You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering. The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God. -- Psalm 51: 17-18 (NLT)
I have friends who are firmly in the grace alone camp. Following the preaching of men like Joseph Prince, they welcome a message that focuses on the unbelievable grace of almighty God. They feel that the church uses our sins too much against us and that it robs people of the power they should walk under knowing that God has already paid for our sins on Calvary. From that perspective they are correct. No church is going to be perfect and sometimes we can preach to the sinful state too much and other times we can preach to the grace of God too much. There needs to be a balance. To be honest, while I agree sometimes there can be an over emphasis on the sinful state of mind I simply do not see that too often anymore and I see it decreasing as we enter further into the end times. Because the reality is that it is not a cheery message. It does not tickle the ears. It does equate to large offerings and mega-church crowds. It does not fit into the theories of modern church growth. No, if anything, I see that churches are heading in the opposite direction. The Joseph Princes of the world are allowed to rise to such prominence because he brings a message people want to hear. We do not want to hear about sin and repentance anymore. We prefer a bloodless and Spiritless Christianity where we can feel better about ourselves while paying lip service to the God who saved us from ourselves. So while grace is an enormously misunderstood Biblical concept, so is sin. I am not promoting the idea that we should all walk around in sackcloth and ashes due to our sinful nature. Our sin should not prevent us from moving forward in Christ -- it should remind us who Christ is.
Because to be fair, sometimes we forget. With all of the confusing poor theologies arising these days it is understandable. We have false worship music that turns Jesus into our next door neighbor or best buddy and for women He is morphed into their lover. We have preaching that demands blessings from God based on covenants we do not live up to. Jesus is our Lord which means we have turned over our lives to Him.
My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die. -- Galatians 2: 20-21 (NLT)
And we should not treat the grace of God as meaningless! Neither should we forget that our lives were crucified with Christ and that now we live for Him! Jesus is also our Savior, which means we needed saving beloved. It means that the weight of our sin become so unbearable that we needed to be saved from it. This is why I am not supportive of baptizing children. Most children do not conceptualize sin, let alone the need for a Savior. It is hard enough for most adults to! But as part of the show we like to put on in Pentecostal circles we trot the children out with prepared statements of their desire to have God in their lives and then wonder what happened when their teenage years hit. Besides Lord and Savior, Christ is our Sovereign God. That means He gets to make the rules and we get to obey. That means that we enter into this relationship with a reverent awe. What is the beginning of wisdom according to the Bible? FEAR of the Lord. Modern theologies eschew the fear of God and the result is a closer relationship to sin than to the Lord. So let us look today at the man after God's own heart -- King David.
To some they may never get why someone with as spotty a record as David is referred to as a man after the very heart of God. David was a man of war who shed much blood. David was an adulterer and a murderer. Certainly sin was not absent from the life of King David. Here is the first lesson for us today. Sin is not absent from anybody! NO ONE. That seemingly perfect King of Israel had the husband of the woman he committed adultery with killed to try and cover up his transgression! That super spiritual person in the front row of your church for every service? She is not super spiritual and I guarantee she needs to go to God in repentance just like the rest of us do. That pastor who you elevate on a pedestal he cannot possibly live up to, is a man just like I am. Just like King David was.
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus. -- Romans 3: 23-26 (NLT)