November 20, 2016

God’s Word reveals the whole truth . . .

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. (Ephesians 1:7–10)

I’ve never met a genuine Christian who admitted to thinking that they could sin because, “God will forgive me anyway.” Perhaps some make that excuse. I’ve considered it too, but once the idea of being “forgiven anyway” comes into my head, I realize this is not an excuse but truth. All my sin IS forgiven, past, present, and future, even if I call it an excuse or presumption.  

Such overwhelming reality leaves no room for a reason to sin. An inner voice might plead that “I can’t help it” (which mocks the power of the Holy Spirit) or that “There is no way out” (which mocks the promises of God), but when those irrational reasons enter my thoughts, thoughts of what Jesus did come in with them. In Him I have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sin. I know that this is grace and I know it because He made known this “mystery of His will” to me. It is a plan far grander than any temptations that pester me to sin ‘anyway’ because I’m forgiven. The forgiven part is actually a reason to not sin anyway!

Perhaps there are some with a petty view of God that allows them to live in sin with the assumption of forgiveness. If there are, they have actually not been convicted of sin and unbelief by the Holy Spirit, nor have they learned the devices of the devil, our enemy. Their faith may be intellectual rather than genuine, shallow because the seed of the Gospel fell on hard ground rather than good soil where it could take root, grow, and produce fruit.

That said, I realize the folly of trying to figure out what goes on in the lives of others or how the Word of God is speaking to them. I do know that the Bible is vital to my spiritual growth and the Holy Spirit is much better than anyone else when it comes to interpreting and applying it. I cannot know how others are excusing their sin, nor can I know how God gets through to their hearts.

I also realize that Chambers and others who write devotional materials are hearing what God says to them, but that is not necessarily His rhema Word to their readers. Sometimes those thoughts coincide because truth is truth, but most of the time I need to pay close attention to what the Bible says to me. He may use a  devotional writer to speak specifically to my needs, but still, I want to be like the believers in Berea; “more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” (Acts 17:11,  italics mine)

After moving many times and involved in many churches, I’ve observed that some speakers have no agenda but to make known the Word of God. Yet not all of them are concerned to really exam the Scriptures. Instead, a few have ‘hobby horses’ or pet peeves that motivate what they say.

Chambers says, “Beware of the pleasant view of the Fatherhood of God—God is so kind and loving that of course He will forgive us” — and calls that wrong thinking, yet that is a true statement.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

It was the love of God that motivated Him to give His Son. Chambers speaks to those who think that a loving God is all that is necessary. He points to those who omit the necessity of the death of Jesus Christ and says we are not forgiven by love alone, but by the atonement.

However, we cannot remove the love of God from the salvation message. Without it, there would be no Incarnation, no sinless life displayed in the Man who is God, no crucifixion, no resurrection, and no forgiveness. Without God’s love, I’m certain I would not live forever, or today, or even draw another breath!

How can I take that great love for granted? I suppose I could, and that would be sinful. On my list of sins, it may not be the worst one, but then again, all are marked forgiven.

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