Friday, December 23, 2011

It's Not Okay to Lie

It's Not Okay to Lie

How would you respond to someone who casually says, "It's okay to lie because all I have to do is ask God for forgiveness and He will forgive me?"

Paul expected a similar question from his Roman readers:

"If our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us?...If through my lie God’s truth abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? And why not do evil that good may come?" Romans 3:5,8 (ESV)

Paul's answer: God is Judge of the world! A judge rewards right and administers punishment for wrong. Were God to forgive sin simply because one asked for forgiveness, God would cease to be a righteous Judge.

God does not forgive because people ask Him for forgiveness...He cannot unconditionally forgive sin and still remain the righteous Judge of the world.

The entire world is held accountable to God for violating His Law (Romans 3:19). Multiple instances of obedience to the Law are unable to cancel out even one instance of disobedience. Human attempts to rigidly obey God's Law in every point are inadequate in the sight of the Almighty Righteous Judge (Romans 3:20).

"There is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:22-23 (ESV)

How, then, is God able to forgive anyone?

"The righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law...the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe...and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus." Romans 3:21-26 (ESV)

Christians are not forgiven of sin because they ask God for forgiveness. No! Christians are forgiven of sin because God made Christ Jesus their propitiation by blood.

PROPITIATION: hilasterion (something expiatory, an atoning victim, figurative for the lid of the Ark in the Temple); from hilaskomai (to conciliate, to atone for sin, to be propitious); from hileos (cheerfully attractive, propitious, gracious)

Expiatory, or to expiate, means to make complete satisfaction for. It comes from a Latin word meaning to seek to appease or purify with sacred rites.

To atone means to agree or make amends for an offense. It comes from "at one".

To conciliate means to gain good will or favor by pleasing acts, to cause to agree or make compatible, to win over or gain the good will of. It comes from a Latin word meaning to draw together, unite, from a word meaning council.

Our work toward forgiveness, including even the simple act of asking for forgiveness, means absolutely nothing in the sight of The Almighty Righteous Judge of the world. Only the work accomplished by Christ Jesus is effective. Only through His perfect obedience and sacrifice for our sin can we hope for forgiveness from God.

The sacrifice of Christ Jesus satisfied the requirement for punishment that we deserve for our sin. The life, death, burial and resurrection of Christ Jesus makes forgiveness possible for us.

God becomes both just (Rewarder of good and Punisher of sin) and the justifier (Forgiver of sin).

This forgiveness of sin is effective, or valid, only for "the one who has faith in Jesus":

"It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus." Romans 3:26 (ESV)

FAITH: pistis (persuasion, credence, conviction, reliance upon or constancy in); from peitho (to convince, pacify or conciliate, to assent to or rely upon)

To plan to sin, to allow time and means for sinning, with the expectation that God will forgive simply because one asks, demonstrates ignorance of how and why God forgives anyone. To presume upon God's forgiveness without recognizing the cost He endured for that forgiveness is to ignore the life, death, burial and resurrection of Christ Jesus. It is a presumption that is faithless.

It is a false sense of forgiveness.

It does not bring God's forgiveness and the sinner remains a sinner, accountable to God for punishment.

It brings death.

Image provided by Ted, Creative Commons License