Just recently, I watched a portion of a panel discussion centered on a topic that grabbed my interest. The question posed was the title of this post.
My first reaction was… “what a strange question. Why are we even asking such a question?”
Then I realized the obvious. We are asking this question because it is a problem. More and more Christians are adopting a casual approach to sin and sinning. What is worse, is that the world is watching… and they are becoming less and less impressed with our “powerless” gospel. It is little wonder that people are choosing to turn away from churches and pursue other interests. If God can’t really rescue us from ourselves, what’s the point?
So what is the problem? Why don’t Christians care that they sin?
First, we have lost our sense of the holiness of God. We treat sin casually because we treat God casually. We have made God into the fountain of forgiveness… and little else. We like the fact that God loves us (which He surely does) but we have turned His love into something we take for granted. Sure, we want to do what is right (at least, we say that we do), but in the end – it is a whole lot easier to do whatever we want, and seek God’s gracious forgiveness when we fail to live up to our intentions.
We so easily tend to neglect (or forget) a very simple directive, straight from the Heart of God: “You must be holy because I am holy.” (1 Pet. 1:16; Lev. 11:44-45) We also tend to forget that, now that we belong to God, we are committed to representing Him (and His Character) in all we do and say. “But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy.” (1 Pet. 1:15) Life in Him, is never about us – it is always about Him. And we are called (chosen) to display Who He is – and what His provision has made possible in us… daily.
That is most of the problem. Too many Christians think of holiness as an objective – something to obtain after years and years of relationship with God. But God looks at holiness as something He has already provided to us – to walk in every day of our lives. He is not working on fixing us, or trying to help us break our old sin patterns, or seeking (constantly) to make us holy.
He already did all of that through the work of Jesus, on the cross.
God made you (and me) holy and blameless through Jesus. This is one of those truths that just sounds impossible in our ears, but that we are called to believe – and trust in, every moment of our lives. God declares, in the gospel: We ARE holy, because of Jesus’ work on our behalf . Now, we must live that out.
Christians struggle with sin, in large part, because our minds still accept that sin is an available option for us. For the true believer, this is just not so.
Which we will discuss further in tomorrow’s post…
Prayer focus: God, help me to embrace the fact that Jesus’ work made me holy.