Sin and Forgiveness; April 11, 2019

1 Corinthians 6:11 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.

This chapter is one that a lot of people wish weren’t in the Bible, and some try to deny its validity. However, they overlook this verse. Sexual sin has been an issue for as long as mankind has been around. Some people would like to be like dogs, happily humping anything around. However, we weren’t created to be dogs, as delightful as they can be. We were created for covenant relationships, not merely instinctual ones. That said, this verse is of vital importance. God never excuses sin (though in some places the Bible speaks of His overlooking it) but He does forgive it. We have trouble grasping that distinction at times, but it is vital. Verses nine and ten list whole categories of people who will not inherit the kingdom of God. However, this verse makes it very clear that it doesn’t matter what or who you were, it matters who you are in Christ. If you insist that your sinful behavior is OK, you are excluding yourself from God’s forgiveness. It is only when we acknowledge that we need salvation that we can receive it. However, that recognition, and committing to Jesus as Lord by faith, can and does “make the vilest clean,” as an old hymn expresses it. As is often discussed these days, God provides equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome. His offer of cleansing and salvation is open to every human being, but it requires our repentance and faith to accept and receive it.

This is at the very heart of the Gospel, of which I am a minister. I am to proclaim the love and grace of God, but not out of the context of His absolute holiness. It is precisely because He is holy that His grace is so necessary! I have had trouble communicating the necessity of salvation to the Japanese, but Americans seem to be forgetting it at a great rate these days as well. The only unforgivable sin is insisting you don’t need forgiveness. 1 Timothy 4:2 speaks of people with their consciences “seared as with a hot iron.” Some people seem to want to discard their conscience, because it gets in the way of their enjoying their sin. How sad! I cannot convict people of their sin in my own strength and wisdom, but that’s the job of the Holy Spirit anyway. (John 16:8-11) I am to keep speaking the truth in love, assuring people that nothing they have done is beyond the power of the cross to atone, forgive, and cleanse, if they will only confess it to God. (1 John 1:9) At times I am called to help people understand that they are in need of such grace, but again, conviction is the work of the Holy Spirit. I cannot save anyone, but God can indeed save absolutely anyone.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for the new students I will be meeting this morning. I pray that my interaction with them over the next two years will indeed draw them to repentance and faith for their salvation, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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