Daily Devotion | Day 353
“For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example that you should follow His steps: ‘Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth’” (1 Peter 2:21-22, NKJV).
The first thing we addressed yesterday is the idea, prevalent among most Christians, that it is impossible to cease completely from all sin and live the rest of one’s life without sinning again. Because this idea is ingrained in people, they accept the recurrence of sin as ‘normal,’ an expected outcome in human life. This belief is an implicit admission of defeat; that no matter how hard Christians fight, they will still sin at some point. In short, according to this position, sinning is inevitable. What they are (unconsciously) implying is, the Cross of Christ cannot supply us power to cease from all sin. Not even the power of the Holy Spirit in us can assist us to defeat all sin once and for all.
What is shocking is, most of these same people (if not all of them) believe that Jesus has given us power to cast out demons. Apparently, Jesus has given us all power except the power to not sin again. The contradiction is obvious. Until Christians abandon this lie and believe the Bible truth (that it is possible to not sin again in one’s life), the recurrence of sin will be the prevailing reality in our churches.
Today we will deal with another factor which contributes to why Christians continue to sin. It is this: There is a belief among some Christians that Jesus died for our sins because He knew we could not stop sinning. Hence, some put it this way: “If we could stop sinning altogether, why then did Jesus die for us?” At first glance, this belief seems well-founded. However, the Bible talks about the very opposite, which is: Jesus died for us so that we would not sin again. The Cross of Jesus is where sinning stops. Jesus died to empower us to stop sinning and to live the rest of our lives in holiness and righteousness.
Every Christian knows, of course, that the Cross is where we obtain forgiveness for all our sins. But there is more to the Cross than forgiveness. Forgiveness is only one side of the equation. The other side of the equation is where there is (and must be) a cessation of sin in the believer’s life. At the Cross, Jesus grants both forgiveness of sin and the power to cease from sin. Recall the stories we cited yesterday about the man Jesus healed and the woman caught in adultery (John 5:14; 8:11). Notice that in both instances two things happened simultaneously. Jesus forgave them both, but His forgiveness was followed by the commandment to “sin no more.” He was not just commanding them for the sake of commanding them; He was empowering them to go and do exactly what His command required.
Put differently, the command to “sin no more” contained the ability to perform what the command demanded. If Jesus had not given them the ability, He would have no right to demand what He was demanding. Here is a spiritual truth: As soon as Jesus’ word is obeyed, the power in His word goes into effect in the person who obeys it, and the word begins to energize the person, causing him to manifest what is contained in the word. This is what happens when Christians are saved.
When we approach the Cross, we receive two things: a) the washing away of our sins and b) the ability to cease from sin. Unfortunately, many Christians emphasize the first part and ignore the second. This leads to ‘truncated salvation’ (if there is such a thing). Salvation from sins means forgiveness from sins as well as the ability to cease committing sin. Contrary to what some suppose, Jesus died not because we could not stop sinning, but because He wanted to empower us to stop sinning. This is the essence of grace and the essence of the Cross.
We did not talk about today’s opening Scripture, but we have to pause here. God willing, we will discuss the passage tomorrow as we build upon what we have said today. Until then, may the Lord keep you from all harm and let His face shine upon you. Amen.
For further study: 1 Peter 1:1-25