One thing I have been recently struck by is the passion of God’s hatred for sin. I’ve been reading through different portions of Scripture that are harsh, direct, and stinging in their dealings with sin. Nowhere do you find the current modern culture’s approach to Christianity, speaking only of love, tolerance, and acceptance. There is no scriptural support for the ability to choose your own God. One who accepts sin, pardons all of your mistakes and lack of effort, and rewards you with a heavenly crown while ignoring your continued and purposeful walk in sin.
Redemption there is, yes. There is also mercy, love, and undeserved and entirely comprehensive grace. But another element that is always found along with God’s message of salvation is this: change. Change that starts in the heart and transforms you from the inside out.
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses.
How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay.’ And again, ‘The Lord will judge his people.’ It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
God does not just accept you with your sin. He saves you from your sin.
He’s not here to enable you so that you may continue as you are in this life, and then be ushered through heaven’s gates along with the masses of other half hearted “Christians.” This is not how salvation works. Salvation without freedom from bondage is no salvation at all! God doesn’t want your half-hearted “love.” He doesn’t want a convenience based acceptance of His grace coupled with no desire to follow Him. Neither does He desire a fear-based “love” that struggles to earn His acceptance (which is something we as sinful humans could never do).
What God requires is that we believe in Him. True belief – not just logical assent, but a heart-rooted decision to entrust your life to what you are believing in. This implies action, because belief can never be real unless it is exercised and put to the test. True belief in Christ implies a surrendering of your sin to His sacrifice, your heart to His will, and your life to His leading. Not just with your mind or a half-hearted attempt. Not even as a logic-based decision because sure, getting saved is probably smarter in the long run. No, God wants our hearts.
This is not a halfway decision.
Either we continue living for ourselves, for our desires, and for our own happiness, or we decide to turn all of these things over to Jesus so that we are living for Him in all of the things that we do.
Salvation is a decision for your entire life, day by day, and moment by moment. Salvation is not true unless it can reach into the very depths of your heart and drag out sin, wrongful desires, and selfishness that you didn’t even know were there. To bring it to meet God’s grace, wipe the slate clean, and bring healing and surrender to you right where you are.
There will be sin, and mistakes, and falling – we are not perfected nor do we become spotless saints the moment we give our lives to Christ. It is through these mistakes and issues that Jesus will lead us and form us into His image. But this process must be happening in your life. If we are never following Christ, it is important for us to consider: Have we really given our hearts to Him?
God wants to change us through and through from the very fabric of our beings, into ones whose souls long to follow the Lord, to be like Jesus, to bring glory to Him in all our ways. He wants all of us. Not just the part we’re willing to give up.
And doesn’t it make sense that this, after all, truly is real love? God wants what is best for us. Would sitting in the dirty rags of our sin, still in bondage to evil and our own desires, be what is best for us? No. God knows that our true happiness will be to become His – truly His. He will not be satisfied until this good work He has begun in us is finished. Until we are all His: slave to nothing and no one except God – and this is no slavery, it is glory. This is where we will find what our souls desire. In God Himself.
2 Corinthians 5:17 “ Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”