The across Of Christ 08

We cannot do anything to make us more worthy of God moving in our lives. We can also do nothing to make us less worthy of His love. He loves us independent of our works, and there is nothing we can do to change that. God loves us unconditionally regardless of whether we serve Him, attend services, or memorize entire passages of the Bible.

Inevitably, you may ask if the message of the cross allows you to live however you desire as you learn about God’s grace. What is the point of living a holy life if your sins are forgiven before they are committed? Some people teach absolute grace, opening the door for people to live as they want, but they are in error.

For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. (1 Corinthians 1:17)

The message of the cross is one of grace. While it is true that our sins are forgiven even before we commit them, sin also opens the door for Satan to work in our lives. Continuing in sin in the light of grace is one means of our making the cross of Christ “of none effect.”

14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? (Romans 6:14 – 16)

Living a life surrendered to God is not so much about whether we sin or not. He has taken care of the sin factor through Christ’s redemptive work, so our sins are forgiven before committing them. The sin issue now is that allowing it in our lives requires us to yield to its author, who is not God. A person living in sin cooperates and yields to the devil and demonic influences, which no Christian should desire to do.

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)

Sin provides inroads for Satan to work in your life; therefore, we must train ourselves to flee from it. Satan’s goal is to “steal,” “kill,” and “destroy.” He never has anything good to offer, and the results will never be good when we yield to sin.

Another issue with sin that we must understand is that it hardens our hearts to God and dulls our spiritual understanding. It does not change God’s attitude towards us but does open the door for Satan to work in our lives. His love will be the same regardless of whether we yield to Him or sin.

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:14)

The result of sin is a heart that is much less sensitive to the things of God. It causes us to withdraw from our relationship with God and blocks our ability to understand His operations in our lives. In the simplest terms, you cannot yield to sin and walk in the power of God.

Grace is probably one of the most abused doctrines of Christianity today. It is counterintuitive to think that God bases His love for us on anything we do. His love for us was on full display at the cross. He loves the worst sinner equal to His love for the person living the most “righteous” lifestyle, but this does not give us the freedom to live as we please.

God designed the marriage relationship between a man and woman to be a picture of His grace. We are meant to love one another unconditionally. How many marriages do you know of existing at this level of love? Far too many are failing today due to the selfish expectations of the husband or the wife.

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it. (Ephesians 5:25)

Christ expressed His love for the Church on the cross. I wonder how many of us men would be willing to die for our wives. In my experience, few people have discovered this level of love in their marriage.

Jesus did not just die for the Christians. His love is not conditional on us accepting Him or living at any level of holiness. He died for the unbeliever and the believer equally.

And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:2)

Jesus did not forgive just Christians. His atoning work provides forgiveness of every sin of every person who will ever live without condition. He took the sins of the entire world and suffered for every sin that will ever be committed throughout human history.

Few Christians will take the time to consider the immense love shown in Christ’s death. For example, Adolph Hitler killed more than six million Jews, and Jesus paid the price for each murder. Jesus paid the penalty for every lie, act of adultery, and murder. You name the sin, and Jesus paid the resulting penalty!

Jesus did not pay the price of our sin only for those who will be saved. Every vile, heinous act committed throughout human history is forgiven due to His redemptive work. I am not sure if we can come close to comprehending the love behind the cross.

Many will never accept Jesus as their Lord even though the penalty for every sin is paid. The only thing separating them from a relationship with God is their refusal to believe in Him and accept His forgiveness. The only remaining sin that can send people to hell is that of rejecting Jesus. The price for every other sin is paid.

The unpardonable sin that leads to eternal separation from God is the rejection of the work Jesus completed on the cross. It is this sin that is worse than any other.

Any person who thinks they are holy without Jesus is wrong. I have heard people argue that it would be unjust for God to send a person to hell who lived a good life. They are missing the point that the Law proved our good works could not “earn” the “right” to heaven.

Many have deceived themselves by believing God owes them something because of their “good” works. The source of this is incorrect teaching in their churches. These are the people who struggle with receiving God’s provision for their lives.

I would much rather have a homeless drunk stumble into service and surrender to God than deal with a person filled with religious traditions. They may be suffering from the same sickness as the “righteous” person but will almost always receive from God while the so-called Christian continues to struggle.

The reason people outside the Church are usually able to receive when Christians are unable is that they are not proud of their works before God. In my experience, people outside of the church do not point to themselves or have an attitude of expecting something because they “deserve,” as churchgoers tend to.

I used to work with the homeless in a street mission. It was easy for the men to receive from God, and most were surprised when told about the gift of salvation available to them. They knew their lives were messed up and did not have to get over themselves to receive from God!

For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. (1 Corinthians 1:17)

Our self-righteousness renders the cross of Christ powerless in our lives. Some Christians have taken this to a new level. Many even seem to have an attitude that God is blessed to have them serving them. Our lack of revelation regarding the cross causes this type of thinking.

Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. (Romans 3:27)

It is not our goodness that causes God to move in our lives. Only when we put faith in Jesus’ completed work and understand that our works add nothing to our relationship with Him will we see His power flow through us.

A person who constantly boasts about their accomplishments and how holy their life is does not understand the cross. It is a religious cliche to them, and they do not have a revelation of His redemptive work.

I believe that the vital revelation lacking in the Church today is how impoverished we are apart from the cross. There is no hope outside of Jesus, and it is no wonder the world is in the state we see today after pushing Him out of every aspect of society.

But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. (Galatians 6:14)

We have all patted ourselves on the back at one point or another for our spiritual accomplishments. It is human nature to think we “deserve” an award for our faithfulness and religious works, but this is not how the Kingdom of God operates. We are nothing without Jesus, and every good thing accomplished through us results from His goodness working through us. The first step into His power is accepting that it is only by His grace we can achieve anything in life.

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