Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Justification and loving sinners

My next few post will focus on things that I gleaned from the singles care group leaders retreat I was on this past weekend.

For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being
sanctified. (Hebrews 10:14).

One of the things that I love about our church is the emphasis on the cross. One of our discussions was about qualifications for leadership. Something they emphasized as they gave us the assignment before the retreat and during the actual discussion is to realize that we are all sinners worthy of God’s wrath, but because of the cross we’ve been made right with God. What freedom we have to not feel condemned. What a joy to realize the criticism of the cross, that we will never measure up to God’s standard, but God made Himself man, so that proper substitution can be made for our weakness and failure.

I read a wonderful quote a few weeks back that said, “For every one look at your sin take ten looks at Christ.” There are two wonderful truths that can be realized when we view our sin in light of the cross. First, by realizing that we are justified sinners then the glorious truth comes to life that all sin is forgiven sin. Secondly, every sin that we will ever struggle with has been defeated at Calvary. We are no longer tied and bound to our sins, but instead we have power and strength in Christ to overcome our sins. What great confidence can we have that through the cross there is power for change!

This is a great truth for personal growth as well as leading a care group. This truth probably most resonates with me in light of marriage and preparing for marriage. This view of sin in light of justification totally alters my perception of my relationship with Laura. She is a sinner chosen and loved by God. God has granted her forgiveness and mercy at the cross, so no matter how I perceive her sin against me I have no option but to forgive her. This forgiveness is a total and complete forgiveness. God has redeemed all of her, He doesn’t say “I’ll love this aspect of Laura, but when she is really sinful then my love is no more.” Because of the cross God loves Laura unconditionally, and because of the cross I can unconditionally love Laura no matter the circumstance.

My motivation to encourage Laura in her ability to grow in godliness isn’t because of her own strength or ability. Instead, I can encourage Laura’s growth because of the cross and everything she needs to grow was accomplished at Calvary. When Laura is discouraged about her sin, instead of encouraging her about who she is, I can encourage her about who her God is and the growth He has already produced in her. On top of that, I never have to be downtrodden or upset because of where Laura is at spiritually, instead I can be patient because of the faithfulness of God and knowing that He will complete the good work He has started in her.

No comments: