Day 43: Our Responsibility to Christ
WITH KNOWLEDGE COMES RESPONSIBILITY
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. -Galatians 6:7
By now you can see that we are. Apart from Christ we are helpless - even if we were somehow able to stop sinning on our own, we would still be under the condemnation of our sin. Even as enemies of God, if we somehow manage to stop sinning, the debt remains outstanding. There is blood on our hands that we cannot wash off. According to God, without the redemptive work of Christ in our lives, if we break even one commandment, we are found guilty of all of it. Without the power of Jesus to free us, sin disguises itself in our lives, slowly burrowing us deeper into darkness. Before we know it, all light is hidden from our hearts. The moment sin takes hold, Jesus' offer of redemption is the only thing capable of ultimately freeing us.
Now that we know Christ, how are we to respond in terms of our daily lives? Do we continue to struggle against sin despite our knowledge of what it cost God to take the penalty for us? Over the past 43 days we’ve laid out many inalienable truths from scripture that are vital to our continued freedom. For example:
And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. -1 Corinthians 6:11
Remember, Christ freed us in the first place, but now we are called to move forward in that freedom daily. Consider what it means for us if we refuse to live in accordance with the gift of Jesus' righteousness:
For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, -Hebrews 10:26
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, -1 Corinthians 6:9
Who then can be free? The disciples asked Jesus the same question:
Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to go into the kingdom of heaven. When the disciples heard this, they were utterly puzzled, saying, Who then can be saved [from eternal death]? But Jesus looked at them and said, With men this is impossible, but all things are possible with God. -Matthew 19:25-26
Jesus wasn't just talking about money in Matthew 19. He was talking about all things in this world that we have a tight grip on. This could be social status, our careers, relationships, possessions, entertainment, or pleasure. If even for a moment, we hold onto any of these things, we walk a different road that does not lead to heaven. The disciples, upon hearing this, asked the right question, "Who then can be saved?" This is the same question we have today. The answer has not changed, we cannot do it apart from Christ. Once we know this, we are held responsible for how we choose to live every moment after.
NOW THAT I HAVE SEEN, I AM RESPONSIBLE
What’s the point of trying to do anything right if we know that Jesus already paid the price? The point is that God knows our hearts. When our hearts try and take advantage of the gospel by continuing [deliberately] in a life of sin, God sees that and responds accordingly. Hebrews 10:26 informs us that we ought to no longer deliberately sin since we know the truth. As we discovered in a previous lesson, there is a difference between deliberate sin and the sinful nature we struggle against.
With all scripture, context plays a large role in our understanding of what God is teaching. Reading through the entire 10th chapter of Hebrew gives us insight on why verse 26 was written. The beginning of the chapter addresses the old system of sacrifices to cleanse us from sins. It describes how no matter how many sacrifices were made, there were never enough to completely remove the sinful nature that dwells within us (Hebrews 10:11). Then we come to verse 17:
Now where there is absolute remission of these sins and lawbreaking, there is no longer any offering made to atone for sin. -Hebrews 10:17
THE NEW WAY
The second half of verse 17 is effectively the same thought expressed in verse 26, “there is no longer any offering made to atone for sin.” This is important to note here because the context here is incredibly powerful. In verse 17, the statement is saying that since Christ came, the old system of sacrifices can no longer pay for our debts. In verse 26 the same thing is being said, but in a different light. Reading verse 26 by itself, we are inclined to believe that if we sin after coming to Christ, we no longer have salvation. FALSE! Not only is this un-biblical (Romans 5:8-9) but it doesn’t even make sense in light of the context. Verse 26 is referring to a deliberate denial of Christ and continuing on in sin. There is no sacrifice for those denying Christ.
So, instead of living our lives as if we're still trying to measure up, striving for perfection, we ought to live our lives in light of the sacrifice that Jesus made. You're continued progress through this course is part of that. By seeking God daily (through any means, not just The Risen), you're making a statement, "I'm no longer going to tolerate sin in my life. I am no longer it's slave because Jesus took my place." This take an enormous amount of pressure off of us as believers. Being free from a life of habitual sin is no longer about trying to be good enough, but is a response to what God has done for us.
Day 43 Application
What responsibility do we have now that we are in Christ (i.e. saved from our sins and eternal death)
What part of Hebrews 10:17 is similar to Hebrews 10:26? Describe your thoughts on this understanding of Hebrews 10. Can you see that there is a difference between deliberate sin (denial of Christ) and stumbling as a believer?
What does God want from you? How do you, personally, give him what he wants? How can you do that today?
Have you been honest and vulnerable with your accountability partner? Since the last lesson, how have you been with maintaining your sexual purity?