God keeps us clean

“Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. ¬†God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful” (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24, NLT).

Bissell Vacuum Cleaner

A vacuum cleaner company came up with a catchy slogan to try and sell their products: “Life is messy; clean it up.” I don’t know how many vacuums they sold, but the slogan was brilliant. We make messes and a lot of them are own fault. Some occur over and over and have to be continually swept up, while others are so big and terrible they seem to have no solution, causing some to lose hope.

Some believe repenting of sins is like getting a new carpet: God gives us a fresh start but it’s up to us to keep it clean. When Jesus forgave our sins from the cross, he did it once and for all. In Christ, we are clean and even though we aren’t perfect and still sin, the burden of staying clean is off our backs. He is the one who made us holy and blameless and he is the one who keeps us that way. We can live guilt free, resting in his grace, confident the one who is faithful will make it happen.

Jesus took our punishment

“For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past” (Romans 3:25, NLT).

Some have a problem with grace because on the surface, it may seem like a license to sin. If everything is forgiven, people can get away with anything. What of punishment? they ask. Shouldn’t mass murderers and child molesters have to suffer for their crimes? What about the rest of us, who have committed only “small” sins? When we read verses about having to give account of our lives, we inwardly tremble and wonder exactly what that means. For ourselves, we hope grace really will cover our sins, but shouldn’t the unrepentant get what they deserve?

God is the Father of all, more loving than any human parent could ever be, but he’s not just a loving Father, he is love (1 John 4:8). Would such a loving father devise a place of pain and torture for his children? Even human parents wouldn’t do that. Sin does have consequences which is why God came to earth as Jesus to take our punishment for us. Rather than give in to some twisted desire to see sinners get what they (we) deserve, we can trust God for his grace and mercy for all of humanity, for whom Jesus died (John 3:16).

Visit gci.org to listen to interviews with Trinitarian theologians.

More signs of Spring

Along with the good comes the bad – side by side in my garden, pretty flowers and weeds. I’m one of those rare California birds who actually does her own yard work so today found me outside mowing, edging, trimming, weeding and spraying even more weeds. It’s amazing how many weeds can grow in one small yard. I did have fun using my weed sprayer, especially on some errant Bermuda grass. I hate that stuff!

When we lived in Arizona, I tried unsuccessfully to keep the Bermuda grass out of my flower beds. I used to have nightmares about what I dubbed “devil grass.” I was told if you covered¬† your whole yard in black plastic, Bermuda grass would grow under it until it found a hole and it would come up and stick out its tongue at you. I can’t help but think of sin when I’m pulling out devil grass. We are never free from it, and even when we think we are, it lies in wait for an opportunity to reach out and grab us.

Paul put it so well in Romans 8 when he said, “When I want to do good, I don’t. And when I try not to do wrong, I do it anyway” (verse 19, NLT). “Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord” (verses 24-25). Thank God for his amazing grace that completely covers our sins. I just hope my weed spray works half as well.