sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid!" (Rom. 8:3, 4; 6:14, 15).
If we are "under fear," yes, we can pretty well plan to keep on sinning, because "fear has torment" and is powerless to save FROM sin (1 John 4:18). But to be "under grace" is to be under a new motivation of appreciation for what it cost the Son of God to save us. Such "grace" makes it impossible for us to go on living IN sin. Such "grace" revealed in the love (agape) of Christ "constrains us" to total obedience to the law of God. When we are "under grace," the Ten Commandments become ten promises of victory over sin. "The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us" something that we can learn NOW (not sometime "there" in the future): "to say 'No!' to ungodliness and worldly passions" (Titus 2:11, NIV).
Paul seems to have been concerned about this issue of when "there" is to be. He seems to think that "there" is now: "Make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof" (Rom. 13:14). To say, "We WILL sin again!" even though the dear Lord forgives us, seems to be making a "provision."
But suppose you DO "sin again"? "Confess" and the Lord is "faithful and just to forgive," yes; but in the same breath John says, "I write unto you, that ye sin not" (1 John 1:9; 2:1).
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: August 2, 2001.
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