“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:16-17

There has been much debate as to the way that we should respond to these words of Jesus. For the most part, the debate has centered around whether our Father’s unconditional love for us who believe gives us the right to live our lives the way we want to, sin and all, because our sins and all of their guilt and shame have been dealt with by Jesus on the cross. In fact, this debate has been ongoing since the time of Paul.

“What shall we say [to all this]? Are we to remain in sin in order that God’s grace (favor and mercy) may multiply and overflow?” Romans 6:1 [AMPC]

The obvious moral answer that even the atheists will tell you is ‘no’, of course not. We know this. Sin and all its related bad behavior is, well, bad. And it will bear us consequence here in the natural, either through physical ailments or social alienation. I mean think about it, if you over eat, you get fat. If you smoke, you run the risk of racking up a host of diseases. If you steal or murder, and get caught, you get thrown in jail. That’s natural. Anyone knows that. So we should avoid bad behavior because, if nothing else, it does us good.

But what about the sins I like to call ‘the sins of passion’? No, not the bedroom kind. The emotional kind. Anger, vengeance, scheming, hanging someone out to dry? Can we give in to those momentary lapses? Well beloved, you can. Because remember,

“For a mere moment I have forsaken you,
But with great mercies I will gather you.
With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment;
But with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you,”
Says the Lord, your Redeemer.
“For this is like the waters of Noah to Me;
For as I have sworn
That the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth,
So have I sworn
That I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you.
For the mountains shall depart
And the hills be removed,
But My kindness shall not depart from you,
Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,”
Says the Lord, who has mercy on you.” Isaiah 54:7-10

When Jesus took your sin and all its consequent guilt and shame on the cross; yes, even the one you are thinking of committing right now; when Jesus made you right with our Father, He made you right eternally. There is nothing that can separate you from His love, from our Father’s love ever again. That is how much He loves you. And that is why Paul can say,

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:1

“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

So in the same way that your child can be obnoxious and misbehave and not fall out of your love for him, so too you will never fall out of our Father’s love for you. Indeed, you cannot sin your way out of our Father’s love.

But should you give in to that temptation?

“All things are legitimate [permissible—and we are free to do anything we please], but not all things are helpful (expedient, profitable, and wholesome). All things are legitimate, but not all things are constructive [to character] and edifying [to spiritual life].” 1 Corinthians 10:23 [AMPC]
“Looking at it one way, you could say, “Anything goes. Because of God’s immense generosity and grace, we don’t have to dissect and scrutinize every action to see if it will pass muster.” But the point is not to just get by.” 1 Corinthians 10:23-24 [MSG]

And that really is the point, isn’t it, beloved? We don’t just want to merely be saved, not that that in itself is anything less of a miracle, given the propensity of our life choices; but we want more than that, we want to claim the abundant life that Jesus came to bring. So how can you possibly avail yourself to that by callous living? Let’s put aside the spiritual for now and look at this from a logical perspective.

Say you schemed and got your colleague into trouble. He doesn’t know about it. No one knows about it. But one day, you walk through the office corridor and you see that colleague engaged in intense, quiet whispers with another, and they are looking your way. Now they could very well be just checking to see if they are in your way and moving aside. But what will you think?

Or say you doubted your boss’ intentions for your well-being and went around him, straight to his boss, to negotiate better conditions for yourself, bad mouthing your boss along the way. Now, the next time your boss’ boss calls your boss into his office, what are you going to think?

Beloved, we need to remember that because we are the beloved children of God,

“sin crouches at your door; its desire is for you,” Genesis 4:7 [AMP]

Satan wants to make God look bad, and the only way he can get to God, is by getting to us, tripping us up. Think kidnappers getting at the family of targets just to make their targets suffer. You are not the point. Our Father is. But nonetheless, when you sin, you let sin in. Now why would you want to do that?

Furthermore, remember,

“No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 [MSG]

“So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” James 1:4 [MSG]
And “If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought.” James 1:5-6 [MSG]
Beloved, sure, you could sin and get your kicks for the moment. That will not get you out of our Father’s love. But there is a better way, a way that guarantees you His peace and joy which is everlasting. So

“Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.” James 1:19-21 [MSG]

“And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.” Philippians 1:6 [AMPC]

So chin up beloved, and remember,

“For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.” John 3:16 [AMPC]

When you trust in Him and cling to Him, when you rely on Him, you shall not come to destruction or be lost but you shall enjoy the abundant life Jesus came to bring until the 12th of never, and that’s a long long time.

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