Safety Nets and Sacrifices

October 7, 2010 at 4:09 pm (More than Mediocre) (, , , , , )

My son, Josiah, has been trying for some time now to share Christ with a classmate at school. 

“Mom, he just doesn’t get it.  He tells me that he can go back and forth between evil and good.  He says he can do whatever he wants because God will forgive him anyway.  I tried to tell him that it doesn’t work that way but he just won’t listen.”

Josiah knows and understands the truth of God’s grace, or unmerited favor, which can be found in the fifth and sixth chapters of Romans.  Indeed, God will forgive those of us who come to Him with a repentant heart regardless of how “bad” our sin may be.  BUT…that does not give us freedom to knowingly sin. 

Many choose to embrace sin because they think there is a “safety net” of forgiveness available to “cover” them.  Not only do those with this mindset not understand how serious of an offense sin actually is to God, but they are choosing to take advantage of His mercy. 

God’s mercy is not an excuse to live in disobedience to His word and do whatever we want.  Sin is a BIG deal.  So big, in fact, that nothing other than a blood sacrifice can bring forgiveness to a sinner.  The Bible tells us that the price for sin is DEATH.  Before Jesus died on the cross to forever take away the sins of the world, God’s people were required to sacrifice an innocent animal, a “substitution” for themselves, to atone for their sins.  His people were responsible for much more than a quick prayer and an apology.  They had to face the truth of what their sin really was. They had to view it from God’s perspective-see it as filthy, awful, and so vile that it cannot even be in the presence of a Holy God.  To be forgiven, they had no choice but to place their hands on that innocent animal and to lean heavily against it, symbolically transferring their sins to it.  They experienced the animal’s undeserved death, watched the blood flow out, and literally felt life exit the animal’s body.  For the wages of sin is death.  No exceptions.  Something had to DIE to pay for their wrong choices. Because the sacrifice determined whether or not the sinner was in right-standing with God, it was not something that was approached casually.   No one justified ungodly choices by saying, “It’s not a big deal.  I’ll just go murder something, cover myself in its blood, and feel its very life fade to nothing.” 

 Sin was avoided at all costs.

Jesus’ death removed the need for the substitutionary animal sacrifices altogether –for He became my substitution and your substitution once and for all.  He was the undeserving lamb that paid the price for our sins. 

With great remorse for what we’ve done, we lean heavily on him to take away our sin.  We don’t approach him with a casual, “Forgive me for this today and tomorrow I’ll be back with something new for you to forgive” attitude.   A true understanding of Christ’s sacrifice removes our “safety net” mentality and replaces it with a deep resolve to pattern our actions and choices after those of Him who loved us enough to take our rightful place of death. 

Today as I was reading in Jude, I ran across an interesting passage that I didn’t even know existed.  In verses 5-7, Jude reminds us that the Lord delivered His people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those of His chosen who refused to adhere to, trust in, and rely on Him.  Jude also points out two other examples of rebellion:  the angels that were once pure, holy, and living in God’s presence who gave in to pride and joined Satan in rebelling against God and the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah whose inhabitants were so full of sin that God wiped them clear off the face of the earth.

God is Holy.  He will not be associated with sin.  If God punished His chosen people, angels, and an entire city for justifying sin, what makes us think He’ll look the other way when it comes to us?  What makes us think He’ll wink and wave as we choose to take advantage of Him? 

Sin separates man from God.  Even those in relationship with Him.  When we choose to sin, or miss the mark or standard that God has set for us, we choose a small degree of separation from Him.  When we make sinning a habit and justify it, it doesn’t take long for that small sliver of separation to become a vast expanse.

 If you find yourself to be far from God perhaps it’s time to view yourself through His eyes.  Are you just using Him as a “get out of hell free” card?  As a safety net?  Or maybe you really do recognize the seriousness of sin but compromise has slowly crept into your life?  Either way, know that your situation WILL NOT change until YOU choose to change it!  It just takes one step at a time…in the right direction.

 Jesus paid for our sin with His LIFE! 

 The very least we can do in return is to LIVE FOR HIM.

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