Sunday, January 10, 2010

223. What About Those Who Continue in a Sinful Lifestyle?

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As we talked about last week, it's by One Man's obedience - the obedience of Jesus - that we have been made righteous. Jesus' obedience has been imputed to us, and He is not just "in" our life - He is our life.  The righteousness that we stand in, and even our faith, has been given to us as a gift.  Righteousness is "the state of him who is as He ought to be," "approved by God."

And so the question arises, if all of this has been given to us freely as a gift, what about those who continue in a lifestyle of sin?  Do they remain saved?  Do they remain righteous?  Obviously we all have to deal with the natural consequences of our sins, but do they stand between us and God, and do they negate the free gift of righteousness?

Everybody sins, but is there some "standard" by which we are to judge whether one person is still "ok" in front of God and someone else isn't?  If so, what is that standard?  Where do we draw the line?  Hmmm.


  1. ok, helpful stuff as always ! BUT, please help me!! Is it only those who have made jesus, their Lord and saviour that have eternal life through the work of the cross, or , in your reading and understanding of scripture, mean, that all of humanity benefits from the cross?
    Nothing heavy their guys !!
    bless ya Jeremy

  2. Hi Jeremy,

    My personal view is that the benefits of the cross and of the resurrection are different things. In my current understanding of scripture, I believe that through the cross - the death of Jesus - forgiveness of sins has been provided for all of mankind. 1 Cor 5 says that "God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting men's sins against them." No one's sins are counted against them.

    However... being forgiven, and not having sins counted against us, is not the same as having eternal life. I believe the New Testament is very clear that it is only those who believe who are raised up to life with Christ. So the issue isn't whether or not people are forgiven. The issue is whether or not individuals have believed and have therefore been raised to life with Christ.

  3. Hey, I loved this week's Growing in Grace! I do have a question - What do we do with this scenario: "ok we understand that before God a Christian living in a sinful lifestyle is still accepted by God, but we have to have some standards in the church - we can't allow that person to be a pastor..."

    Having standards for leaders in the church, etc., not allowing certain pastors with a certain lifestyle, is that imposing law? Or does that fit in some other category? What's the grace answer? What do we do about these sticky issues which come up? Thanks for your help!

  4. Sparrow Girl,

    Those are definitely important things to think about. Paul addresses this in various epistles, and I think it's also important for each unique fellowship to decide among themselves what kind of standards they want to have among themselves. I don't believe any of this affects their standing in front of God in any way, and I also don't think it's the same as imposing law when a local body decides on things like this. Paul was the biggest proponent of reckoning ourselves as dead to law, and yet he talked about this stuff. So again, I personally think it's a matter of each body coming together and making decisions together about all of this.

  5. Joel,

    That helps so much! I see what you are saying, that it is not a matter of affecting the person's standing with God in any way, only a matter of relationships between people and what is best for the local body. Perhaps church discipline is a similar issue? Love guides in these matters, I think. Now I understand more clearly...