Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Loop Holes for Loved Ones

Some friends and I have been debating the extent of grace. The origin of the discussion is of course "How much sin is a Christian allowed to escape hell?" If you're Calvinist this argument doesn't fit my view of scripture. I'll take my chances... you take yours!

First off, Christianity is all about the grace of God. We deserve death, but God gave his own son in our place. As such, grace means that we can never obtain salvation on our own. Therefore, there is no heavenly balance sheet on our deserving heaven or hell. That's what makes Christianity unique. Salvation cannot be earned!

On the other hand a measure of our faith in God and love for him is obedience. The "old person" is one who sins without guilt and makes little effort for righteousness. The "new person", the one born-again by accepting the gift of God (his Son's death),  has a changed heart. The Christian's focus is on pleasing God and denying the pleasures before granted to oneself.  The effort to obey God is not a saving set of works, but a display of love to God who says "If you love me keep my commandments."

Becoming a born-again Christian means that you accept God's sacrifice. Any person, however deep in sin, can be saved. The one who is saved from the most of course should display the most love for God. We are all born with a sinful nature. Sin is basically loving oneself to the extent that God's will (and commands) are rejected. Of course there are different pleasures which various people prefer. For some it is usury, for others fornication, for others power and wealth and for others sins such as homosexuality.

Even one sin is enough to condemn oneself to hell. For one who has not been forgiven, breaking one of God's Law's has the same outcome as breaking all God's Laws: eternal damnation.  Although the penalty for sins are the same, the sins are not of equal magnitude. For instance blasphemy of the Holy Ghost is paramount to let's say, lust.  We know there are magnitudes of sin because the Jewish leaders' sins were greater than Pontious Pilate's, as an example. Some sins are more grievous to God than others. We don't know why, but we do know of some that are because he destroyed cities and even the world because of lustful sins.

Some sins are an "abomination" to the Lord. That means that they are "disgusting" to him, some more than others. Perhaps because God made men and women to multiply, that is the purpose of mankind. We are to create others to have fellowship with God. He ordained marriage between men and women and even the facilities of same sex intercourse just "don't fit" if you know what I mean. They don't fit because God didn't mean for them to be that way.

Many of us have loved ones who engage in particular sins. Drug use has been in my family for years. I dispise drug use and even go to seminars and speak on behalf of drug prevention. Because I profess my disdain for drug consumption, that doesn't fit my loved one's mind set. As such he shuns me. It hurts that a person who I love shuns me, but I would hate it worse if I condoned his sin and influenced him toward hell. As a Christian I have a responsibility to reprove and correct him. God will hold me accountable!

Because I love my family member and he desires to continue with his lifestyle human nature is to look for loop-holes for my loved ones. However, God didn't convey his commands with a set of loop-holes. We will all be held accountable!

As bad as drug usage is, my own sins are greater than his! I am divorced. That is a great sin. Before that I fornicated. That too is a great sin! By grace God forgave them both. Why? Because I had remorse and endeavor with great enthusiasm to keep my marriage intact and to have fidelity to my wife. Satan  tries hard to get me to deviate, but I use the word of God to fend off his piercing darts. It's not easy, the desire is sometimes there, but I want to please God! That is "the new person" that I am! I still do wrong, but ask forgiveness when I do.

Since God has grace he forgives and forgives. However, I have never rationalized my sins. Not only have I confessed them to God, but in my own mind I admit that they are wrong.

Compare that to some who rationalize their own sins as acceptable and continue in that sin unhampered by the Holy Ghost. Not only do some rationalize their own sin, but to comfort themselves, they want others to accept their life of sin. I'm divorced. That's wrong, but forgiven. I admit that I sin and expect others to recognize that indeed I am a sinner just as they are! My sin is grievous, not only to God, but to me and others. I do not try to rationalize my divorce as acceptable in God's eyes.

Can you see the difference now between having a lifestyle of sin compared to failing to live up to God's expectations? It's one of holding accountability to the extent that bad behaviors and thoughts are avoided to please God! It's not hunting for loop-holes. Not only are there no loop-holes for my loved ones, there are no loop-holes for me either!

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