Alright, granted there is a ton of forgiveness and grace in Jesus, I feel like we sometimes focus on that a bit too much. I dare say that sometimes we are so secure in our “forgiveness” that we justify ourselves before we go and do things that we know are wrong. I know I have found myself in that situation before. “Well, God will forgive me after this,” we think to ourselves.
But whenever I read the words of Jesus, it seems like that’s not the point. We were not meant to live a life under Christ and in sin at the same time. Christianity is not that one day at church where we said a special prayer. Christianity is a lifestyle, not a moment.
I’ve heard so many messages where the speaker gets up and says “I make mistakes every day” or “you’re going to screw up at some point.” Why do people bring that up all the time? That just pushes us further into comfort of sin. It just seems like we’ve come to expect that God expects us to screw up, so it’s not big deal. It’s covered on the cross.
Jesus lived His life in a way to teach us how to live ours. And His was perfect. Now we are made perfect in our faith in Christ, yet we continue sinning.
In a demonstration, Francis Chan took a glass of lemonade (or something of that sort) which represented holiness and in another cup he had choclate syrup (or something of that sort) which represented sin. He mixed the two together in attempts to make the point that the two don’t mix. You can’t be a pleasing taste with both flavors.
We have forgiveness. That is obviously a big part of the story of Christ, so be glad that you are forgiven. Now go and sin no longer. I would like you to read this passage. Don’t skim over it. Read for yourself. In this passage Jesus will point out sin in peoples lives and go over the top in advising them to stop. Cut off their hands if they have to. Gauge out their eyes if that’s the case. Doesn’t really sound like Jesus is too cool about sin. Jesus’ point in saying all of this seems to be made in the last verse (48) and it refers to perfection.
21“You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’
22“But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.
23“Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you,
24leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.
25“Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison.
26“Truly I say to you, you will not come out of there until you have paid up the last cent.
27“You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’;
28but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
29“If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
30“If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell.
31“It was said, ‘WHOEVER SENDS HIS WIFE AWAY, LET HIM GIVE HER A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE’;
32but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
33“Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT MAKE FALSE VOWS, BUT SHALL FULFILL YOUR VOWS TO THE LORD.’
34“But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God,
35or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is THE CITY OF THE GREAT KING.
36“Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black.
37“But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil.
38“You have heard that it was said, ‘AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.’
39“But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.
40“If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also.
41“Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.
42“Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.
43“You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’
44“But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
45so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
46“For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
47“If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
48“Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Thank God for grace. We all need it. And we all need to know we’re forgiven. And there are many times when we need to hear it more than others. But we’re letting free grace get in the way of acheiving the same perfection that our heavenly Father has. The same perfection that Jesus tells us we are supposed to have. Yet when we don’t aim avoiding sin, we reduce Jesus’ high price to cheap grace and continually give Him reason to be crucified.
It seems when we’re not seeking prefection, we’re seeking the direction of sin, turning ourselves into whores and cheating on God with satan, just to come crawling back for forgiveness.
As Christians, I propose the idea that we pursue perfection to the point where we don’t have to come crawling back.