Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Saved and sinning less

"You can be completely, totally sin-free! Accept God's second act of grace. You'll lose your sin nature and have all sins forgiven! You'll never want to sin again." 

Wow, if that were only true. Reading historical theology, I've run across holiness movements that believed in a post-conversion second act of grace or "sanctification." Many preachers of the day promised God would free the believer from wanting to sin, restore their unfallen (Adamic) nature, and make him or her completely holy. For the long term. For good. For the rest of life on earth.

Wow! Sadly, I can't say I've experienced that sanctification. My desire to do wrong is mostly tempered by experiencing God's love and marveling at Christ's death on my behalf. I don't want to hurt others because I remember how good God is to me. But I sin and am tempted, though I've been a Christ-follower since I was a child.

One of my friends indignantly turned to me one day after I'd made a rude remark. "You're not perfect, you know!" he exclaimed. 

It's true. "Not a surprise to me or you," I affirmed. "Of course I'm not perfect. Why would I need a Savior if I were perfect?" He's not a Christian, and once in a while he brings up how awful or difficult I can be. Yeah, I know. I'm being transformed into Christ's likeness, but whew - what a long way I have to go! Scripture says we're liars if we say we never sin, but warns against a habitual life of sinning, when we should be a work in progress under the tender hand of God.

One mystery of the Christian faith is that God wipes the slate clean when we confess our sins. Knowing that we'll fall down in the future, he completely forgives and sets us on the right path again and again. We, uniquely among all religions, never have to carry the burden of past failures and excesses. What a generous God!

Today, I'm going to try to be good. Not because I think I'll be completely successful, but because I want to please the One who is SOOO kind and loving to those he has made.

Read more:
*Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses. Proverbs 10:12 NLT

*He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy. Happy is the man who is always reverent, but he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity. Proverbs 28:13-14 NKJV

*Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. Hebrews 12:3 NLT

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