I have been discussing the relationship between Christ and the believer. If my choices have no bearing on my relationship with Christ, then where is the consequence of bad choices?
What is the result of our sin?
I maintain that feelings of guilt are a consequence of our sin and “bad choices.” That although I have grace that overflows, I am still are aware that when I make a choice that is bad (I SIN) I am throwing the grace of God in His face.
The woman that I was talking with said if we continue to sin even though we know it is wrong that guilt will only last until the conscience becomes seared and cited 1 Timothy 4:2 to support that statement.
This is the importance of a proper hermeneutic. Look at verse 2:
by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron,
1 Timothy 4:2
Context, context, CONTEXT ladies! This is such a damaging thing to do – to pull out a verse from its context and make an application that is not appropriate. So please allow me to give those of you who have never heard this before a little bitty lesson in hermeneutics. You have to pay attention to whom the letter was, and the verses that surround the verse you want to use. Plucking a specific verse out of its context is inappropriate however great you think it fits your situation.
This passage is written by Paul to Timothy and has to do with those who are apostate. Those who professed to believe, but have proven by their doctrine and way of life that their conversion was false. We know this because Paul specifically says that these people will fall away, pay attention to deceiving spirits and follow doctrines of demons! These are the people who will have a seared conscience. There is no reference whatsoever to a believer who struggles with sin in the sanctification process.
So, you cannot rightfully apply this verse to a person who still struggles with sin and makes bad choices. What then, is the consequence for the bad stuff that we chronically do? are we out of God’s favor?
To answer this question I have to return to yesterday’s blog where I answered the question- how did you get IN God’s favor? It is by grace alone, no works of yours could ever gain God’s favor. Even those who would agree that this is true still tend to think that when we sin that God is “displeased with me”, or that I am “not walking with Him” or that I am “out of the Spirit”, or that I am “out of His will.” What we forget is that we can never be any of those things because of Christ. Positionally, I am always walking with Christ.
So, the “consequences” we experience are guilt for what we know we have done that is wrong, or we perceive it to be wrong- (i.e. eating meat sacrificed to idols) and there are times we also experience worldly consequences such as being arrested, loss of job, unwed pregnancy, or a host of other things. In all cases, the guilt we experience is the consequence and it is intended to draw us back to Him.
It is intended to remind us of the cross, to remind us of our inability to do this, to remind us of His grace and mercy, and to remind us that Rom 6 is true!
Jesus Christ combats our sin with His mercy and grace not shame and banishment!
If He didn’t do that to us in our unredeemed state, why would He do that in our redeemed state?
(continued next time)