Category Archives: Bible Study

A License to Sin? – Part 2

If you read Friday’s post, then you know that we established some truths about how, just because we are saved by grace through our faith in Jesus, this DOES NOT give us a license to continue sinning.  Romans 6:1-2 Quite the contrary, as new creations in Christ we must live more Christ like each day.  But what does this mean?  I posted here http://voiceoftruthblog.com/?p=784 that we are to strive to be Christ like in life, but there was one important aspect that I pointed out in that post and in the one Friday.  In order to become more like Jesus we must submit our lives to Him and make Him the Lord of our lives.  To understand this, I was going to include a discussion of Free Grace Theology vs. Lordship Salvation, but decided against it, because despite how I may feel about one viewpoint or the other, a man-made definition is wholly inadequate to describe the Gift of Salvation given to us from God through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Instead, what we’ll look at are biblical truths concerning our Salvation, which continues with the message of “A License to Sin?”

I have actually heard people tell me that it doesn’t matter if they go to church, doesn’t matter if they tithe, really doesn’t matter how they live, as long as, they try to live decent and believe in Jesus.  Really? If that’s the case, why would the Holy Spirit waste His inspired breath in the authors of the New Testament?  All we would need is a verse saying Christ was crucified and resurrected, all of the rest of the instructions and teachings can just fall away, right?  Is that what this person was telling me?  Is that what you are saying if you continue to live in sin and refuse to make Jesus Christ Lord of your life?  That line of thinking simply cannot be consistent with the way Jesus instructs His followers to live, yet there are those that believe receiving Christ as Savior doesn’t result in any change in lifestyle, doesn’t require letting go of self, or doesn’t really even result in Jesus being Lord of their life.

The Bible teaches us that in order to be saved their must be a heartfelt repentance of past sins. II Corinthians 7:10, Mark 2:17, Luke 13:3, Luke 15:7 In order to understand this, let’s look at two different repentance stories, the first from Saul in I Samuel 13:8-13; when he sinned by disobeying the Lord, he offered up this response when rebuked by Samuel, “then I (Saul) said, ‘The Philistines will now come down on me at Gilgal, and I have not made supplication to the LORD.’ Therefore I felt compelled, and offered a burnt offering.”  Notice Saul’s response to his sin, he “felt compelled” to disobey.  How often in our lives do we try to justify sin, whether because it’s what we wanted to do, it felt good to us, or made sense to us.  On the flipside, we have David’s response to his sins with Bathsheeba after his rebuke from Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” II Samuel 12:13  David’s heartfelt repentance is obvious and is often the topic of his Psalms.  Saul’s on the other hand is just mere words.  The same can be applied to repentance when a person accepts Jesus as their Savior.  An insincere repentance likely leads to no noticeable change in behavior or lifestyle and is therefore just words.  The byproduct of such disingenuous repentance is not only a lack of noticeable fruits, but a false conversion.  The true heartfelt repentance leads to a drastic life change, a change that yields fruits of the Holy Spirit, a change that results in Jesus being Lord of your life.

In keeping with our repentance and license to sin theme, the Disciple John, in his first epistle, describes the evidence of those who have had a true conversion, “This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.” I John 3:10 It is impossible to be saved, to have Jesus be Lord of your life and continue to live in sin.  Now keep in mind, I’m not saying that we won’t sin after asking Christ into our hearts, in fact John speaks to this in I John 1:8-10, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the Truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His word has no place in our lives.”  Each of us will slip up and sin, as it’s in our nature, but as new creations in Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we’ll become much more aware of sin and therefore be more in tune to avoid it.

Not only does Salvation require true repentance to God, along with faith in His Son Jesus, but it results in an inability to continue to live in sin, mandates that we confess our sins when they occur after Salvation, and will manifest itself in our lives resulting in the fruits that I mentioned earlier.  As Jesus taught in Matthew 7:17, “Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.”  We know that the fruits of the Spirit are, “… love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”  But think about each of these; they are truly by-products of a heart filled with Jesus through His saving grace.  Are you displaying those fruits in your life? Have you truly confessed your sins with a repentant heart?

 

Prayer: If you claim Christ as Savior but continue to live in sin, you may need to seriously examine your relationship with Jesus.  Repent of your sins and turn back and make Jesus the Lord of your life.  Acknowledge any unconfessed sins to the Lord and ask that he search your heart Psalm 139:23 and renews your soul Psalm 23:3  Pray that the Lord helps the Fruits become more evident each day.

