The Worst Lie We Can Tell Ourselves…
The salvation of sinful men and women throughout history has come through one avenue: the grace of God. Even the Jews, who served under the Law of Moses, were saved solely by God’s grace rather than their own works (c.f. Hebrews 9:15). However, some people embrace God’s gift of salvation in a rather smug manner. Their view of grace is that it allows them to continue to engage in their favorite sins; all the while they maintain their hope of heaven. They may say something like, “God knows I’ll never be perfect. I’m a sinner and His grace is there to cover it.” Did you know there was a time when God’s people viewed His grace in that very manner? He sent them the prophet Isaiah to proclaim what He thought of their view of His grace.
The prophet speaks for God when he says:
“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not so short that it cannot save; nor is His ear so dull that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.” (Isaiah 59:1–2)
Isaiah is not prophesying to pagans or atheists in this sobering passage. Rather these are God’s covenant people who can no longer come into the presence of God. Since these Jews had sin in their lives they refused to get rid of, God’s nature would not allow Him to even hear their prayers!
Apparently under that Old Covenant, God could not extend grace to His children who kept sin in their lives. Should we expect that God has “changed” the way He works since the days of Isaiah? Not if we give our attention to Jesus’ inspired apostle John:
“If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but IF we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.”(1 John 1:6-7 emph. added)
That’s a big “if”. God did not patiently endure thousands of years of our sin and unrighteousness in order to bring Jesus the Christ to this world at the perfect time, then watch His only Son cruelly murdered on cross, only for us to continue sinning against Him thinking “Oh, His grace will just cover it…” Jesus didn’t spill His blood so that we could keep on sinning in “good conscience.” As God’s chosen people we must always remember that He wants to save us more than anything, but His very nature will not allow Him to tolerate a sinful lifestyle.
It all comes down to who we decide to serve. If we continue to serve our own desires, we can expect continual separation from the Lord. If we continue to serve God, we can expect continual fellowship with Him for all eternity. This biblical reality makes our decision to turn away from specific sins from our daily lives a no-brainer. The worst lie we can tell ourselves is that God doesn’t care if Christians sin. God simply cannot be in the presence of sin. If we are to be His children…neither can we.