Christianity 201

June 27, 2017

The Waterfall of Grace

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:31 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Today we’re paying a return visit to Living by Faith blog by Steve Fuller. This is their all-time most popular post, from 2013. Click the title to read this on the blog itself, and then check out the right-hand column for other popular posts.

Can I Deliberately Keep Sinning And Still Be Forgiven?

A Waterfall Of Grace

Imagine that it’s 120 degrees outside.  Hot.

But then imagine that you are standing under a waterfall — cool, clear, and refreshing.  Aaaah.

Through trusting Jesus Christ you are standing under a waterfall of grace —

  • All your sins are forgiven — past, present, and future.
  • You are seen by God as clothed in Jesus’ perfect righteousness.
  • God is your Father — loving you, guiding you, providing for you, satisfying you in Himself.
  • God continues to forgive your sins day after day, year after year — forgiven, forgiven, forgiven, forgiven.
  • God will keep you persevering in faith so you will surely enter heaven.
  • God will supply everything you need for the rest of your life.
  • God will ordain everything in your future to bring you the greatest joy in Him.

A waterfall of grace.

But This Raises A Question

Does grace mean someone can deliberately keep sinning and still end up in heaven?

One passage that speaks directly to this question is Hebrews 10:26-31.

Verse 26 is sobering —

For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.

What Does That Mean?

What does it mean to go on sinning deliberately?

“Sinning” means disobeying clear commands of Scripture — which would include unforgiveness, sexual immorality, and love of money.

So — if yesterday you harbored unforgiveness against someone, does that mean you can never be forgiven?  Not at all.

Notice that the author is not just talking about “sinning.”  He’s talking about “going on sinning deliberately.”

The words “going on” and “deliberately” mean that you are continuing in this sin without confessing it, without sorrowing over it, without battling it.

So if yesterday you harbored unforgiveness against someone, but today confessed that to the Lord and by faith fought to overcome it — then you are NOT “going on sinning deliberately.”

But — if yesterday you harbored unforgiveness against someone, and today you are continuing in that unforgiveness without confessing it and without fighting by faith to forgive them — then you ARE “going on sinning deliberately.”

Which means that unless something changes, there no longer remains a sacrifice for your sins.

What Does That Mean?

The author explains in the rest of the passage.  If, after receiving the knowledge of the truth, you go on sinning deliberately, then —

  • V.27 says you would face “a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire.”
  • V.29 says you would face a “worse punishment” than death.
  • V.30 says you would face God’s “vengeance,” and that He would “judge” you.
  • And v.31 says “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

I don’t see any way around it.  If, after receiving the knowledge of the truth, you go on sinning deliberately, then you will not end up in heaven.  You will face God’s judgment forever.

But Be Careful

At this point you could draw a very wrong, and very dangerous, conclusion.

Let’s say you are NOT going on sinning deliberately.  Not that you are perfect, but you are trusting Christ, which includes fighting sin by faith.  You often overcome sin.  And when you do sin, you turn back to Christ, confess your sin, and return to the fight.

So you are NOT going on sinning deliberately.  But you could let this passage make you fear that someday you might start going on sinning deliberately, which would mean facing God’s judgment forever.

But I’ve got good news for you.  If today you are trusting Christ — then YOU WILL NEVER FACE THIS JUDGMENT.

Because if today you are trusting Christ, which includes fighting sin by faith, that shows that God has saved you. And because God has saved you, He will —

  • complete the good work He started in you (Phil 1:6),
  • keep you from stumbling so far that you face eternal judgment (Jude 1:24-25),
  • not let anything (not even you) snatch you from His hand (John 10:28-29).

So no one who is saved by God will experience the judgment described in Heb 10:26-31.

But you might wonder — hadn’t the people described in Heb 10:26-31 been saved?

Hadn’t they “received the knowledge of the truth” (Heb 10:26)?  Yes, but that does not mean they were saved.  Because the parable of the four soils shows that there is a shallow way to receive the word that does not include faith in Christ (Mark 4:1-20).

And hadn’t they been “sanctified” (Heb 20:29)?  Yes, but that also does not mean they were saved.  Because the word “sanctified” can mean something less than salvation (see 1Cor 7:14-16).