 

Additional Study: John 16:7-10, II Corinthians 5:17, II Timothy 2:11-13

A License to Sin?

That’s a question that has a much deeper response than just the obvious of “certainly not!”  The former part of the question might be, “Does Salvation allow a license to sin?” which brings to the forefront the debate of once saved always saved.  Is this statement biblical?  Does it always hold true?  What if the murderer of the late-term abortion doctor had accepted Christ as Savior (I don’t know if this is true, just posing the question), would he still go to heaven after committing such an act?  It’s an interesting discussion, one that deserves reverence and a detailed look at scripture, along with an examination of 2 somewhat contrasting doctrines of theology.

The Apostle Paul asked in Romans 6:1, “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?”  This is the same question I asked at the beginning; Paul’s answer to his own question is a resounding, “By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” Romans 6:2 The answer seems clear, but in order to fully understand it, we have to look at both this question and answer in context.  To do that, we need to look back at chapter 5.  Beginning in verse 12, Paul is contrasting the death of man that followed the sin of Adam with the life through Christ that came through His death and resurrection.  He states that the original sin brought judgment, but the gift that came by the grace of Jesus Christ brought justification.  Paul states in Romans 5:20-21, “The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  It’s to this statement of grace increasing with an increase in sin that Paul asked the question above of whether we should continue sinning so that grace might increase and resounded emphatically, “NO”.  We know that none of us are perfect, we weren’t perfect before salvation through Christ’s saving grace and though we were justified and purified by the blood, we didn’t become perfect afterward because we still have our sinful flesh.

If we continue in Romans 6, we learn that Paul is teaching that those who have accepted Jesus as Savior are dead to sin, but alive in Christ.  Romans 6:6-7, “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin- because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.”  As being no longer slaves to sin, we then become slaves to righteousness, “You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.”  Romans 6:18  But just as I alluded to earlier and as I have in previous posts, there is a duality taking place within us, an internal spiritual war that is constantly raging.  Paul speaks to this in Ephesians 6:12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”  The Holy Spirit speaking through the Apostle Paul knows full well of this battle and inspired Paul to provide insight into his own personal battle in Romans 7.  As we pick up in verse 21, “So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.  For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.” Romans 7:21-23 Each of us have to understand just how critical this battle is and how important it is to never stop fighting, to “run with endurance”. Hebrews 12:1  What if we stop?  What if we try to fight the war that rages ourselves and it overtakes us?  That is when we fall back, slowly creeping into sin, or by taking a drastic step backward such as the murderer I alluded to earlier.  Is one sin any greater than another?  If as a Christian I lust in my mind is that any less than an outward sin of murder?  The Bible states, “As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one” Romans 3:10 It doesn’t state that those who do this sin and not that one are righteous, no, everyone, anyone, all, but Jesus, are unrighteous.  To further emphasize this point, lets again look at Romans 5, “Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.” Romans 5:14 Did you catch that?  Death reigned over everyone, even those that did not break the commandments.  “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23 We are all worthy of death.  The murderer, the prideful, the greedy, the idolater, the luster, the drunkard, you and me, all of us.  But thanks be to God, through His saving grace that each of us, regardless of our sins can be saved if we believe in Jesus, call on His name in repentance of our sins, and receive Him as LORD and SAVIOR of our lives.  In closing, one final inspired passage by the Apostle Paul that gives us hope in our battle, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39 Nothing can separate us from Jesus as our Savior, He died once for all. I Peter 3:18

It’s on this point that I’ll pick up the next post on the 2 doctrines of theology I mentioned earlier and how they relate to this discussion, as we go more in depth on “A License to Sin?”

Prayer: If you are not living the life you should be, trapped in the snares of sin, holding on to self, let go.  Give full control to God, repent of your sins and turn back toward Jesus.  We cannot fight the battle alone, we’ll lose.  Just as Paul concluded his own personal battle, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God-through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Romans 7:24 Only Jesus can rescue, He is our Victor.  Pray now and ask that He intercedes in your battle.  Pray that you submit your will to His and offer Him full control.

Additional Study: Romans 7:7-25, Romans 6:1-23, Romans 5:12-20, Ephesians 6:10-20

Saul vs. David: The heart of man vs. the heart of God

 

Recently while reading and teaching a small youth group lesson on Saul’s life, specifically his disobedience and the consequences he faced, God revealed a passage of truth to me in His Word.  As you may recall (and from a few posts I’ve made), Saul was Israel’s first king, anointed by Samuel, chosen by God.  I’ve discussed the warnings that God passed on through Samuel to the Israelites about their demands for a king and how they were not only rejecting Samuel, but ultimately rejecting God as their king.

