I recently started a new Concentrating On the Majors Study—it is the foundational study that all new YBL groups use as an introduction to the Christian life. I have had the privilege of leading this study over 34 times in the last 16 years—and I can honestly say that I never grow tired of leading it. It is a rich study, because the Christian life is based upon truths that must be applied daily to our lives in order to have any affect. In other words, the Christian life is far more than simply “knowing” what to “believe”—the Christian life involves application…and obedience! I struggle with this. One of the benefits that I receive from leading this study is that it constantly reminds me of this principle: truth must be applied in order to offer any benefit. Truth is essential, but the application of it is what changes a life. As Jesus said, the blessings of God rest on those who obey His word—not on those who simply hear it (Lk 11:28, Jn 13:17).
This past week, as we were discussing the topic of sin and God’s forgiveness—I said to the group, “God’s grace and patience towards us are great—just don’t confuse them as an indication that He is indifferent towards our sin.” I must admit–that statement sobers me. I thank God for His grace, and His long-standing patience towards me, but I also know that He is Holy, and that He will not allow me to flirt with sin—nor allow me to keep a secret closet in my heart for it. God’s patience in our lives is meant to bring us to a place of repentance…but if we are unwilling to do so (because He loves us) God will discipline us. This is His nature. Those whom He loves—He disciplines (Heb. 12:6).
The crucifixion of Christ is where we see the graphic illustration of God’s declaration on sin. God is not indifferent towards it. He addressed it resolutely, and we should have this same attitude towards sin as well. Sin destroys. Sin kills. And God sacrificed His Son to restore for us—what sin had destroyed. So, may we be sobered by the devastation of sin and its consequences in our lives—and it’s affront to a Holy God. Then, by His grace and with His enabling power, may we make daily choices to turn from sin—and to live in obedience to Him.