“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God”
God hated sin so much that Jesus had to be killed. Because of sin, the only human being who was born of God’s own loin and not from a human male, was ridiculed, beaten, and then slowly tortured until He died–GOD’S ONLY BEGOTTEN SON. Begotten, as in, “to bring a child into existence by means of reproduction.”
Yes, as Christians, we too are children of God, but through adoption (see Ephesians 1:5). Christ however, was not brought to life through spiritual adoption or by human sperm, but by God’s supernatural sperm (see John 3:16, 1 John 3:9). Yes, God borrowed Mary’s womb, but He still used His own seed.
I know it’s weird to go this route, but my point is, Jesus was literally our Creator’s own flesh. So God’s own flesh, His Son, had to die because of sin, and Jesus literally became sin on the Cross (see 2 Corinthians 5:21). By me laying out the importance of Jesus’ life, as well as the seriousness of sin, I’m hoping this puts things in proper perspective as to how serious God is about sin removal.
Thankfully, God’s wrath over sin was completely satisfied at the Cross (see Romans 5:9). Because of that event, now, all who place their faith in Jesus instantaneously become reconciled with the Father’s sin-debt ledger. Because Jesus never sinned, yet, He took on our sin in His own flesh, we’ve become holy, blameless, and blemish-free too! (See Colossians 1:22).
Why did Jesus’ flesh have to be sacrificed and not our own or someone else’s? Because it is our flesh which must suffer for our sins–with death. Our spirit is already dead, it was born this way (see Romans 5:12). Paul explains this to the Romans, “For the wages of sin is death” (see Romans 6:23). So this should teach us that Christ didn’t deserve to die, because He never sinned. This also means that as a result of Jesus taking on the wages of sin for us–death–we receive a gift from God of eternal life! Paul hammers this home as he finishes up his sentence, “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (see Romans 6:23).
So let me be perfectly clear about something before I talk about how to hate sin as a Christian: GOD’S WRATH OVER SIN IS SATISFIED. IT WAS FINISHED AT THE CROSS. HE’S NOT MAD AT US ANY LONGER. JESUS’ BODY BROUGHT IN A NEW COVENANT.
Yes, it is the same God, but a new Covenant (see Hebrews 8:13). His focus in now on Christ! He wants all men and all women to come to repentance of unbelief in His Son! (See 2 Peter 3:9). With that being said, we need to shift our focus off of sin and on to Christ as well! We need to begin to understand that it is the goodness of God which will lead people to Jesus–not hounding them over sin! (See Romans 2:4).
“Matt, this is so deceptive! STOP LYING! You’re just giving people a license to sin! You’re saying, ‘Sin is just fine, go right ahead’!” My friend, no, I am not saying that. I hate sin. I hate my sin. I hate what sin does to people’s lives as well as the lives of those around them. But let’s go ahead and state the obvious: nobody needs a license to sin. You, me, non-believers and believers the like, we are all sinning just fine without a license.
“Yeah, but for us real Christians–those of us who are true men and women of God–He only counts willing sins against us! I’ll start praying for you harder because you need it the most! There is a special place in hell for liars like you who love to tickle ears!”
Well I gotta say, that theology crumbles pretty fast. First off, whose ears are really being tickled? The people who are being told that Jesus has done everything for them, or the people who are being told how wonderful they are because of their great behavior? And not only will I not be going to hell–because Jesus will never die again (see Hebrews 7:25)–but I’m already supernaturally seated with Christ in heavenly places (see Ephesians 2:6).
But let’s back up, the idea of sins not counting against us because they are not “willing” sins, that’s not true either. There is no such thing as a non-willing sin. Even if we are desensitized in our souls to a particular sin–because we choose to do that sin so often–that sin is still a willing sin. It is impossible to accidentally sin.
But let’s digress even further into such two-time talking. Let’s say we actually do have the ability to sin un-willingly. Is God not going to pay attention to that sin because we’ve ignored it? No. Sin is sin. Period. We can stick our heads in the sand all we want or try to belittle our sin with a bunch of amazing religious works and church attendance, but at the end of the day a turd is still a turd, and a sin is still a sin. There is no need to try to spray perfume on it or polish it.
Further, there are not differently levels of sin to God. On earth, sure, there are different consequences for sin–different results which come from different sins. But to God, all sin is the same. For this very reason, Peter tells us that Jesus died once for all sin:
“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit” (1 Peter 3:18).
