Tag Archives: Sin

Fact or Myth: Sin Keeps God From Responding to Us

What goes through your mind when it seems that God is not responding to you? In this time of spiritual vulnerability, the enemy of our soul wastes little time concocting all sorts of fascinating tales such as ‘God doesn’t love you’ or ‘Its your fault, for you have been living in sin’.

Because I am sure that most of you reading this post are way too spiritual to ever believe that God doesn’t love you (tongue in cheek), I wont address that here. This short post is aimed at looking into the school of thought that believes that God hides his face away from us because of our sin –  something I feel compelled to address again because it keeps on coming up.

Just a few weeks ago I had a dialogue with a fellow believer about this. He opened up to the scripture in Isaiah 58:1-2, read it with much emphasis and then asked quite contently, ‘What do you say to that?’

Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor His ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear – Isaiah 58:1-2 (NIV)

I responded by opening up my bible to Ezekiel 39:29 and asked him to read.

And I will not hide My face from them anymore; for I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,’ says the Lord God.” – Ezekiel 39:26

His expression changed after reading this passage for he knew from the scripture that God has already poured out his Spirit (Read Acts 2 if you in doubt).

Since God has already poured out his Spirit, He no longer hides His face from us. While it is true that when we were living under the law, and righteousness was based on our ability to adhere to the law, lawlessness would indeed hide God’s face from us; It is also true that now that Jesus has sacrificed himself once and for all for our sins, and our righteousness is based on His finished work, God sees us through the lens of the perfect finished work of Christ and so our ability to adhere to the law no longer has anything to do with it.

Point to Consider: Jesus moved with sinners, He did not move away from them.

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Can I Go To Heaven Without Jesus?

Mistake in math on chalkboard“Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come – Matthew 12: 31 – 32

Many people have used this scripture to say that we cannot ‘complain’ to God. That if we complain, we are speaking against the Holy Spirit. When I hear this, I often question whether the person has ever forayed into the book of Psalm for it is awash with what can certainly be termed as complaining. Furthermore, not being able to speak our minds to a God who willingly killed Himself for us when we did not deserve it seems a little bit unreasonable. Trust me, God can handle our complaints. In fact, He is interested in hearing our hearts rather than our lip service. Our phony lip service just reveals that our heart is filled with fear-based deceit.

Speaking of hearts, the scripture tells us that man speaks out of the abundance of his heart (Matthew 12: 34). Therefore, whatever a man speaks reflects what is in his heart. If he speaks against the Holy Spirit, it is because his heart is against the Holy Spirit. If his heart is against the Holy Spirit, it is clear that he does not have the Holy Spirit within him. No man willingly receives something his heart is set against.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: A receptive heart is central to receiving the Holy Spirit

Our marquee passage of scripture above reveals to us that the sin of rejecting the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. Though God has made it possible to be saved in this life and the next through the reception of the Holy Spirit, the onus still lies on man to answer the calling of God unto salvation. While other sins will be forgiven, the sin of rejecting the Holy Spirit will lead to eternal separation from God. There simply is no forgiveness for that rejection.

Since the only way to receive the Holy Spirit onto salvation is to accept Jesus as God (Romans 10:9-10), it becomes clear that the unpardonable sin is also the rejection of Jesus. But what about speaking against Jesus the man? Well, the bible says we can be forgiven of this (Matthew 12:32). If you disagree with and speak against Jesus turning water into wine, you will be forgiven this sin. If you disagree with Jesus turning over the tables in the synagogue because you think all anger is bad, again you will be forgiven. But is you reject Jesus as your Lord and Savior, well this is a different story.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: The sins of rejection some of the things Jesus did as man out of ignorance will be forgiven, but the sin of rejecting Jesus as Lord and Savior (God) will not.

See, the rejection of Jesus itself is sin because this rejection comes out of pride and stubbornness. How so? This is because the nature of God and the godhead is revealed throughout creation (Romans 1:20). Hence, no one on earth can claim lack of knowledge of God and the Holy Spirit. Since the Holy Spirit is God, He will always lead us to Jesus. Why does the Holy Spirit lead us to Jesus? It is because only through Jesus can all of our sins be forgiven for He is the one that lived a spotless and sinless life. Without being spotless through forgiveness upon confession, the Holy Spirit would not have been able to make its home in us.

So, I beg you not to commit the sin of rejecting Jesus today. Trust God, this sin will not be forgiven.

Food for Thought: Rejecting Christ is tantamount to accepting death.

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The Love Position – Is my salvation predestined or do I have free will?

Are some predestined by God to be eternally saved (from eternal punishment) while others are not, or do we all have the option of choosing our eternal home? In other words, do we believe in predestination or do we believe in determination (free-will)? Rather than talk about what we feel, let’s take a look at what God shows us through His scriptures.

