Shun Subsistence Living

I trust you are increasingly experiencing the Lightness of living forgiven (lightness both in terms of freedom from darkness [John 12:46] and release from burdens of religion [Matthew 11:30]). If you are, I need to warn you that it won’t be long before some highly regarded religious folk will come around trying to put you back in bondage and under condemnation!

Allow me to re-cap a few of the issues I have shared with you in the past two weeks: Jesus has, by His death and resurrection, dealt not only with the problem of sins (the acts) but sin itself (our sinfulness); His sacrifice has taken away sin; His sacrifice has “once for all” resulted in our being made clean; when we acknowledge a sin, He immediately restores us to fellowship and continually cleanses us from all unrighteousness (I John 1:9). But when you start to live this out, people who claim to believe these things (but don’t live them) will confront you, accusing you of being “soft on sin!” They may yell at you in their (sincere but misguided) effort to convince you that you are not taking seriously how pervasive your sinfulness is, nor how frequently you engage in sinful behavior! But their fury betrays them: While claiming to be “Biblical” they don’t really believe the death of Jesus solved the sin problem.

I remember a personal encounter with such folk many years ago. A brother had committed an act of sin (I almost wrote “an egregious sin,” but to view sins in gradation perpetuates a religious approach to sin and sinfulness). Anyway, the brother confessed (acknowledged) his sin to God, and then had the sheer audacity to expect that these other folk would treat him as forgiven! These folk were religious (but would deny it vehemently); they found his approach unacceptable! What? No weeping? No long remorseful speech? No hang-dog look?He’s got a light view of sin!  Their statement (directed at me) begged the question: How could he get such a warped and unbiblical view about the seriousness of sin? I told them, somewhat hesitantly, He learned it from me! As the dialog continued, Jesus (true to His promise) gave me the answer: No! I don’t have a light view of sin! I have a high view of the blood of Jesus! You see, “we don’t believe what we say we believe, we believe what we do.” If we really believe Jesus solved the sin problem, we will live forgiven—focused not on our sin but gazing upon Jesus (II Corinthians 3:18). If we don’t properly value His blood we’ll remain in (or allow ourselves to be subjected again to) bondage and darkness, fixated on our sins and sinfulness, trying harder, still feeling guilty and burdened most of the time (“Out! Out, damn spots!”). I warn you about this, and about religious folk of this kind, because I’m not sure the brother ever really recovered from his exposure to them—I’m not sure he ever again enjoyed living as fully forgiven (a dearly beloved, blood bought, child of the King). I know my words to you are not easy to hear, but they are true: If you still beat up on yourself over your confessed sins (the acts) or your supposed continued sinfulness (or allow others to beat on you concerning such things), you are not “serious about sin;” you have a low view of the blood of Jesus! Jesus has forgiven you even of this, and wants you to forgive yourself, accept His healing, and walk into the light.

Read again God’s words in Hebrews, chapter 10 (please, open your Bible and allow the Spirit to speak to you)—those who pursue religion (even the God-given religion of the Mosaic Law) are constantly reminded of their sins and sinfulness (vs. 1, 3, 4 & 11). They measure themselves by whether their conduct is good or evil (and imagine God as never satisfied with them—hence, they try harder but still feel dirty, so they do more [again and again]). But such a beggarly subsistence is strongly contrasted with God’s provision of life through Jesus—His full and complete (once for all) sacrifice (which took away wrath and brought blessing [propitiation, John 2:2]) actually allows us to have no more consciousness of sins (Hebrews 10:2, 12-18, our focus is moved away from ourselves and on to Him); He purified us and enables us (Therefore at v. 19) to enter boldly into God’s presence and to draw near to Him in constant communion because we are clean (vs. 19-22 ). This is living forgiven, life in the New Covenant established in His blood—old things have vanished, the new has come. God says this is true of everyone in Christ (II Cor. 5:17 [If you are in Christ, you ARE a new creation . . ..]). Yet, tragically, many (dare I say most) who are His don’t live this way. They are forgiven, but they subsist as if they are not yet really clean, not yet new. How this grieves Jesus—that so many who are His do not enjoy the full and complete forgiveness He provides.

May you experience the joys of living in The Light.

John