Forgiven Sinners - Ron & Nathele Graham - firstname.lastname@example.org
Sin. That's something we do without thinking because it's a part of our human nature, but we need to move away from it. Sin is what separates us from God, and in order to stand in His presence we need to be fully without sin. "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." Matthew 5:48. Instead of being separated from God we need to be separated from sin. That isn't an easy thing to do. Actually, it's impossible for a human being to be perfect. "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God:" Romans 3:23. The question is, if all have sinned and continue to sin, how can we ever hope to be with God if sin separates us from Him? There is an answer. It is a simple answer, but one most people reject. Keep reading to find the answer.
God gave the Law through Moses and that gives a good idea of how a human needs to behave in order to please God. Can anyone absolutely obey the Law? No. That's impossible. Most of us know the Ten Commandments. Do you feel smug that you don't worship idols or kill? Anything that is placed before God Almighty is a false god or an idol. Do you watch television then say you don't have time to pray or study the Bible? Chances are the television programs you watch are filled with all kinds of sin and you take pleasure in watching it. Those television shows are idols because they come before obedience to God. Are you faithful to your spouse? If so, good for you. Jesus said "But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." Matthew 5:28. So, when you are watching that idol (television) instead of reading your Bible and women come on with scanty clothing, is there any lust in you? As you look at those women, are you guilty of adultery? Adultery is sin and not only is it against your wife, but it comes between you and God. Another of those Ten Commandments is don't kill. Most of us would like to think we don't murder anyone, but what does God say? "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: but I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire." Matthew 5:21-22. Have you ever been cut off in traffic? Probably you used stronger language than raca or fool. Sin is so easy and comes naturally to us, but Scripture tells us to get control of our thoughts. "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;" 2 Corinthians 10:5. Bring every thought to the obedience of Christ, not just tHe thoughts you think as you sit in a pew on Sunday morning.
Anyone who tries to keep in good standing with God by keeping the Law is in for a rude awakening. It can't be done. Living your life by keeping all of the Law is near to impossible, if not fully impossible. It is one thing to try not to commit adultery and observe dietary laws, but there are other requirements of the Law that cannot be observed today. The Law points out sin, but it also provides for various sacrifices to cover sin. Some of those sacrifices could only be done by a priest at the Temple, but the Temple no longer exists. One day soon it will be rebuilt, but until then there is no way to keep the Law. "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou are become a transgressor of the law. James 2:10-11. Today, Christians are the temple of God. "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" 1 Corinthians 3:16. It won't be long until Christians will be taken Home in the Rapture. After that there will be a need for the Temple. It will be rebuilt and the man of sin will defile it by placing the abomination that makes desolate in the holy place. For now, Jesus Christ is the only sacrifice for sanctification we need. "By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." Hebrews 10:10. When you accept the sacrifice of Jesus as the atonement for your sin, you're forgiven. He only had to die on the cross once and all you have to do is accept that sacrifice. If you are sincere in recognizing that you're a sinner in need of salvation, then you need to understand that salvation only comes through the blood of Jesus, not by the works of the Law or any effort on your part. When you accept Christ as your Savior, you're a forgiven sinner. At that point the Holy Spirit indwells you and wants to lead you closer to Jesus. Listen to His urgings and move away from sin.
If a person has accepted Christ's sacrifice, how can he continue in sin? Questions arise such as “If I’m truly born again, why do I continue to sin?” or “I see people who claim to be saved, yet their sins are obvious, how can they be saved?” All sin is an abomination to God. All sin is an abomination including little white lies or swiping a paperclip from work. When we’re committed to Christ sin should also be an abomination to us. A true Christian desires to please God and we don’t want anything to do with sin or living a life that is diametrically opposed to God. Even though we're committed to Christ we still live in these corrupt bodies which are laden with sin. Therefore we remain sinners, but we are saved by the grace of God through faith in His sacrifice. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works lest any man should boast." Ephesians 2:8-9. Christians are forgiven sinners. You cannot knock on enough doors or feed enough hungry people to earn salvation. Salvation is only through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. You need to repent of your sin, but understand that you can do nothing on your own to bridge the separation between you and God. "And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." Acts 16:31. Only God's blood - the blood of Christ - can save you.
The Holy Spirit will draw you closer to God. When you sin you will feel conviction and that's when you go directly to God and ask for His forgiveness. You don't need to go to a priest or any other human, but go directly to God and confess to Him. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9. It is His righteousness, not our own, that allows us to come before God. If we believe the word of God then we can be assured that all our past, present, and future sins are no longer seen by God because He now sees us through the blood of Christ. "Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him." Romans 5:9. Although all of our sin is forgiven, we still need to recognize when we sin and ask Him to forgive us and then try not to keep sinning. Jesus told the woman taken in adultery "... Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more." John 8:11b. Under the Law she should have been stoned to death, but God's mercy forgave her. Then it was up to her to turn from sin. We, too, need to turn from sin.
No sin can be hidden from God. You may try to hide a sin from your spouse or your parents, but you cannot hide if from God. "Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD." Jeremiah 23:24. God is everywhere and He knows the sin you try to hide. He knows if you secretly look at pornography or if you are secretly cheating on your spouse. If you are a non-believer you need to come to know Jesus and ask for forgiveness. If you don't then you have condemned yourself. If you claim to be a Christian and practice sin you think is secret, then you need to ask God to forgive you and turn away from that sin. He will help you move away from sin and into a right relationship with Him. A Christian is a forgiven sinner, but that doesn't mean we can keep on sinning. When we do, we take God into that sin with us because the Holy Spirit indwells us. "And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption." Ephesians 4:30.
God gave us the only solution to our sin problem. He chose to enter His creation and shed His blood to take our sin away. "For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." John 3:17. He loves you. He doesn't want you to condemn yourself to eternal death because you reject Him. If you have placed your faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ, then you are a forgiven sinner. If you haven't, then you are a sinner who is separated from God. "He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." John 3:18.
"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Romans 8:1. The only way to be a forgiven sinner is to ask Jesus to forgive you. Accept His death, burial, and resurrection as the atonement for your sin...that is the only way to not be forever separated from God.
God bless you all,
Ron & Nathele Graham
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This commentary was started by Ron Graham before his death on March 14, 2013, and finished by his wife, Nathele Graham
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