Wednesday, July 1, 2015

When a person is saved, their sins are forgiven. And as I understand it, it is a popular concept to view ourselves as "flawless" in the eyes of God.  Can I let you in on something?  That's not true.  When you choose to accept as fact that Jesus is the only one who could, and did in fact die sinless, in order to make atonement to God on behalf of all the wrong you have done(past, present, and future), all in the name of justice and love, it doesn't mean that you are made perfect.  In fact what happens is, God has already accepted you, a long time ago, regardless of your present situation and circumstances, God accepted you and your flaws and sins in their entirety;  all that occurs, is you accept God as you are, flaws and all.  Knowing (or not) that God is going to try to help you out of your sins and it's not going to be fun to say the least.  Then the most remarkable thing happens...

 You keep your imperfections, you do not become perfect.  Nope, not one bit more perfect than you ever were or ever will be.  God doesn't take away your flaws, He doesn't make it easier for you to overcome the sins you struggle with either,  God doesn't stop the hand of Satan that is unceasingly working to take down all that is good and wholesome and beneficial in your life.  He doesn't make you instantly stop cussing, or looking at porn.  God doesn't make those longings for "that other woman" stop.  He doesn't make you become a better mom and stop yelling at your kids when you are exhausted and "just done".  God doesn't make those intense feelings of hatred and unforgiveness for someone transform into feelings of love and forgiveness.  Nope.  Not.  One.  Little.  Bit.  

In fact, in my personal experience, the things I struggle with the most, get harder to deal with.  I seem to be bombarded with the battles more frequently and at a higher intensity.  Even ten years after I actually got saved, guess what....I still sin.  I am still no better of a person than I was before I had Christ in my life.  Now my struggles and sins have definitely shifted to other areas of life and different arenas, some sins have been overcome even, but i can promise you this, sin is still there and still abundant.  

So do you know what actually does happen when you get "saved"?  First off, you recognize who Jesus is and what He did for you, and (in my case) the magnitude of what Jesus did was an overwhelming factor for the next thing that took place.  I saw the selflessness and the love and the lack of judgement in what took place, and that led me to the next step in "salvation", which was, willingly deciding to do to others what Jesus did for me on the cross.  I must make every effort to be selfless, nonjudgmental of others in their sins, and love everybody all the time, regardless of where they were at in their life circumstances and situations.  I gave my heart to this cause, and I felt the Holy Spirit flood me and overwhelm my existence.

Now, 100% honest, when it happened, I did not know that I was "willingly deciding to  make every effort to be selfless, nonjudgmental of others in their sins, and love everybody all the time, regardless of where they were at in their life circumstances and situations."  What I actually said was this, "God, I recognize what happened for me with Jesus, I accept it, and I have trust that you have my best interests at heart, and I want to follow you where ever that means you plan to take me, because I believe that that is the best thing I can do for myself and for others."  Well it was that more or less.  I didn't realize what I was giving myself over to was to attempt to replicate the same love that Jesus had for me when He died for me on the cross, but I did realize that I was giving myself over to, quite literally, anything that God wanted me to do;  That "loving like Jesus loved me" kind of love just happened to be what that "anything" was.  

What I did realize was this, I was not instantly "fixed" of my "problems", rather, I had to work at overcoming them.  So the things that I struggled with like sexual immorality, cussing, bitterness, hatred, anger, negativity, arrogance, etc...(I promise you the list is excessively longer) I found out that, God didn't take away the bad things, but I had to intentionally work at them in order to overcome them, as well as I had to realize that I did not have the ability to overcome these things in their entirety unless I was focusing on God and His place in my life. 

When I started asking God to show me what He wanted me to do about certain things in my life, as I would pray and study the Bible, He began to give me the answers in His timing.  This allowed me to get to know God, as well as it kept me humble(not that I show it well).

What I am getting at with all of this is, God doesn't make us flawless, rather He calls us to something much more difficult and much more rewarding than perfection.  He calls us to work at becoming more like Him as we know Him deeper.  He wants a relationship with us, not an example of an ideal standard.  He wants us to overcome our sins and come out of our pain, yes;  but He offers His help and His hand 100% of the way.  His help to guide us to what is a better way, and His hand to hold us, and help us back up to try again when we fail.  And fail we will.  He still loves us in our failures.  He still loves us in our sins.  

Now this is not a get out of jail free card like you may think.  We still have to try to overcome our sins.  If we are trying, then there is no cause for worry.  It is when we say, "yeah it's wrong, but God will forgive me," that we commit the wrong.  That is taking advantage of the willing, selfless death of Christ, and the unconditional love of God, as well as the guiding presence of the Holy Spirit;  and that is not loving in a way that reflects the love of Christ on the Cross.  It is wrong, when we know what we are doing is wrong and we continue to proceed with it anyway, and there are consequences for that.(This to, I can personally attest to.)  

I think I could go on for quite awhile about these things, but I believe it is about time for me to wrap this one up.  So, Point, salvation, does not make you flawless.  Rather it makes you forgiven in your sins, and it also should draw you in a direction that begs for you to call on the help of God to pull you out of your sins.  In so doing, You are made no better or worse than the next person in line, so to speak, but you are equally just as guilty of wrongs and in need of help as the next person.  In Christ, you are no better or worse than anyone else, saved or unsaved, instead you are held to a higher standard of unconditional love and forgiveness that you are expected to show to everyone on this entire planet, on your best, as well as your worst, days.  You are not excused from consequences because you are saved, you are not perfect because you are saved.  You do not quit having bad days, you are not instantly relieved of temptations because you are saved.  You are also not allowed to look down on anyone, or overlook anyone just because you are saved....or for any other reason for that matter.  Because you are not instantly made flawless, you remain in a position to help and to love others where they are at.  
........This is all important to remember, because this world is full of pain and hurt.  It takes shape in many different forms.  But the truth is we all suffer from various different forms of pain.  We are meant to love all people, no exceptions, and we show love most clearly when people are hurting.  If we are not made flawless, that means we can still feel pain.  If we can still feel pain, that means that we are able to have a genuine compassion for others when they are in their pain, even when the pains we suffer from are different.  All pain, is healed by true, unconditional, forgiving, patient love.  So if we can show love to those who need it to heal by showing genuine compassion to those who are in pain, then we reflect the love that Christ showed to us by His death on the cross.  

So, when you become saved, you do not become flawless.  You remain flawed, and in that sense, you remain human, and in so doing, become quite capable of showing Godly love, in a way that only two completely flawed people can understand something so flawless.

“For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.” - Saint Augustine of Hippo

Kristin Wann- Family Editor


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