We noted that some people believe that God educates us out of sin. But it seemed that notion did not stand either the force of the scriptures or of reason. Others say that God forgives our sins unconditionally. That once we “accept Christ” we have shed everything sinful: past, present and future.
Few things in this life come without conditions. The old proverb states – If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is…
What I suspect the proponents of such theories mean is that the conditions for forgiveness of sins are not clearly outlined within God’s Book. However, in Matthew 19 when Jesus was asked “What good thing shall I do that I might inherit eternal life?” His answer: “But if you will enter into eternal life, keep the commandments.”
So God said conditions must be met. And if it applies to one, then why not to all? The conclusion is that there is little doubt that sinners cannot lay hold of eternal life without this considerable condition being met. The pardon has its conditions. The plan Christ gave us commands that we must – hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe the truth in the “Good News” (Hebrews 11:6, Romans 1:1 – 4), turn away from your past sins (2 Corinthians 7:10), confess that Jesus is the Son of God (Matthew 10:32), and be immersed for the forgiveness of our past sins (Acts 22:16), and to walk in Christ not returning again to the sinful past behaviors (Galatians 6:7, 8).
You might know that some of our nation’s leaders have made some questionable or seemingly indiscriminate pardons. For example, the men who tried and came perilously close to assassinating President Harry Truman, killing one DC Policeman and wounding another in the attempt, were much later pardoned by President Jimmy Carter (one posthumously, as he had been killed during the attempt). The surviving gunman returned to Puerto Rico to a hero’s welcome. I wonder: will the pardoned fellow that survived fair better before Christ than his pardoned compatriot who had died long before? Much later President Clinton pardoned one of his chief financial backers – a man who had been tried and convicted for both income tax evasion and for making and profiting from illegal oil deals made during the Iranian hostage crisis. Occasionally our notions of unconditional pardon just seem to offer a sanction for somebody’s bad behaviors.
So does God allow “his children” to continue with impunity to practice the very behaviors the scriptures teach against? Will God allow some folks to get away with what others may be charged? Is the justice of God as thin as the justice of men?
This all leads to a much finer question: Is God incapable of making his intent clear? What of the Son of God? Did God become confused during the rush and forget a few key details as we may be prone to do? The scriptures states repeatedly: “…the soul that sins will surely die” (Ezekiel 18:4 – 20).