In the beginning, God created a perfect abode for man to lay his head. Man had no knowledge of evil in this abode and so there was no shame, fear, or justice to speak of. Man had dominion over every living creature and his only job was to tend the garden. See, God so loved man that he created a world where man could live in perfect and perpetual fellowship with man. How do we know this? He created a world without sin (for sin came with knowledge of evil) and did not keep the tree of life (eternal) away from man. Truly, God predestined man to live the good life forever!

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: God so loved man that He predestined Him to live an awesome life of perfect and perpetual fellowship with Him

Now, since true love is never forced (for anything forced involves control and torment) but is freely chosen and given, God (who is love) gave man free-will to choose. Too bad man chose to end the good life. But when man did this, God was still merciful to stop him from eating of the fruit of life by removing him from the garden and guarding the way to the tree of life with a flaming sword (see Genesis 3:24). You see, if man had eaten of the fruit of life after his disobedience, he would have lived forever in eternal separation from God. God did not want that! So while putting him out the garden seemed harsh, it was actually done out of love. See, as soon as man disobeyed, God already had a master-plan to redeem man from being separated from Him but rather to be redeemed through the shed blood of Christ.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: God so loved man that even after exercising his free-will in disobedience, God predestined him not to be eternally separated from Him but to be redeemed through Christ’s sacrifice

To reiterate, when man exercised his free-will of disobedience, both evil and justice entered the world. Being a just God, He had to mete out the punishment that man’s choice (sin) deserved. But thankfully, He found Abraham righteous enough to make a covenant with him that through his Seed (Jesus) all the nations will be blessed (with the covenant blessings available in the Holy Spirit).

“In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice” – Genesis 22:18

“Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ” – Galatians 3:16

See, because of Abraham’s faith, God predestined man (all nations) to be blessed through the redemptive work of Christ. Note that is does not say “this” nation or “that” nation, but it says all nations – meaning all peoples or all mankind.  Thus, it is clear that God wants all mankind (all nations) to be saved. But man still has the same free-will to choose Christ, just as the first man (Adam) and subsequent men had the free-will to disobey God in the garden at the beginning. Paul puts it this way:

“For since the creation of the word His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” – Romans 1:20

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: God so loved man after the fall that He predestined all mankind to be saved through faith in Jesus Christ

How much God loves us – that He would have His own son slewed in order for us to be saved from eternal separation from Him when we choose to believe in His Son (see John 3:16). All that is required is belief! It is not based on performance or our own self-accessed righteousness (which is as filthy rags) but it is a free gift which is irrevocable!

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is a free gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” – Ephesians 2:8-9

“For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” – Romans 11:29

But the above is not the end of God’s love, there is more. For those that choose to believe in His Son, He seals with His Spirit who upon our choosing can direct our path. When we choose to walk in the Spirit and allow Him to lead us, we are lavished with the fullness of the covenant blessings – riches, honor, life, peace, and so much more. We are able to live heaven on this earth just as God designed it from the beginning! We do not have to wait till we get to heaven (our destination once saved) to experiences goodness.That is not to say that bad things will not happen to us (for we still live in a fallen world), but that things are eventually working for our good (see Romans 8:28)

So, looking through the lens of the love of God from the beginning of the world, it now becomes clear what Paul is talking about in Romans 8:29-30:

“For whom He foreknew (all nations or all mankind), He also predestined (through our acceptance of Jesus) to be conformed to the image of His Son……Moreover whom He predestined (all nations), He called (to accept Jesus); whom He called, these He also justified (though the blood of Jesus).

Thus, predestination does not work completely independent of free-will but in conjunction with it. Based on what we know from scriptures, we can conclude the following:

  • God predestined man to live in perpetual and perfect fellowship with Him when He created the world (God’s choice)
  • Man chose to break that fellowship through sin (Man’s choice)
  • God predestined (called) man to be saved from  separation through Christ’s sacrifice (God’s choice)
  • Man can neglect the call to salvation and justification  (Man’s choice)
  • God predestined man to enjoy the benefits of accepting His call to salvation through the Holy Spirit (God’s choice)
  • Man can choose not to walk in the Spirit although they have already accepted Christ unto unnecessary suffering (Man’s choice)

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: Predestination is not the problem –  what God predestines is good. Rather, the problem is our choice – for some reason we like choosing death instead of life.  Adam was predestined to live a sweet life, but his choice made him live a “not so sweet” life!

Food for Thought: When we choose love (God), we are predestined to live a blessed life

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I Am a Good Christian, So Why Am I Not Being Blessed?

What Am I Doing Wrong?

