Sin has consequences.
Look at the ugliness of the world around you. Watch the nightly news. Consider all the times that your life has intersected with pain. Where does all that come from?
It is simply the consequences of sin. Sometimes it is the direct result of sin. Sometimes it is the ripple effect of a world broken by sin.
The Christian is not immune. We are called to holiness. We are equipped for holiness. Yet, we often choose sin and face the most dangerous of all the consequences of sin.
I just started reading through Romans again. Romans 1:17 shouted to me.
“For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith…”
Righteousness is one of those weighty terms of theology that we think means something that it doesn’t. Righteousness is really pretty simple. It means we are “right” with God. Things are good between us. Our relationship is on good terms.
Our tendency has always been to search for a right standing with God in ourselves…in our good deeds…in our good intentions. The gospel reveals a different kind of righteousness. It makes known a different way, a righteousness that is by faith.
It strikes me how easy it is for Believers to begin to think that which comes by faith is kept by works. We fail in our practical righteousness…we sin…and then we assume the position of guilt and fear because we have not measured up. We have failed again. Ever felt like that?
Don’t forget that our new life in Christ is born out of a realization that we have not measured up. We are not holy. We sin and that sin has separated us from God. We are not right with him. BUT, Jesus makes a way for us to be right with him by paying for that sin that separates. We enter into that way by FAITH.
Ours is a righteousness that is by faith. That doesn’t change once we become Believers. You are not saved by faith and kept by good behavior.
But what happens is that when we sin, we often let a wedge develop between us and God. Sin by nature separates. It hinders relationships. It divides. However, if you have Jesus, it does not have to be so.
The most dangerous consequence of sin is that you allow guilt, shame and fear to send you running away from God.
You know how it works. You sin. Maybe it is that same old sin that repeatedly shows up. Maybe it is that sin that you have prayed about and sworn off a thousand times. You feel terrible. You feel like you have trampled on the grace of God. You feel like you have let God down. You feel like a bad Christian.
So what do you do?
The temptation may be to skip your time in the Word of God. After all, you never obey it anyway.
The temptation may be to stop praying. What are you going to do…ask for forgiveness AGAIN.
The temptation may be to drift away from church. That is where people go who have it all together, right?
In a hundred different ways, the temptation is to let your sin push you away from God. We are not right with him, and so we want to shy away from his presence.
The solution is to do exactly the opposite of our natural inclination. The solution is that we must drive more deeply into God’s presence BY FAITH.
Faith brings right relationship with God, faith restores right relationship with God and faith keeps right relationship with God.
When you fail in your obedience, do not let guilt build up and form a wall that divides. Let godly sorrow become a bridge to return. Let a convicted conscience open your eyes to sin and send you running back to God for grace.
The only righteousness that we can ever have is by faith. Jesus lived the right life and imparts it to us. Our response is to believe and to grow into the very life of Christ. That will never happen if you allow sin to push you away from God. Press in with faith…faith that God will forgive again…faith that the desire of God is to restore you to right relationship with him…faith that he can help you grow into a holy life.
You can find more on God’s grace for our sin here.