Below is a letter based on what I wrote to Ron, a Christian who thinks he’s a filthy rag and unworthy of love because of his sins. If you struggle with trying to do enough to please God, then this may be helpful to you. Please know that you are no longer in debt. Jesus has paid the price. You can now rest in Him…even with your sins.
From your emails, it seems that you are flying high when the going is good. Then when you sin, you suddenly feel devastated as if you are no longer a child of God. This is a lie from hell. The lie is that your value is based on your good works and not on what Jesus has done for you.
A 100 dollar bill in the mud is still a hundred dollar bill. If you clean it up or put a bow on it, is it now worth anything more than it was worth before? You know the answer to this one. Dirty or clean, a hundred dollars is still a hundred dollars. Its worth is determined by an outside overriding authority, and it doesn’t matter whether the bill is new, old, pretty, dirty or thinks itself worthless.
And so it is with a child of God. Whether you are saintly or sinful, you still inherit God’s riches. Your value never changes in God’s sight.
Apart from Jesus we can do nothing. You know the Scriptures. Jesus didn’t come to save the righteous. He came to save wretched people like YOU and ME.
And in spite of ourselves, the Lord saved us and is sanctifying us, even though we are steeped in sin. The love of God is so powerful and so unexplainable that it’s impossible to wrap our arms around this.
We cannot make Jesus love us any more. And we cannot make Jesus love us any less. None of our good works can save us Ron. If you don’t know Him, you can make a thousand donations to the best charities, and you will still face His fiery judgment when you see Him.
Likewise, you can sin over and over again with premarital sex, and if you are a part of His family, you will still inherit the Kingdom of God. The half-hearted son inherits over the hard working servant, not because he is better, but simply because he is family. When you accept Jesus into your life, you are His family. You are a prince of the King. You inherit not because of your goodness. But because you are His child!
Why Be Good if God Saves Me and Will Love Me Anyway Even if I Willfully Sin?
So many people freak out because they think that if you know you’re saved, than there’s nothing to stop you from running to sin and all sin’s perverse pleasures. This is untrue. Jesus transforms us so that our conscience becomes finely attuned to sin. You know this because you feel it every day! (Yet another indication you are His and His alone.)
Jesus changes our hearts so that we hate sin and want to please Him. For me this was a process which took many years. But I can attest to the fact that I love my God and now I do want to please Him.
In addition, even though we’re saved, there are still earthly penalties for sinning. Scripture says that as Christians, our sinning can grieve the Holy Spirit who is inside of us. Sinning can also cause physical or spiritual harm to our bodies and our minds. It can wreck relationships with our loved ones. And hurt countless others around us. Repeated willful sinning makes it harder for us to love and delight in God. Especially when we choose not to genuinely repent immediately afterwards. Yes, God is still there. But our sin can numb our desire to commune with Him.
On the flip side, there are ample rewards for us if we press into Jesus and do not return to our old sinful ways. Scripture says there are special rewards in Heaven that survive the test of Holy fire. Likewise, the sinful things we did on Earth will be consumed in this fire. This fire will burn away our sinful accomplishments like hay, stubble and straw; and when we get to heaven we will actually experience a loss because of our sinful choices. So we have plenty of good reasons to avoid the sins we did before Jesus saved us. Even though to some extent, all of us go back to these and need Jesus to help us escape again.
The Difference Between You and Me IS NOT That You Sin More
You think that because you have premarital sex 5 days a week, and I don’t, that your sin is somehow worse than mine. And yet, I often daydream of physical violence against my neighbors far more than you could ever have sex. This is not a trivial matter. Every one of us must go to Jesus with their sins. We are all accountable for our sinful words, thoughts and deeds.
I do believe sins have different importance. Some sins really are worse than others. But perhaps no one will truly know to what extent until we’re in Heaven. Note that as far as salvation is concerned, the death on the cross covered them all! So take Jesus at His word and trust Him that you are truly forgiven. Jesus is no liar!
I will remind you that back in Jesus’ day, the prostitutes and Jewish tax collectors (people deemed as sexually dirty or traitors to their country) were nevertheless coming to heaven far ahead of the learned and righteous pharisees who did none of these sins.
But weren’t these prostitutes sinning big time? Yes, they were. But the pharisees’ sins were far worse, because they had rejected God and worshiped a God of their own making.
Please don’t let your sins put a wedge between you and God my friend. The wedge is not God’s, but your own wedge. It is you who chooses not to rest in His righteousness. You who choose not to spend time with Him.
We Can Still Sin And Be A Man After God’s Heart. Don’t Let Your Sins Keep You From Turning To Him.
Take King David for example: David was a man after God’s own heart. And yet, in spite of him murdering a loyal friend and committing adultery, David remained a man after God’s heart, even to his dying day. (Tell me Ron, do you honestly believe your sins are worse than King David’s?)
So why was David, who was blatantly sinful, called a man after God’s heart? The answer has to do with David’s authentic relationship with God. King David was always quick to repent. (Though sometimes he needed help from his prophet and friend Nathan.) David also praised the Lord often. And David always kept up an intimate, personal relationship with the King of the Universe. He loved reading and delighting in God’s Word. He danced and rejoiced in God’s presence.
Are you imitating King David? This is critical Ron. No B.S. here. I worry for you because of this more than anything else.
If I am a better person than you, (like you think I am) it’s not because I sin less or do more good works. It’s simply that I now love Jesus and can rest in His righteousness instead of my own. This makes me want to please Him. This makes me seek Him more often so I can turn to Him and flee temptation. This makes me want to praise Him out of gratitude for who He is and all that He has done for me.
It is through this outflow of gratitude and His supernatural empowerment that I suddenly want to do good deeds. The good deeds are the fruit, not the root. The root is an active personal, intimate relationship with Jesus. The fruit is the result of this.
Yes, I know I am a wretched pile of rags without Him. But I also know, that in spite of my many, many sins, He still cherishes me like a poor widow cherishes a dirty diamond ring. In my heart I know that I am His, He is mine. And He loves me!
You too can rest in God’s righteousness. But right now, you still believe that it’s all about your good works. And so when you fail, you despair! And your tower of accomplishments crumbles.
We are both children of our Father, the Lord of the Universe. Please get it out of your head that you can work at being good. Simply keep open the divine, personal relationship with Jesus through prayer, praise and repentance. And don’t forget to read His holy Word, so you can learn and delight in Jesus as I do.
It’s time to stop lying to yourself. If you want to work at something, work at pressing into this divine relationship. There’s no need to navel gaze at how sinful you are. Jesus paid the price for that. Now is the time to rest in Him.
In faith, start worshiping the Lord as King David did. Be a man after God’s own heart so that the Holy Spirit inside of you will give you a true perspective of who you are, and who the Lord is. This will help you both with your guilt and with avoiding sin. Your intimate, ongoing relationship of frequently praising Him, praying, repenting and meditating on Scripture matters far more to God than your current list of sins.
Could your biggest sin be that you don’t want this relationship? If you do want it, press into Jesus and He will give it to you!