How could Jesus have died once for all sin if we weren’t even alive to sin when He was crucified? Simple. God is not bound by time, we are. We are made of matter, He’s not. Only matter is bound by time, and God is spirit. Spirit is eternal. He has no beginning and no end. The very notion of “time” was created for us by God!
So when Jesus, who was God “in matter form” died, God, in His infiniteness looked down the physical timeline of humanity and forgave every sin of every believer. The author of Hebrews attempted to teach the Jews this very same thing, that Christ forgave and sanctified every person instantly who would place their faith in Him:
“And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:10)
Key words: have been sanctified, and once for all! The word sanctified means holy. Both words simply mean set apart. Who are we set apart from? The non-holy, non-sanctified unbelievers–spiritually. Obviously we are still walking around on planet earth, but in the supernatural realm, we’ve already been seated with Jesus in heaven, as I mentioned above (see Ephesians 2:6).
How is this possible? It’s only possible by having our sins removed forever, and that’s exactly what Jesus has done! He removed our sins! Unlike the blood of animals which covered sins for 365 days at a time, Jesus removed them from us forever from the very moment we first believed! He has taken them away! He hasn’t covered them, but banished them! John the Baptist’s legalistic ministry was put aside the very moment he saw Jesus. Why? Because John knew that Jesus would solve the world’s sin covering problem forever:
The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29)
Do you see that? Jesus takes away the sin of the world! Let’s jump back over to Hebrews for a moment and read how its author builds on this fact of sin removal. He re-quotes the Prophet Isaiah who foresaw what the Messiah would actually do:
“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (Hebrews 8:12).
I can already hear a behavior-focused person yell at me, “What a load of crap, Matt! Every God-fearing Christian knows that we have to confess our sins to be forgiven! And you are lying about us being sanctified! None of us are fully sanctified until we get to heaven!”
Friend, confession has never forgiven anyone. The verse which the grace-confused people take out of context so often in order to get a confession-based theology is 1 John 1:9. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” The apostle John was not speaking to Christians when he wrote this part of his letter, this was written to the Gnostics.
The Gnostics were a group of people who thought they had never sinned, as in, the very word “sin” was not a real thing. John was saying, “Hey guys, guess what, as humans we actually do sin. Sin is the stuff that our Creator does not approve of. Simply confess this as true–that you do have sin–place your faith in Jesus as your sin-forgiver and your spirits will instantly be sin-free.”
As for confession, there is not a single verse in any New Testament epistle, written to Christians, which states, “Confess your sin to be forgiven” or “Ask for forgiveness.” This is because confessing and asking never forgave anyone. The Jewish apostles knew that only blood could forgive people, not words:
“In fact, the Law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22).
Why do you think Jesus had to shed His blood? Are we starting to get this? And I want to back up and talk about sanctification for a moment. We are fully sanctified, right now, as Christians—our spirits are. Do we still have flesh? Yes. Flesh doesn’t have the ability to be sanctified no matter how hard someone works toward that goal. So give up on that as fast as you can. Instead, walk by your sanctified spirit and your actions and attitudes will catch up over the course of your lifetime.
Do we have unrenewed mindsets? Yes. Are we constantly learning and growing in the knowledge of God’s grace? Yes. Are we being transformed by the renewing of our minds? YES! But our thoughts are not us! We are spiritually perfect children of God! We are spirits in a fleshy body who are learning our true perfect identity day by day! (See Galatians 5:16, Romans 12:2, 7:6).
So today, my friends, know this: Notice how I didn’t talk about how to hate sin as a Christian? Instead of doing that, I focused on Jesus? I just proved to you that Christ alone should be our focus! So please stop worrying about hating sin! We don’t have to do that! That’s not our job! Our job is to relax in God’s grace and simply be a branch (see John 15:5). Our job is to love God and love people. Our job is to let Christ live through us! Sure, this will be hard to do at first, especially when we’ve been taught to hate the sin of the world, but through Christ we can do anything! (See Philippians 4:13).
A prayer for you: Heavenly Father, thank you Jesus’ blood sacrifice at the Cross! Thank you for loving me enough to send Him here to make me spiritually perfect. What a gift! Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. For those who may not feel like their sins are completely forgiven, ease their minds today. Help them to understand that they ARE forgiven IN FULL from the very moment they believed they were! When we sin, please help us to turn from it and realize that SIN will never match up with our spiritual perfection. Empower us with your grace as we walk by your Holy Spirit and not by the flesh. Renew our minds by teaching us how to focus on loving others rather than hating their sin–and help us to do the same for ourselves! In Christ’s name I pray, amen.
This devotional is from 60 Days for Jesus, Volume 1. Get your copy here!