This week my pastor gave a wonderful lesson on forgiveness. I’m sure almost every Christian has heard about forgiveness, if you haven’t then you will now. So hooray for The Rebel Christian!
My pastor addressed an issue going around within the church—I don’t just mean my home-town church, I mean the Body of Christ. There are a lot of Christians, especially new Believers, who don’t always ask for forgiveness of their sins. Why? Because their sins are already forgiven, so what’s the point, right? In fact, some go as far as continuing to sin because, at the end of the day, God will forgive them, right?
Well, that may be right but we, as Believers who are aware of our rights and wrongs, will still be held accountable for that sin. In other words; for every choice there’s a consequence. So the Lord may forgive you but that doesn’t mean you won’t be judged for that sin.
Let me put it like this.
If you burglarize someone’s home and then repent, God will forgive you but you still have to serve time in prison for the crime you committed.
If you murder someone, God will forgive you but you’ll get a life sentence in prison.
If you tell a little ‘white lie’ God will forgive you if you ask Him for forgiveness but you will still be left with the consequences of that lie.
I hope you all understand what I’m trying to say. The point of this article isn’t all about forgiveness, that’s only part of what I want to address. The real nitty gritty is the act of continuously sinning.
The other day I read an interesting statement about ‘wrongdoers’ in America. According to the article, 1 out of every 4 people will steal always. 1 out of every 4 will steal every now and then. 1 out of every 4 will only steal if they know for sure they won’t get caught. 1 out of 4 will never steal.
So only 25% of Americans will never steal anything in their life—not purposely at least. That troubles me because I know more than 25% of Americans claim Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. So that means some of us Believers aren’t always doing the right thing. I want to take a look at the Christian with the same attitude as the third thief in the data; the one who will only steal if they know for sure they won’t get caught.
A lot of Believers are running around committing sins with that same attitude. No one will get hurt if they take this from the store, no one will catch them in their infidelity if they lie. No one will care if they cheat on their taxes. Mom and dad won’t be mad if they don’t know you smoked pot—or drank underage—or went ‘all the way’ with your girlfriend.
Ok, that might be true. What mama doesn’t know won’t hurt her.
But are we only living for mama? Are we just trying to avoid jail time?
Mom and the police aren’t the only ones who matter. GOD MATTERS. And He is always watching.
Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV “…for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Why is it important to the do the right thing when no one is looking?
Hebrews 12:14 NIV says “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.”
We have a responsibility to be holy. Not just good but holy. And because it’s never true that no one is looking—God is always looking. And as someone who claims to be His child, it is our responsibility to do right so that we can continuously honor and glorify His name. When people look at you they don’t just see a beautiful man or woman; they see a child of the Most High God.
ACT LIKE IT.
So maybe no one else saw you slip that pack of gum from the shelf into your purse, maybe your parents will never know what happened last Friday night, and maybe your wife will always believe you’re a dedicated and loyal husband.
But God knows the truth.
Hebrews 4:13 NIV “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
So we have to give an account of everything we’ve done. Even the things we did in secret. If you repent and turn from your ways, God will forget about the sin but that doesn’t mean the consequences have vanished. So you have to ask yourself now, before you do anything, is it worth it?
My mother always said ‘what you do today has a greater effect ten years from now’. That may be an exaggeration but her point is that every decision you make comes with a consequence but the scary part is that you might not see it until later—when it’s far too late. So mom and dad may never know what happened last Friday night but ten years from now you find out you’re HIV Positive.
Friday doesn’t seem so much fun anymore, does it?
I am by no means trying to ‘scare’ any Christians into doing the right thing—you should already want to do the right thing. I’m sure this topic has been repeated endlessly but it needs to be said again and again. If you only take one thing from this post let it be that God matters. Do right for yourself because in doing that, you will be doing right by God.
Don’t do right just because He’s watching and you don’t want to feel guilty, do right for the sake of doing right.