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Tuesday, March 09 2021

Does God’s grace have limits? Is God’s forgiving grace conditional upon one’s faith and obedience? The writer of Hebrews revealed, “For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries” (Hebrews 10:26–27 ESV).

            In contrast to what the Bible teaches, many claim, “Once saved, always saved,” which in other words means for many, “Once that I was saved by God’s grace, then I cannot fall from grace, so I can continue in sin that grace may abound.” Again, the biblical writer revealed that one can fall from grace when he wrote, “You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace” (Galatians 5:4). Likewise, Galatians 5:19–21 gives a list of sins that "those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God." Furthermore, the biblical writer observed, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:1–2).

            Many ask, “What joy and assurance can anyone have of God’s saving grace if someone can fall from grace?” The condition of God’s forgiveness is a living faith that produces repentance and obedience. When the faithful repent and are baptized, God does the work of forgiving sin and giving life to the faithful as Paul revealed in Colossians 2:12–13.

            Grace is truly God's “unmerited favor,” but this does not imply as some believe that grace is “unconditional” forgiveness. Salvation is conditional upon continuing in the faith. Paul revealed that Jesus would present the faithful as holy and blameless before God “if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard” (Colossians 1:23a).

            Does God give forgiveness to believers who neglect some of His commands? All have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). Everyone needs God’s grace (Romans 3:24; 5:1–2). While no one is sinless other than Christ, God’s grace does not exempt believers from observing all that Jesus commanded. In Matthew 28:19–20, Jesus gave the commission to make disciples and instruct them to observe all things that Jesus commanded. Mature Christians should be able to teach all things having the Scriptures as an all-sufficient guide (2 Timothy 3:16–17).

            What happens if we strive to observe everything Jesus instructed and yet sin? John wrote of the expanse and extent of God's forgiveness in 1 John 1:7, “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” Christians walk in the light when we live by God and His revelation as seen in 1 John 1:5. The word “if” in 1 John 1:7 shows that God's grace for forgiveness is conditional. Continuing in sin is walking in darkness as 1 John 1:6 says, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.”

            Does every act of sin separate the faithful from God’s forgiveness? Believers are not lost every time one sins. John wrote in verse 8, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” and in verse 10, “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” These passages reveal that God does not require sinless perfection when one becomes a Christian but God wants confession of sins. Furthermore, John taught, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

            Thank God for the great expanse of His forgiving grace. God forgives us of all our sins as we continue in the faith and confess our sins to God the Father. Let encourage one another everyday not to be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin (Hebrews 3:12–13).

Posted by: Scott J Shifferd AT 07:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email