“Rats, I messed up again…”

Have you ever found yourself saying some version of that statement?  I know I have.  What does the Scripture say about our screw-ups, intentional or unintentional?

The first thing we have to deal with is how it affects our standing with God.  Remember, we've dealt before with the concept that we are created as a tripartite being, in the image of God.  We are body, soul, and spirit, and sin has a different effect on all three.  We have also covered our initial salvation cannot be lost (though it can be wilfully rejected).  Jesus tells us that no one can take us out of His or the Father's hands, and that He and the Father are One in John 10:28-29.  We do NOT lose our salvation (Hey, argue with God, not me, He wrote the text through His servant John).

In fact, Paul talks about how he himself has this struggle in himself, as the Apostle that God Himself sent to the Gentiles in Romans 7:19.  He reverted back to doing things in his own strength instead of letting God the Holy Spirit work through him.  In fact he cries out a version of the title of this article in verse 24 (NASB):  "Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?"  (He gives the solution in the next verse by the way.)  Jesus came to set us all free from the power of that sin in our lives.  And in the verse after that, he tells us (Rom. 8:1) that there is now "no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."

What is it that we have done that is SO bad that Jesus has not ALREADY paid the price?  Nothing.  John 5:24 tells us that the one who has believed "has passed out of death into life."  And that life (as discussed above in John 10) is eternal, and cannot be lost.

What must we do as believers and followers of Jesus to get back on track from where we find ourselves after a mistake or even a deliberate wrong?  It tells us in 1 John 1:9:  "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."  We must admit that we have violated God's holy standard, and we must "repent," or turn from doing things in our own strength and instead let the Holy Spirit do things through us once again.

Okay, I hear you out there muttering under your breath that it can't be that easy.  It is that easy for us.  It was NOT for Jesus, the one who paid the price for us.  And when we see what He really did for us on the cross, we should turn from our own righteousness, which Isaiah tells us is as filthy rags, and exchange it for His righteousness, because He died in our place.  The grace that He gives us did not come cheaply, though we often treat it that way.

I also hear some of you out there saying "Yeah, but I feel so guilty!  I messed up!"  Well, you are guilty - but Jesus took that away on the cross also!  You don't have to walk in that guiltiness.  In fact, if you do, you're really walking around saying that He didn't completely cleanse you of unrighteousness when He died and rose again, and we clearly know that He did BECAUSE He rose again.

I did not say that there would not be consequences to your acts.  That is a completely different conversation.  But you are free from the penalty of your sin before God.  Look at an example in the Old Testament - King David.  Did you know that under the Law, there are two commandments that carry no forgiveness?  Those are Adultery and Murder.  David committed both - and yet God forgave david, because David admitted his sin and turned from it.  However, there were temporal consequences for David's actions, notably the death of the son that he and Bathsheba conceived in the original act that caused the problem.  That tells us that the consequences for OUR wrongdoing may not be limited to just ourselves, it may affect others negatively.  It is a part of the consequence that Adam brought on us all for using his own free will to choose against God.  It wasn't God's idea or fault - we brought it on ourselves.

The really great news here is that we can be increasingly FREE of this as we learn to walk with him and continue to cultivate a relationship with Him.  One of our admins has written a book about this very topic that you can find here.  (The $2.99 cost is about the cost recovery for the time he put into writing the book.)

I'm sure we look like strobe lights to God sometimes, but as we admit our failure and we turn from our own way and learn to cultivate a devotional relationship with Him, we will become more like His Son over time and with suffering.  May the Lord richly bless you as you walk with Him through your hardships and failures.

Gerry @ The Berean Nation

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