riddles and light

Posted: October 10th, 2009 | Filed under: God, life | Tags: , | 8 Comments »

A reader recently brought up some concerns and my response was getting so long, I decided to post it as a new blog. Here you go:

Reader: “I can sin & get by with it, and that sin is inevitable for the Christian.”

Serena: You can sin and be forgiven of it. Period. Don’t assume that God is not big enough or wise enough to shape the intentions of His children. If they’re taking advantage of a system, He knows what to do.

Those who have an issue with the audacity of grace are those who are trying to get by on their own righteousness. They behave as though God owes them something for not needing His sacrifice.

Sin absolutely is inevitable, even for a Christian. If a person had the ability to not sin, then Jesus would not have had to come. I’ll go even further and say that diligent obedience to the rules is a cleverly disguised rebellion against God. It’s the person taking the control and initiative in their own salvation. If you can do that, you are your own savior.

When you break the rules, you rebel against God. When you follow the rules, you rebel against God. There is no win to be found in your actions. The only way to be free from the tyranny of sin brought on by the rules (regard and disregard) is to trust Jesus to be your ransom.

As for God’s plan for His creation…it has been His plan since before he formed the Earth and made the first human to rescue them from their sins.

Here’s the scripture:

‘God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.’ – Romans 11:32

Reader: Sure, we can still make the wrong choices, but it is still our choice. It seems to me that the conclusion Serena has come to, because of her fall, is that we are all destined to fall,…

Serena: We are destined to fall because He was destined to rescue us.

And this was no afterthought. Even though it has only lately—at the end of the ages—become public knowledge, God always knew he was going to do this for you. -1 Peter 1:19

Reader: ‘I believe part of Christ’s redeeming work was to give us power over sin and we just have a choice to make, day by day, temptation by temptation.’

Serena: Jesus has the power over sin, not us. You may be thinking of Romans 6:14 when you say that, (For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.) but you’re misunderstanding the meaning. It does not mean that you have the ability to not sin, it means that sin does not have the ability to define you. If you try to avoid it, then you still believe it has the power. If you give into it, then you still believe it has the power. You’re set free from sin. Now you don’t have to be afraid anymore. (Even when you sin!)

Reader:Surely you are aware of people who are professing Christians who repeatedly hurt their families by their sinful choices and then say, “God still loves me. I just screwed up (again)”.’

Serena: Are you not satisfied with the way God is handling His business? Do you think you can do a better job? Are those people dead, and so we can decide their fate? Even if they were dead, it would be too late to have a discussion about it. Dead or alive, the sins of others are no concern of ours. We have no idea what is going on inside the hearts of others, we don’t even fully understand what goes on inside of our own hearts.

‘So don’t get ahead of the Master and jump to conclusions with your judgments before all the evidence is in. When he comes, he will bring out in the open and place in evidence all kinds of things we never even dreamed of—inner motives and purposes and prayers.’ -1 Corinthians 4:5

Why focus on the shortcomings of countless people? Is this a competition?

‘I would rather not see you inflating or deflating reputations based on mere hearsay. For who do you know that really knows you, knows your heart? And even if they did, is there anything they would discover in you that you could take credit for? Isn’t everything you have and everything you are sheer gifts from God? So what’s the point of all this comparing and competing? You already have all you need.’ -1 Corinthians 4:7-8

Is there a point when we have failed so miserably and so often that we can no longer say that God loves us?

The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture. -Romans 8:38

Not even the worst sins listed in scripture.

Reader: ‘…of course there is grace for the sinner who repents and really has a change of heart about their sin and turns away from their sin. But God still calls us to holiness, and that should be our goal.’

Serena: The conditions that you have put on grace are your own, not Biblical. There are no conditions on grace. There is no contract. If there were, we would never qualify.

God calls us holy, He calls us to a holy life. It’s a gift to be lived, not a requirement to be earned. God does not raise us up to be independent of Him. Satan does that.

Our goal is not holiness. Our goal is Jesus who makes us holy.

