by: Jared Etheridge
We are sinful creatures. The moment we enter this world we are brought into sin. There’s no escaping it. We are sinners, and we know this, but it still kind of shatters our world a bit when we fall short. We feel pretty good about ourselves when we can go for a period of time without sinning. I get into these phases where I try to keep a record of my sin. I start off great after some conviction or a touching sermon, like a fresh start … a clean slate. Then I keep track and may feel like, “Okay, I’m doing good, I haven’t sinned yet.” I bet you know how this goes. It’s discouraging when I ultimately mess up, even in the seemingly smallest ways; when you are face to face with your sin nature. We aren’t able to be holy. Not on our efforts alone. Ultimately, trying to be good and do better will result in facing the reality that we can’t do it ourselves. That’s why we need a savior. We know that too, but the guilt can sometimes grip us. Maybe you feel the pressure to prove yourself to God, that you can be a “good Christian.” But you keep messing up.
Hebrews 8:12 says that God will remember our sins no more once we become His children. If God Himself chooses to blot out our sins from His memory, then who are we to keep a record of them for ourselves or hold someone else’s against them? Are we too prideful to accept that Jesus took our sins away? Why would we feel like we still have to pay for them? Sometimes the affects of our sin might remain, but God’s Word says that we in Christ are guiltless. Our sin is paid for–past, present, and future. Look at Romans 8:1, there is NO condemnation for anyone in Christ. Do you really believe this? Then don’t hold on to your guilt or withhold forgiveness from a brother or sister. Now, of course we know that just because our guilt is gone doesn’t mean we can go on sinning. Paul reminds us of this in Romans 7.
Though we aren’t bound by the law anymore, Christ became a law for us (Hebrews 9). He sent us the Holy Spirit to guide us (John 14:26), and He promises that He will put His laws in our hearts and write them on our minds (Hebrews 10:16). This is where conviction comes in. We can’t expect the Spirit to remind us of something we never put in our minds to begin with. To really follow the Lord we have to seek His heart through His Word. Then His Spirit produces the growth in us.
So we don’t have a license to sin, we have His Word and instruction in the Spirit, but when we do miss the mark, we have comfort in knowing that He is “faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).