Board index Sin

All about sin. What is it, how does it work, what does it do—whatever your questions are

A God of grace?

Postby icecold » Sun Apr 12, 2015 4:31 pm

How are we saved if we knowingly sin against God daily and rebel against his commands?
I feel like I can't be under the law of grace if I knowingly sin. Also, why does the Bible say that we should stop the one sin we know we do if it's impossible for us to stop it? It's not like that sin is any greater than the one's we realize that we do every day.
icecold
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2015 4:26 pm

Re: A God of grace?

Postby jimwalton » Mon Apr 13, 2015 5:16 pm

Thanks for writing. 1 John 1.8-10 tackles your question pretty directly, so I'll talk about that.

8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

1 John was written to believers. Sinning is not something that Christians ever totally escape from, and if someone claims that they have, John is pretty explicit in saying they're not telling the truth. Even though our sin nature has been redeemed, it's still in us raising its ugly head (Rom. 7.7-25). Even though the power of sin in us is changed, it's not gone.

But it's not the sin in us that is the condition of whether we are saved or not. We are saved when Jesus changes our nature from the nature of sin to his nature. And even though the Holy Spirit is working in us to change our thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors, it's a rather lengthy process. When a person gets saved, Jesus instantly changes their nature from that of sin to that of Jesus and that person is a new creation—born again. And that's when the process begins of what is called sanctification: the gradual changes of thoughts, attitudes, values, and behavior so that they become conformed to that of Jesus. So that's how we can be saved if we knowingly sin against God (even daily) and rebel against his commands.

That's why the Bible is insistent that salvation isn't by "works". A person is saved if they have the nature of Jesus rather than the nature of sin, not on the basis of our behavior or our "daily sin". I mean, one we have the nature of Jesus, we are from that point under the "law of grace". It's the great thing about grace: it's a gift, and doesn't depend on my earning it. That's actually the whole point: we're all sinners, but a way has been made for us to have a relationship with God anyway.

Now, I should also clarify that this doesn't mean that I'm OK to sin knowingly and willingly. I have a part to play in this, too. You know, if I really do love God, I'm going to do my best to live in a way that reflects that love, and not knowingly do things that are sin and rebellion. If I'm sinning on purpose, just rubbing it in his face like, "Hey, you'll forgive me so who cares?", that's a problem (Rom. 6.1-2). But if I'm trying to show my love, as I do with my wife, but if I flub up, as I do with my wife, then grace forgives my foibles and failures (Rom. 5.8; 1 Pet. 4.8).

You asked why the Bible says that we should stop the one sin we know we do if it's impossible for us to stop it. The Bible says that stopping sin isn't just a matter of will-power, but the power of the Holy Spirit in us, working with us to stop it. We don't have the power within ourselves, but with God's power in us, that's where the possibility exists.

I may not have answered all of your questions, so feel free to dialogue about this stuff, ask for clarification, or ask more.
jimwalton
Site Admin
 
Posts: 5065
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2012 2:28 pm

Re: A God of grace?

Postby icecold » Tue Apr 28, 2015 9:02 pm

I'm still kind of confused about what you mean about having the same "nature" as Jesus. Can you further explain?
icecold
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2015 4:26 pm

Re: A God of grace?

Postby jimwalton » Thu Apr 30, 2015 8:28 am

Glad to. The Bible says sin is more than just the things we do—our actions. It's also our nature. Just as a dog is a dog not just because he barks and fetches, but because he's a dog by nature. That's mostly a "well, duh" kind of statement, but that's the idea. We are sin by nature. That means we are separated from the life of God, naturally oriented to self, without natural inclinations to seek God or obey Him, and that it's perfectly natural for us to screw things up. Francis Spufford says, "Sin refers to our human propensity to f*** things up. It’s not just our tendency to lurch and stumble and screw up by accident, our passive role as agents of entropy. It’s our active inclination to break stuff—moods, promises, relationship we care about, and our own well-being and other people’s, as well as material objects whose high gloss positively seems to invite a big fat scratch." Romans 3.10-18 says it fairly well, you want to look into that. Romans 7.18-23 is another place to read about it.

But when someone comes to Jesus, what happens is that Jesus does a miracle inside of them and changes their nature from that of sin to that of Jesus. It's a complete change, sort of like changing something from a cat to a dog: a change of nature. Not something any creature can do for itself. 2 Cor. 5.17 puts it, "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation." Jesus talks about it in terms of being born all over again (Jn. 3.3). "In Christ" is a phrase that appears about 90 times in the New Testament. Instead of having a sin nature, that person now has the nature of Jesus. We now have fellowship with God rather than being separated (1 Jn. 1.3). Our slavery to sin has been broken, and we actually have a nature that is righteousness (Rom. 3.22; 6.13). Righteousness is given to us, like a heart transplant or something. Our whole nature is changed. Romans 6 is a good chapter to read that explains it.

Once we have the nature of Jesus, we are no longer slaves to sin. There used to be no choice than to follow the paths of sin (our own ways), but now we are free to follow a completely different path. With the new nature, we can actually love God and obey him and slowly be made into his complete image (Rom. 8.29). It's a radical change (miraculous, actually). We don't have the power in ourselves to effect the change (like a cat can't turn himself into a dog). God has to do that for us. It's a gift (grace). We can't earn it, or do anything to deserve it. We just have to respond to the offer of the gift by accepting it, turning away from our sins, and committing ourselves to love God (much like a wedding, y'know): In sickness and health, for better or worse, 'Til death do us part. It's a commitment of choice and of love, responding to an offer of a free gift with the pledge to honor and love with our whole lives.

I hope that helps, but if not, just ask again, or ask more. Glad to talk.
jimwalton
Site Admin
 
Posts: 5065
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2012 2:28 pm


Return to Sin

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests


cron