Reader: ‘ “For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins” Hebrews 10:26 ‘

Serena: You’re misunderstanding the scripture. You have to read it in context. The entire first part of Hebrews 10 is talking about the ‘old way/life’ which is following the Law to keep us in right relationship with God. The issue was that they couldn’t keep themselves pure no matter how many sacrifices they made. It was a dead end of failure and guilt. The ‘new way/life’ is through Jesus who became the sacrifice of all sacrifices. His death satisfied the Law. If you hear and believe that Jesus is the way to salvation, but then turn around an go back to the ‘old way/life’ (following the Law to achieve salvation) then Jesus is no longer your sacrifice. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t serve two masters. Either He is enough or not. The ‘sin’ it refers to is the sin of choosing yourself and your ability rather than choosing Jesus and His sacrifice. If you live by the Law, then you answer for yourself. That’s the craziest decision ever because the entire Old Testament is full of people much more religious than us who couldn’t do it.

I hope that shed a little light…


8 Comments on “riddles and light”

  1. 1 Cassie said at 11:56 am on October 10th, 2009:

    Wow. Such a great and honest way to answer those questions. Love it. Thank you for helping to shed some light.

  2. 2 Ashley said at 12:11 pm on October 10th, 2009:

    Great job with your answers. Not judgmental, but pointed explanations with grounded Biblical backing. We can get so wrapped up in becoming holy ourselves that we forget that by doing so we negate the need for Christ. We take scripture out of context and forget to apply a lens of early Christians or Jews who would have been reading it. Law was what life was all about. Law is what was abolished. Christ blood was shed to abolish it and to give us new life and freedom.

    I do not hear you saying "sin some more" at all. What I hear is, "when you do sin (because – come on, you will), Christ has already paid for it. Don't underestimate Grace." I also do not hear, "take advantage of Grace." Instead, "Know that you are holy as Christ is holy." That does something to a person. — Freedom and holiness through Christ.

    I love this kind of discussion. I love when people think, even and maybe even especially, when they come to different conclusions. Thank you Serena, for always providing plenty to discuss.

  3. 3 Michelle said at 12:45 pm on October 10th, 2009:

    Very interesting answers

    I spent a good part of my life in a "holiness"

    church where there were a ton of rules(holiness standards),which had to be followed and in order to receive salvation and those of us who didn't follow these standards, would be condemned.

    I am so thankful for God's grace and for his ability to get me out of the "holiness" movement. it is not something I would have done on my own

  4. 4 Michelle said at 12:47 pm on October 10th, 2009:

    The website address I left in my previous post was the wrong one. My goodness. I dont even own that site. It was one that I had years ago and some hacked into

  5. 5 April said at 2:37 pm on October 10th, 2009:

    Yes, this helps me a lot, too. Grace has NO conditions. That's worth repeating. NO conditions. God's mercies are new everyday. Did the sun rise this morning? Then his mercy is there for us. He's not going to say, Ahem… you. You need to go to the back of the line… you've had your limit, reached your max. No.

  6. 6 Sisterlisa said at 3:46 pm on October 10th, 2009:

    Good response to the previous post and comments Serena. What do Christians want Jesus to say to the born-again who sin 'one more time'? He knows we continue to sin and His grace covers us as we grow, growing in grace. He does not hold the ax over our heads in the event that we'll sin. I think some believers tend to think we should have that over us to scare us out of sin. But that makes the fear factor our motivation to attempt holiness on our own. Thus bringing us back under the Law and not allowing grace to be what Christ wants it to be. It's because he is merciful that we don't get axed and it's his grace that is given to us as we seek to get to know him each day.

    If he were to say, "You have my grace as long as you live holy" Then it's all about US making ourselves holy, earning grace. Which we can't do.

  7. 7 Lisa@blessedwithgrac said at 9:49 am on October 11th, 2009:

    Great post with scripture to back up your thoughts.

  8. 8 Wendy Hagen said at 10:46 am on October 14th, 2009:

    "You can sin and be forgiven of it. Period. Don’t assume that God is not big enough or wise enough to shape the intentions of His children. If they’re taking advantage of a system, He knows what to do." AND when we sin, go our own way, don't trust Him… we miss the blessing. There is so much blessing in obedience.

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