You will never stop sinning during your lifetime. Yep, that’s right. You and I will never arrive, we will never find that day when we finally get straightened out, a day when we make all the right choices and sin is a past issue. God didn’t create us thinking we would.
For some reason we have been made to think that our sin intimidates God. We are so mistaken. Sin was a barrier that kept mankind from being close to Him, so He conquered it through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. God is not intimidated by sin. We see throughout scripture that Jesus ate with sinners, He spent quality time with sinners, and eventually He rescued sinners from a life of attempted perfection that only He could live. He was perfect for them.
Many times a congregation leaves a church service feeling motivated to do better, think more pure thoughts, to never yell at their children again, or maybe be the perfect spouse. Then they wake up the next day and fail. Sometimes we set these same kinds of unrealistic goals for ourselves, in our own head. Is that our life’s purpose? To keep trying to better ourselves? In the meantime, there are people all around us that God wants us to minister to, reach out to, use our gifts to uplift and encourage, but instead we are focused inwardly at our lack. When we focus on our lack we can become stuck always needing ministered to, always feeling that we aren’t quite good enough to be used yet.
I believe that this is one of the greatest breakdowns in the church today. The church, we who are part of the body of Christ, do not function in our God given gifts because we are so inwardly focused on self. Not in a selfish way, but in an insecure way. We do not understand that God isn’t focused on our sin, and that He desires to use us in our weaknesses. Scripture is very clear that He began the good work in us, and He would finish it. One of the most commonly used phrases I hear in Christian conversations is “God is convicting me of my sin”. Try searching through the New Testament and you will not see once where the Holy Spirit convicts the church of their sin. The Holy Spirit convicts the world of their sin, but not the church. The scriptures say that the Holy Spirit convicts us of our righteousness, that is, our right standing with God. When the Holy Spirit does this, we don’t feel guilt, His conviction reminds us of who we are in Christ, and when we are reminded of who we are, it becomes our desire to behave accordingly. Some might say that this is really the same thing, but I don’t believe so. When we believe the Holy Spirit is convicting us of our sin, our hearts and minds believe that He is focused on our sin. When we believe the Holy Spirit is convicting us of our righteousness, our hearts and minds believe that He is focused on loving us and ushering us into right thinking. Yes, there is a point when an unbeliever becomes aware of their sin, aware that their sin leads to eternity in hell, and that their sin separates them from an eternal loving God. This is the conviction that the Holy Spirit brings to the world. After a sinner confesses they are a sinner and asks for the saving power of Jesus Christ, then salvation comes, and they are no longer a sinner, they are a saint. They are then a new creation. Their identity is now found in the perfect work of Jesus Christ.
A person who understands the heart of the Father, understand this…that God is not intimidated by sin or disgusted by our sin, quite contrary, He destroyed the power of sin so He could be close to us! Yes, God hates sin. He hates sin because of how it hurts us, how it causes problems for us, how it destroys relationships. But God doesn’t see sin when He looks at us, He sees the blood of Jesus that made us white as snow. The bible says that His burden is easy, and His yoke is light. This made no sense to me growing up because somewhere along the way I was made to believe that I needed to feel bad every time I did something wrong, take a moment to feel disgusted at my lack and hope that God would take me in again. This was what I knew repentance to be. Repentance means to change your mind, to change direction, to turn from wrong thinking to right thinking. The more we realize that our identity is in Christ, that we are sons and daughters of the most high King of Kings, our lives will change to look more like royalty. The less we focus on our sin, the less we sin! The more we set our eyes on Jesus, the more we become like Him. The more we stop looking at ourselves, the more we see the people around us that need His love. Is it your goal to improve yourself or to love people? Is it your goal to fix all your areas of weakness or reach out to someone who is weak?
Jesus says to go and preach the gospel. The gospel is good news! I am sorry, but to spend the rest of my life trying to be better and more holy is not good news. The good news is that God accepts you right where you are right now, right where you are a week from now, right where you are at years from now. He accepts you forever. His salvation doesn’t shift. He took our feet from the miry clay, and set them upon the rock! That rock is Jesus, who never changes. His perfect sacrifice is the same forever, and His perfect sacrifice covers you, forever. We no longer are sinners, we are saints! We are royalty! This is our new identity. We did not receive this identity because we deserved it, we received it because it is a gift to us. We didn’t earn it when we first came to know Christ, and we do not earn that identity on a daily basis. It is just who we are, because of Him. We are secure.
I was explaining our identity in Christ to my daughter as she was struggling with condemnation and guilt. I told her to picture a beautiful princess in a white gown who suddenly decides that she belongs rolling around in a pig pen. She said that this made no sense for her to think she belonged there, she was a princess! But you see, every time we decide that we don’t add up, we take our royal identity and roll around in the mud. We don’t remember who we are in Christ Jesus. It was His perfection that gave us that identity and His perfection that we remain in. We aren’t meant to focus on our sin, we are meant to focus on Him. Don’t be a princess in a pigpen. So if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed!
Scriptures from New International Version (Keep on Studying)
Matthew 11:28-30; Philippians 1:6; 2 Corinthians 5:16-21; John 16:7-11; 1 Peter 2:9; Romans 8:1-17; John 8:36
Sarah Jane Roberts