A few days ago while looking at Facebook, I came across some posts that were so funny that I almost fell out of my chair laughing, not that the images were that hilarious, but due to the fact that the message given counters many of the contemporary fallacies bounced across the internet. What was funny to me was that these simple messages could be used as a teaching tool to use humor to argue against many of the misconceptions regarding the words of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Believe it or not I actually have had people tell me that because of the power of Grace, all their sins had been forgiven, past, present, and future; there is nothing wrong with this statement, so far, but the second half is mind blowing. “I can do whatever I want throughout the rest of my life because of God’s Grace, Christ’s labors on the cross I am going to heaven no matter what!” Apparently our theological and doctrinal teaching of the laity throughout the church is falling short of perfection, as this teaching is supposed to mean that regardless of what you might have done in the past, once you accept Christ you are expected to repent of your sins and at least make an effort to lead a sinless life. This teaching is not like the get out of jail free card from the Monopoly® game.
In the eighth chapter of the Book of John we find Christ being tested by a group of Pharisees who brought before him a woman accused of adultery. Often this passage is taken out of context by those that seek to accuse Christians of being judgmental;
“Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either.”
What is so glaringly obvious is the second part of verse eleven which they leave out;
“…Go. From now on sin no more.” John 8:1-11NASB
Then in Matthew 7:21 we find Jesus telling us;
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
In his concise commentary on the entire bible Matthew Henry (1662 – 1714) wrote regarding the above passage;
“Christ here shows that it will not be enough to own him for our Master, only in word and tongue. It is necessary to our happiness that we believe in Christ, that we repent of sin, that we live a holy life, that we love one another. This is his will, even our sanctification. Let us take heed of resting in outward privileges and doings, lest we deceive ourselves, and perish eternally, as multitudes do, with a lie in our right hand. Let every one that names the name of Christ, depart from all sin.”
There is simply no argument which holds that we as Christians do not have to stop living a sinful life.
Again I have had some take the following verse completely out of context;
1John 3:9 Whosoever is begotten of God doeth no sin, because his seed abideth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is begotten of God.
On this Matthew Henry wrote;
“Such a one committeth not sin, does not work iniquity nor practise disobedience, which is contrary to his new nature and the regenerate complexion of his spirit”
This opinion of Henry was shared by most Christians until relatively recently and then only by those that disagree with this principle as they seek rationalization for their failure to lead a life without sin. First John 3:9 doesn’t mean that a Christian cannot sin, but rather as a Christian who has accepted the way of Christ, that person strives to not ever sin again.
I use these quotes of as Matthew Henry who was himself a minister and who wrote several works explaining the Bible, and his views and opinions reflect classic Christian interpretations of what the Bible means. His works have been highly recommended by many theologians and ministers, so this gives a foundation of how classic interpretation disagrees with those that insist that they can do whatever they want, including that which is strictly forbidden in the Bible, in particular the New Testament, and still enter Heaven.
Now for the tough part, we are all sinners, we live in a world in which it is almost impossible to get through the day with committing some sort of sin. I have many friends in the Amish community, a society or lifestyle designed to keep its practitioners free of the temptation of sin; but you know what, even living the “simple life” they still sin.
So what is a person to do? If you can’t get through life without sinning, what’s the use in being ‘born again?’ Simply put, accepting Christ into our lives gives a goal to achieve, the goal of not sinning ever.
Jesus never said that the Christian life would be easy, in fact he warned us about how difficult it would be. Again in Matthew 7;
“13“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
We each need to ask ourselves, are we doing the will of Christ’s Father, and we need to be truthful with ourselves, never seeking self-deception for God knows what is in our hearts and he knows the truth. In short we need to ask ourselves are we walking that hard way—God’s Way—that leads to everlasting life, or are we walking along the easy way—My Way—that leads to destruction.