Saved for Obedience

I don’t want people to think that I encourage sin by focusing on the gospel of Jesus Christ. The reality is that God saves us for obedience to His moral law. Those who love God will want to be obedient to His word.

The problem is that the law of God demands perfection and “there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins” (Ecclesiastes 7:20, NASB). Here, King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, states clearly that no one is perfect–not even those who are regarded as righteous before God. This is why “the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:24, KJV). We never outgrow the need to recite the Lord’s prayer: “And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us.” (Luke 11:4, KJV).

If we desire to be obedient before God then we must be obedient to the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel requires us to confess our sinfulness and ask God’s forgiveness for our sins. Not only are we dependent upon the mercy of God to forgive our sins, but we are required to forgive other people when they sin against us. If God can forgive our sinfulness then we should be willing to forgive others. Who are we to judge? We are all sinners in need of the free gift of salvation.

Only when we have internalized the gospel of Jesus is the spirit of God released into our hearts to transform our characters. The Holy Spirit gives us the power to make the right choices in regards to obedience to God’s law. Those who God forgives are also cleansed from unrighteousness: “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, KJV).

What happens when we commit a deliberate sin? Do we lose our salvation? The only sin that cannot be forgiven is disobedience to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If we turn our backs on the free gift of salvation then we cannot be saved. However, sins against the law are forgiven as long as we maintain a loving faith in Christ. But we must understand that God saves us for obedience; we damage ourselves when we deliberately do things that we know are wrong. While we may not lose our salvation, we may lose out on the blessings God has promised to those who are obedient.

A person who engages in willful acts of sin must also be aware of the doorway that they are opening to the devil. Each act of sin weakens their defenses against the evil one. Those who commit these sins may eventually be lured away from Christ.

But what about those who engage in hateful acts of crime against humanity? Can a person deliberately rape, murder, and torture and still be considered a Christian? The answer to this is obviously a “NO”, because even if these people claim they have “faith” they reveal that their faith is not motivated by love for God. Faith is not a justification for harboring hatred for God and our fellow men. Faith that is not motivated by love is worthless and does not lead to forgiveness.

However, there is a difference between spending too much time watching a crude television show and taking pleasure in causing another person to suffer. It is possible to have faith and commit sins of ignorance and imperfections. Gross sins of blatant immorality, however, will be judged by God and He is not to be mocked: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7, KJV). God knows our heart, “People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7, NIV).

Those who desire to be obedient to God and give their hearts to serving Christ are given the free gift of salvation. The only requirement of salvation is loving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Those who have the assurance of salvation are transformed by the Holy Spirit and grow into keeping the laws of God. Though we never get to the point where we can claim sinless perfection in this lifetime, our motivation will be to become more like Jesus Christ. God saves us for obedience.

Do Christians sin? Yes, sadly we all do things that we shouldn’t do. We all stand guilty before God. But praise the God of heaven who forgives our sins through the blood that was shed by Jesus Christ. If this doesn’t inspire love and confidence in God then I don’t know what will:

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. (1 John 4:10, NIV).

~Stephen Beagles