We spoke last week about addictions, which involve more people than we could imagine, and we should realize by now that personal problems happen whether one proclaims they are a Christian or not. We live in fleshly bodies with a default nature, and it's no surprise that with our carnality having its own desires, we have difficulty staying on the straight and narrow.
We mentioned that cognitive dissonance is when we know something is wrong and experience guilt from our lack of discipline, but we choose to do it anyway. Remorse is conviction. Thankfully, our compassionate God has provided the blood of Jesus as the way we can receive forgiveness when we fail to live up to the expectations of his standards.
It's one thing to slip up and make mistakes, but the real danger is when a person has no fear of God and feels no need to repent. Most people rarely consider the Lord is more concerned about our iniquities than we are. Why is this? For one thing, whatever we think about is what is most important to us. If we have no desire to develop an awareness of God's presence, I can assure you that hating sin to the point of nausea is not happening.
Have you ever heard of the old saying, "Out of sight, out of mind"? This means we avoid thinking about our trespasses that make us uncomfortable on purpose. We have the ability to ignore God while we are concentrating on our pleasures. However, I will say this, and it pertains to all of us, God deals with intentional rebellion in this life and the next.
In 1 Samuel 15:23, God says rebellion is like the sin of witchcraft and stubbornness as the sin of idolatry. This is not a pleasant subject to write about, but as a minister, I would be wrong to skip over it. Rebellion is an attitude of the heart that opposes authority and began when Lucifer became so arrogant he decided to overthrow God in heaven. We know he failed and was cast down to earth, but then we find him again expressing his bitter hostility toward God when he succeeded to deceive Eve and Adam to rebel against the Majesty and Creator of all things. He has been doing this ever since.
While there may have been a distinction regarding the consequences of unintentional and intentional sins in the Old Testament, the Bible is clear in Romans 3:23 that all have sinned and fallen short of God's glory. The offerings of the Old Testament foreshadowed the offering of Jesus Christ himself as a sacrifice on the cross for our sins. Jesus is the sufficient substitute for forgiveness and eternal life.
In John 14:6 Jesus teaches, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." Though every person has sinned (except Jesus), we have the opportunity for forgiveness and redemption from sin through the sacrifice he made on the cross. By faith in him, salvation is obtained by grace through faith. This is true regardless of intentional or unintentional sins, whether a person believes he has sinned a little or sinned a lot.
There is a throne in each person's heart, and whoever sits in that seat is the king who rules and controls the individual. If our independent desires dictate the throne, decisions are tainted with carnality. If a dark entity is given authority to reign, it will oppress or possess the host and lead them into confusion and destruction. However, when Christ is invited to sit on our throne as Lord and King, the darkness and rebellious attitudes are cast out. A new spiritual identity is given, the individual is transformed by the renewing of the mind, the will is surrendered to God and obedience becomes the new attitude that now follows the Holy Spirit.
Regardless of the type of sins a person has committed, the authority and blood of Jesus is sufficient to forgive. Those who reject the Gospel, regardless of how much or how little sin they have committed, will be separated from God and will experience agonizing punishment. God is calling everyone to turn away from sin and abide in Christ. As Acts 4:12 declares, there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.
Dr. William F. Holland is an ordained Christian minister, community chaplain and author. Discover more about the Christian life at billyhollandministries.com.