Saved from my sins, or saved from the penalty of my sins?

John 14:15                   “‘If you love Me, you will keep my commandments.’” (words of Jesus Christ)

 

John 14:21a                  “‘He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me.’” (words of Jesus Christ)

 

I John 2:3                     “And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.”

 

I John 5:3                     “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.”

 

Romans 6:1-2                “What shall we say then?  Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase?  May it never be!  How shall we who died to sin still live in it?”

 

Romans 6:11-15            “Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.  Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.  For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.  What then?  Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace?  May it never be!”

 

I Samuel 15:22              “And Samuel said, ‘Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the LORD?  Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.’”

 

Hosea 6:6                     “For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, and in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.”

 

James 4:4                     “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God?  Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”

 

Galatians 6:7                “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.”

 

Romans 8:29                 “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren.”

Once again the prevailing mentality in the church today is brought to bear in the answer to this question: are we more interested in being saved from our sin, or are we simply interested in being rescued from the penalties of our sin?  Most of the people with whom I interact on a daily basis who are “Christians” are more concerned with not having to bear the brunt of their sin.  In all honesty I have been in the same boat as well during numerous periods of my spiritual journey.  There have been phases in my life where I really did not want to give up my sinful habits, but I certainly wanted God to come through on a regular basis and liberate me from the consequences of those habits.  That is not the heart of God – He is in the business of saving and transforming souls, not enabling and condoning sinful practices.  If we don’t grasp this concept, then we really have to ask ourselves whether we really know and worship the one true God, or are we worshiping a god that we have created who allows us to satisfy our fleshly desires and do as we please?  This is serious business.
In the normal scenarios in life we broadly ask ourselves one of two questions when we face moral or ethical decisions – when our flesh is battling our spirit.  The most common question I believe is, “Can I still go to heaven and (do this or that)?”  However, when I look at John 14 and the entire epistle of I John, the question that screams to me is this one: “If put on trial, would I be convicted of being a child of God?”  Once again, my love for Him is made manifest through my willingness to obey Him.  God has made it clear as well that He is much more delighted with acts of obedience than decisions leading to disobedience and rebellion, followed by sacrifices of apologies afterwards.  Let’s get honest here – in this scenario are our emotional prayers of confession and requests for forgiveness more out of a grievous heart over our sin or out of a desire to not reap the consequences of our sin?  Let’s drop the guards, stop the pretenses, and get brutally honest with ourselves.
Let’s face it … we all sin, we fall short of God’s standard, but He has taken the condemnation of those conditions upon Himself and paid the price so that we would not have to!  One has to ask, “You’ve got to be kidding me?”  No I am not.  He obviously did not have to do that, but He did!  This is absolutely insane when you think about it – that kind of giving and loving is beyond our imaginations!  Considering this, let’s stop playing a religious game and seriously contemplate the calling with which He has called us.  Let’s be courageous enough to stare into and own the cavernous depths of our sinfulness.  Let’s then take an honest look at the incredible and matchless gift that He has offered us!  Let’s possess an accurate and legit view of who we are … and who He is.  Let’s be real, let’s live truthfully, and let’s call upon Him to give us a heart that passionately aligns with His.  He will answer that prayer!