I didn’t tell you this earlier because I was with you every day…So let me say it again, this truth: It’s better for you that I leave. If I don’t leave, the Friend won’t come. -Jesus, John 16:4, 7
Jesus came to change everything. Sin, righteousness and judgment were not the same after Him.
Before Jesus, all sin was fatal. People lived in fear because their sacrifices had to be good enough to pay for their own sin and there was still the fear that the mistakes of the parents and ancestors would get passed on to the future generations. What we would call ‘superstitious’ now was not superstitious then. It was reality. You could be turned into a pillar of salt. You could be struck with fire falling from the sky. You could make mistakes that cause God to take away your child. You could, lawfully, be stoned to death. You could be banished and ruined.
Righteousness was up to you. Judgment fell on you. Before Jesus.
That’s why ‘it is better for you‘ that Jesus was crucified, resurrected and ascended. It changed everything because all sin was paid for, righteousness was given (not earned) and judgment no longer falls on you or your future generations. Fear, from the point of Jesus and into eternity, is based on superstition and unbelief.
‘Before Jesus, all sin was fatal‘ and now the only fatal sin is not believing in Jesus. When you believe, you have everything that He gave. The only part that you play is in the faith department. The rest ‘is finished.’
My purpose in writing is simply this: that you who believe in God’s Son will know beyond the shadow of a doubt that you have eternal life, the reality and not the illusion. –1 John 5:13
Believing in Jesus does not keep you from sinning. It takes the power out of sin. You cannot be destroyed by it. Sin is something that hurts you and others, but beyond that it does not have the power to take you away from God or eternal life.
If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death. –1 John 5:16-17 ESV
You already know that Christians are capable of selfish and damaging behavior. You and I are living proof of that. The sin is not the problem, it’s the belief of the sinner that is the problem. A person can call themselves a ‘believer’, but what do they believe? If you believe that your sin cancels out your salvation, then you’ve misunderstood the Gospel.
A Christian can have an affair, become addicted to porn, become an alcoholic and many other life damaging things, but if they believe that they are no longer a child of God, then they are blaspheming the Holy Spirit (the fatal sin). The reason this is the ‘fatal sin’ is because the job of the Holy Spirit is to be our continual advocate in the presence of God. The Holy Spirit is the voice of truth in the absence of a physical Jesus. If you assume that your sin silences the Holy Spirit on your behalf, then your faith takes the covering from you. It knocks your feet out from under you. It ‘saws off the branch on which you’re sitting.’
There’s nothing done or said that can’t be forgiven. But if you deliberately persist in your slanders against God’s Spirit, you are repudiating the very One who forgives. If you reject the Son of Man out of some misunderstanding, the Holy Spirit can forgive you, but when you reject the Holy Spirit, you’re sawing off the branch on which you’re sitting, severing by your own perversity all connection with the One who forgives. -Matthew 12:31-32
If you misunderstand the Gospel, sin and wallow in the defeat due to unbelief, then it’s not the same as ‘blaspheming’ and forgiveness is yours.
We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him. -1 John 5:18 ESV
Those who believe that Jesus is the Messiah is born of God. If you believe in the fullness of that truth, then the fatal sin stops there. There is no longer death in your future. This scripture says that Jesus protects you and the evil one does not touch you. Jesus protects you from what? If you’re still capable of sin, then what does Jesus protect you from?
While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost… -John 17:12 ESV
He protects you from being snatched away. The only way you can be taken from Him is through sin and if that sin is taken care of, then there is nothing but unbelief left. Even then, faith is an irrevocable gift from God, so you can’t even take that from yourself. You’re stuck. A slave to the freedom of grace. There is no way out. No one can touch you.
Who would dare even to point a finger? 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 8:33-35
So, Jesus is in the presence of God sticking up for us against an accuser who has a list of your sins. He wouldn’t need to stick up for you if you never sinned. He wouldn’t need to be your sacrifice if you were able to do without Him. The greatest act of love, according to scripture, is laying your life down for your friends. So, nothing can ‘drive a wedge’ between you and that love. ‘There’s no way.’
Tomorrow I’ll start with this verse:
When he comes, he’ll expose the error of the godless world’s view of sin, righteousness, and judgment: He’ll show them that their refusal to believe in me is their basic sin; that righteousness comes from above, where I am with the Father, out of their sight and control; that judgment takes place as the ruler of this godless world is brought to trial and convicted. -John 16:8-11
I talked about ‘sin’ today, I’ll start on the others tomorrow…