So how can anyone know for sure they have been saved?  We are saved by faith alone in Christ alone (Eph 2:8-9).  So, to be assured of salvation, turn from whatever else you have been trusting to satisfy you, and trust Jesus Christ to forgive you, strengthen your weak faith, help you battle sin, and satisfy you in Himself.

If your trust is sincere, then you will want to fight sin by faith, and you can be fully assured that God has saved you.  Which means He will keep you persevering in faith to the end.  Which means you will never face the judgment described in Heb 10:26-31Never.

But What If You Are Not?

What if you are not fighting sin by faith?  What if you are going on sinning deliberately?

Lord willing, I’ll talk about this more in my next blog post.

But for now, understand that if you are going on sinning deliberately, then unless something changes, you will face God’s judgment forever.

But — if you will turn to Jesus now and confess your sin, admit your helplessness, ask His forgiveness, and trust Him to forgive you, strengthen you, help and satisfy you — He will.

And you’ll be under the waterfall of His grace — and kept there — forever.

1 Comment »

  1. You quote Hebrews 10:26, “if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,” and define sinning as, “disobeying clear commands of Scripture.” If this is so, the believer is placed under law once again. A person would have to know all of what you describe as “the clear commands of Scripture” in order not to transgress them.
    Sinning is breaking the law, but “sin is not taken into account when there is no law.” (Rom 5:13 NIV). The law of Moses was completed by the sacrifice of Christ for those who believe. A person might accept that since the believer is free from the law, he or she cannot sin. However, the law of Moses (Old Covenant) was replaced by the law of the Spirit which is the New Covenant (2 Cor 3:6) “[T]hrough Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” ((Rom 8:2 NIV) Sin is not “disobeying the clear commands of Scripture,” but is disobeying the law of the Spirit and the Spirit is the Lord. (2 Cor 3:17, 18; Col 1:27) Paul wrote, “[God] condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature nut according to the Spirit.” (Rom 8:3─4 NIV) Since the law of the Spirit is individually specific, or is applied differently by his leading in each individual, it is really the on-going commands of Christ in or for the individual.
    The Old Covenant law was engraved in stone. The New Covenant law is dynamic and is revealed by the Spirit. Paul wrote that those who are led by the Spirit are sons of God (Rom 8:14 NIV) and that, “if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law (of Moses).” (Gal 5:18 NIV) Sinning is defying the Spirit or rebelling against his leadership.
    “Deliberately sinning” is intentionally defying the Spirit’s leadership whatever that may entail. The law of the Spirit makes up the commands of Christ. Those who reject the Spirit’s leadership by deliberately defying him as you say can expect “a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire,” “worse punishment, vengeance and judgment, and falling into the hands of the living God.
    The church often considers the ministry of Christ to have been completed on the cross and by his mediation as high priest, which is not well understood. His mediation is also effected by his ministry as Holy Spirit in order to made the believer an “offering acceptable to God sanctified by the Holy Spirit.” (Rom 15:16 NIV)
    God’s “grace” is often applied according to individual interpretation. In Ephesians 2 verses 8 and 9 are often quoted but verse 10 brings the meaning into focus. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not of yourselves, it is a gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For you are God’s workmanship,…” The expression of God’s grace is in his “workmanship” or in the creation (acceptable offering) that he is making of the believer through the ministry of the Spirit. This is accomplished “by faith” which is the practice of obedience to the Lord.
    Matthew 7:21─23 reads, “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew (was certain) you. Away from me, you evil-doers.” (NIV)
    Paul told the Philippians to “continue to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” (Phil 2:12 NIV) and Luke recorded the Lord’s words, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.” (Lk 13:24 NIV)
    Those who prevent the ministry of the Spirit who saves (2 Thess 2:13) through disobedience will not find a place in God’s kingdom. “The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom, everything that causes sin and all who do evil.” (Mt 13:41 NIV)
    The sacrifice of Christ completed the Old Covenant and cleansed believers of all existing sin (Heb 9:15) so that they might have access to the New Covenant and be gifted with the Holy Spirit. “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law…so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit,” (Gal 3:13─14 NIV) which is “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Col 1:27) Peter wrote: “His divine power (the Holy Spirit) has given us everything we need for life and godliness…” (2 Pet 1:3 NIV)

    Comment by Russell A. Young — June 28, 2017 @ 10:09 am | Reply


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