It was suggested in the last essay that sin will be forgiven only when we come to Christ. Without getting petty, there is only one way to come to Christ, and that way was established through direct commandment, through approved examples (nine major listed ones), and by inference. It consists of building faith, repenting of our sins, confession of the Christ as our Lord and as the Son of God, and by immersion in water, rising to walk in newness of life.
I take that to mean my past sin will be forgiven when I put on Christ. The scripture will not lend solace to any other view.
But what of Christians who at some time miss the target? What is our condition? Where do we end up? Are we once again counted as reckless sinners, condemned as imperfect and castaways? Do we vacillate between two states all the way up to Judgment Day?
We noted that the apostle John had stated “My little children, these things I write to you, that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. (1 John 2: 1- 2)
Once again, without doing a somersault over the text and missing a few significant things; we should be able to establish from this that it is inherent in the statement that we may sin. We’re not condemned to do so; but we may in fact do so.
The difference between Christians and everybody else is that in Christ, if you sin, you have the most powerful advocate in the history of the world standing in the dock and at your side. The word advocate used here literally intones the thought beside you.
The apostle had just prefaced the remarks listed above this way: This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
So if we are Christians and continue to do the exact same things as we had done in previous times; we haven’t really changed. We are not following Christ; but are continuing to walk in darkness. Then, God tells us that we lie and do not practice the truth.
However, if we are doing as we have been bidden, if we are changing our lives and how we go through the day, putting God and Christ and the Word of God in front of our eyes and ears. We are counted as righteous meaning we are moving in the direction of right. We are justified and our past sins have been accounted for. Then we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
I understand that to mean that if I sin and recognize it and stop doing those things Jesus, my advocate, who shed his blood in sacrifice for my sins past will add this missed mark to the rest, and they will not be listed on my final blotter. I also believe that means I have to stop indulging in that behavior. Unfortunately for me, bad things don’t often drop out of my existence so easily. But that doesn’t mean I am continuously passing in and out of favor with God. I have to go to God in prayer and ask for forgiveness. And it means that if I am walking in the light, that I continue to adjust my sights and my trajectory to hit the target repeatedly instead of only occasionally. Peter sinned when he denied Christ, and later in disassociating himself from the gentiles when Paul and the others showed up. Was that the end of his walk with the Lord?
Now, some teach, and I sure would love to have it mean that when I sin as a Christian, Christ automatically dispatches the Christian Cleaning Service and I get spruced up and bleached white again without me ever having to do or acknowledge anything. But that would ignore more than a few important scriptures, including the one I just listed above: If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
We already know where all liars will end up. And (once again) how many is all?
He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.
But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.
(Revelation 21: 7 – 8)