As Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
Many Christians feel as if they are still prisoners of the old nature. Why do Christians live defeated lives today? There are two mental stakes that keep us prisoners of sin.
The first misconception is that sin is inevitable for every believer. Many Christians mistakenly think, “As long as I have this old nature in me and I inhabit this old body, then I have to sin. Sin is inevitable. I have no choice over it.” That is wrong, Paul said. If you are in Christ, then you have been set free. Sin has no more power over you, so quit acting as if it does.
The second misconception is that sin is acceptable for the believer. People say God loves us unconditionally, and therefore He really does not care that much when we sin. He loves us just the way we are. This is the idea that God knows we are imperfect and has written us off as having to live defeated lives. That is not true. Sin is never acceptable in the life of a Christian.
Some of you are old enough to remember that preachers used to preach against sin. When people were aware of their sin and realized they could not live up to God’s standard, grace was offered to them. But today, grace is offered up front. Grace is offered to people when they do not even know they need grace. And they do not want it because, after all, God loves unconditionally.
Certainly, God loves those who are saved, and He loved them, the Bible says, from the foundation of the world. But to throw out there for everybody to hear that God loves everyone unconditionally, just the way they are, is to water down the seriousness of sin and the real understanding of grace. To say to people that sin is acceptable is to give people the wrong idea about God. To say to Christians that sin is acceptable is to ensure they will experience God’s discipline. To say to non-Christians that sin is acceptable because God loves them unconditionally is to ensure they will experience God’s condemnation for all eternity.
Make no mistake about it: God hates sin. That is why it is inconceivable that a Christian would continue to persist in sin against God. If you are a Christian and continue to live in rebellion against God, then either you will be so uncomfortable living that way that you will remove yourself from that lifestyle, or God will remove you from that situation and take you home to Him. If you persist in sin, then it confirms you were never saved to begin with. How shall those of us who have died to sin still live in it? It is impossible, Paul said. Salvation is not only a transaction; it is a transformation. Salvation is a transaction by which God declares us not guilty when we trust in Christ’s death on the cross for our sins. As soon as that transaction occurs, in an instant the transformation process begins in which we become more and more like Jesus.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Take Me to Your Master” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.