Many of us miss out on the blessings that God wants to bestow upon us because we think we have not sinned – that we have no sin to confess. We say ‘I have not done anything wrong, so I have not sinned and so have no sin to confess’. We say this because we erroneously think that sin occurs in the doing; in our actions. But this is not what the bible teaches us about sin. See, if sin was solely based on actions (obeying a set of rules), then apostle Paul would have been sinless! We know this because he tells us that he was blameless (guiltless) with regards to the righteousness (purity or holiness) that comes from the law or works (see Philippians 3:6). But Paul knew better than to think he had no sin because he was flawless in obeying the ordinances of the law. He knew his righteousness was like a filthy rag (see Isaiah 64:6) in the sight of God and that only God could impart righteousness onto him (see 2 Corinthians 5:21)!

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: We can be perfect in our actions and still be full of sin, for sin is not measured by how well we are able to keep the law.

The question then is this: If sin is not about actions, when have I sinned? Jesus gives us the answer in the following passage:

“But I say to you that whoever looks at woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” – Matthew 5:27

Jesus is saying here that adultery (which is a sin) has already taken place when it reaches our hearts. In other words, we have to pay attention to our heart intentions. It is important to state that Jesus did not say ‘committed adultery with her in his mind’. If Jesus had said this, then sin would occur the moment we are tempted in our minds. But this is not so, for temptation is not sin. The scriptures tell us that Jesus Himself was tempted as a man in this world, but he did not sin (see Hebrews 4:15). Therefore, Jesus did not sin not because He was not tempted, but because He did not allow the temptation to reach His heart; He did not allow the temptation to linger long enough in His mind to enter His heart, but rather rebuked it away with the Word of God. Hallelujah!

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: Temptation only becomes sin when it crosses the barrier between our mind and enters into our hearts.

It is because sin has already taken place when temptation enters our hearts that the bible tells us that we deceive ourselves and that the truth is not in us if we say we have no sin (see 1 john 1:8). So you ask – how can I not sin? Well, here it is. The only way not to have any sin in our heart is to walk non-stop in the Spirit; we have to walk perfectly in the Spirit like Jesus did. Note that the bible tells us that if we are not walking in the Spirit, then we end up walking in the flesh or in sin (see Galatians 5:16). So, if you can master walking in the Spirit 24/7 for the rest of your life, then congratulations! You have no sin. If like us mere mortals (and you are being honest with yourself) you slip out of your Spirit-walk, then you have to confess your sins (see 1 John 1:9). The Hebrew word for sin (hata) literally means to ‘miss the mark’. We miss the mark when we are not walking in the Spirit. Conversely, we do not miss the mark when are walking in the Spirit (abiding in Him); this is why the bible says that whoever abides in Him does not sin (see 1 John 3:6). See, the challenge we fail is that of abiding in Him. It is not enough that He abides in us (that we have the Spirit), but we have to abide in Him ( walk in the Spirit). This is what Paul implores us to do (see Galatians 5:25).

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: If we say we have no sin, we are saying that we are walking perfectly in the Spirit. If we say we are walking in the Spirit perfectly, we have already deceived ourselves.

Now that we know we have fallen short, we have to check our hearts to see what is in there that is keeping us from God’s best. Is it the sin of unforgiveness? Is it lust? Is it envy or jealousy or pride? What is it? See, just because we put up all the barriers and boundaries we want so that we do not act on what is in our hearts does not mean we have no sin. All it means is that we are at best trying to keep ourselves and others from harm, and at worst hiding who we truly are by saying ‘see, my actions are flawless, therefore I am a righteous person’.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: We fool ourselves when we do not take care of our sinful hearts (not sinful actions). While our actions determine whether other people are blessed, it is our heart intentions that determine whether we are blessed for those actions – for God cannot bless sin and disobedience.

Yes, God in His mercy can still pull us undeservedly out of situations and grant us favor, but with sinful hearts, we never experience the fullness of the riches of the inheritance that He has for us. To keep our hearts from being infiltrated by the temptations we endure, we must guard it with the sword of the Spirit (meditating on the word of God), prayer, command our angels to do battle on our behalf, and rebuke the enemy with His words flowing from our mouths. We must stay vigilant, humble, and surrendered.

When we fail to realize that sin occurs in the heart, we fail to put up barriers between our mind and heart and so we fall into sin immediately. Most of us spend our lives putting up all sorts of barriers (including locking ourselves away from the world because everything causes us to fall) between our heart and our actions without realizing that we have already sinned. It is those of us that do this that are always wondering why God is not moving in our lives! To this we usually fall into the trap of more legalistic law keeping or we simply convince ourselves that God does not have particular goodies for us! As if God withholds goodies from His children (see Matthew 7:11)

Food for Thought: If you are not eating of the good of the land, go to the doctor (see Paging Doc Jesus) to check your heart for you may very well have heart disease.

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