For this lesson, we’ll pick up the story where Saul was about to engage in battle with the Philistines after Jonathon had defeated a garrison of Philistine troops in Geba.  I Samuel 13:3 As the tensions mounted and the Philistine troops were amassed, the Israelites found themselves cowering in caves and holes, those with Saul at Gilgal were likewise fearful.  I Samuel 13:6-7

Samuel had instructed Saul to wait seven days before taking any actions.  Because of his impatience, Saul decided to do what he thought best and offer a sacrifice to God, despite the fact that it was in direct contradiction with what God had commanded him.  In verse I Samuel 13:12 NKJV we hear Saul’s explanation for his disobedience, “Therefore I felt compelled,  and offered a burnt offering.”  Therefore I felt compelled….  Think about this for a second, we use this same excuse only worded differently when we sin.  Why did you do that?  Because I felt like it, because it felt good to me, because I wanted to, because I felt compelled, therefore I felt compelled.  This is the sinful nature of man’s heart.  To do what it is that we want to do, when we want to do, no matter the consequences.  Just as the Bible says in Judges 21:25b, “everyone did what was right in his own eyes” and Saul was a perfect and fitting example of this point.  This is the world in which we live in today.

But there is hope.  For after Saul came Israel’s great king.  After Saul came a man after God’s own heart. I Samuel 13:14 After Saul came King David.  David was also chosen by God and anointed by Samuel.  But instead of cowering when it came time to assume the throne, David waited on the Lord.  Just like Saul, David sinned, but his reaction was far greater.  With Saul, we learned that he sinned because he felt like it.  With David, we learn what it means to have heartfelt remorse, to pour out ones soul over the pain that we’ve caused our heavenly Father.

God used Nathan to “wake” David up from his sinful slumber.  After Nathan’s rebuke, David’s immediate response was, “I have sinned against the Lord.” II Samuel 12:13 Notice the difference when confronted by their sins. Saul said to Samuel that he felt compelled to do it.  David said to Nathan that he sinned against the Lord.  This is what is meant by being a “man after God’s own heart.”  David recognized his sin and through his heartfelt change, desired to become a better man in the Lord each day.  In fact we can read about his changes and about his remorse throughout the Psalms of David.  Take Psalm 25 for example:

To You, O LORD, I lift up my soul.
2 O my God, I trust in You;
Let me not be ashamed;
Let not my enemies triumph over me.
3 Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed;
Let those be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause.

4 Show me Your ways, O LORD;
Teach me Your paths.
5 Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day.

6 Remember, O LORD, Your tender mercies and Your lovingkindnesses,
For they are from of old.
7 Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions;
According to Your mercy remember me,
For Your goodness’ sake, O LORD.

8 Good and upright is the LORD;
Therefore He teaches sinners in the way.
9 The humble He guides in justice,
And the humble He teaches His way.
10 All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth,
To such as keep His covenant and His testimonies.
11 For Your name’s sake, O LORD,
Pardon my iniquity, for it is great.

12 Who is the man that fears the LORD?
Him shall He teach in the way He chooses.
13 He himself shall dwell in prosperity,
And his descendants shall inherit the earth.
14 The secret of the LORD is with those who fear Him,
And He will show them His covenant.
15 My eyes are ever toward the LORD,
For He shall pluck my feet out of the net.

16 Turn Yourself to me, and have mercy on me,
For I am desolate and afflicted.
17 The troubles of my heart have enlarged;
Bring me out of my distresses!
18 Look on my affliction and my pain,
And forgive all my sins.
19 Consider my enemies, for they are many;
And they hate me with cruel hatred.
20 Keep my soul, and deliver me;
Let me not be ashamed, for I put my trust in You.
21 Let integrity and uprightness preserve me,
For I wait for You.

22 Redeem Israel, O God,
Out of all their troubles!

A far cry from, “Therefore I felt compelled.”  There are far too many people today with the heart of Saul and too few with the heart of David.  Whose heart represents yours?  One who callously shrugs off their sins, with a passing repentance of words?  Or the heart of the Lord, whose heartfelt remorse and repentance leads to a life change and a desire to live more like Christ each day?