Why Do Christians Continue to Sin? (Pt 7)

Daily Devotion | Day 357

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood . . .” (Romans 3:23-25, NKJV).

What Paul wrote in Romans 3:23 has gained popularity in many Christian circles. In fact, many Christians know that passage by heart. Even those who have not memorized it are familiar with its words. Different people quote the Bible for different reasons and for different purposes. Romans 3:23 is one of the most misused passages of the New Testament. It is misused because it is often taken out of context. Paul said a lot of things in his Letter to the Romans, often explaining a point over several lines. Therefore, it is irresponsible, and even dangerous, to pull a line from Romans and try to make a case out of that line alone.

Some quote Romans 3:23 as a justification for the recurrence of sin in the believer’s life and for his inability to cease from all sin. For them, what Paul said in that passage amounts to something like this: “Christians still remain sinful people. Consequently, though we should not sin, all Christians will sin from time to time. Everyone falls short of the glory of God. No one is or can be perfect. No one can overcome sin completely; it is just by grace that we all can approach God through the blood of Jesus.” Because of this thinking, many Christians live far below their calling (and ability) to live holy and righteous. Furthermore, this way of reading Paul’s words is unfortunate, for it creates a conducive environment for sin to continue among believers. To successfully respond to our calling to be holy, it is important that we read Romans 3:23 in context.

First of all, when Paul said, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” he was stating the past sinful condition of Jews and Gentiles. He was in no way suggesting that this would be the condition of those who believed in Christ. Paul said, “all have sinned;” he did not say, “all will continue to sin or remain sinners.” There is a big difference between the two. In Romans 3:23, Paul was not describing the born again life. In the born again life, Christians do not fall short of the glory of God. On the contrary, as Paul himself admits, “we all [Christians], with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory . . .” (2 Corinthians 3:18). Therefore, to use Romans 3:23 to explain (or justify) the recurrence of sin among Christians misses Paul’s point. It further demonstrates a serious misunderstanding of what it means to be born again.

Another reason we cannot apply Romans 3:23 to Christians is because of what Paul says next in Romans 3:24. Paul writes that we are “justified freely by His [God’s] grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” This means believers have been washed from their sins and brought into a righteous condition before God. In addition, they have been redeemed from the bondage of sin. The problem of sin identified in v. 23 is countered by the solution of justification and redemption offered in v. 24. Therefore, Christians do not have an excuse to continue to sin. In fact, they have no business quoting v. 23 to justify why they remain sinful. Christians were sinners; but they no longer are sinners. They now are redeemed. An unredeemed person might have an excuse, but a Christian has no excuse; none. The problem in v. 23 is over. We now live in the reality of v. 24.

Unfortunately, many Christians fail to distinguish between the reality described in v. 23 and the one described in v. 24. As a result, they suffer from a crisis of identity. This crisis is largely responsible for the failure of many Christians to live without sin. To change this situation, we need to re-examine what the Scriptures teach about redemption and how redemption impacts our victory over sin.

To be continued tomorrow, God willing. Until then, know that you are redeemed. The power of sin is broken. Stand your ground and enjoy the redeemed life. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

For further studyRomans 5:1-21

Meet Jesus, the Captain of Our Salvation

Daily Devotional: Day 149

“For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings” (Hebrews 2:10, NKJV).

God made Jesus the Captain of our salvation. Jesus is not one of many captains of our salvation. Jesus does not have a co-captain. He, and He alone, is the Captain of our salvation. This title and role was not conferred on Jesus for free. He earned it by paying a heavy price. How do we know that Jesus earned it? Today’s opening Scripture tells us. It says God had a plan to bring many sons to glory. “Many sons” is referring to us who are born again and destined for salvation. The Father wanted many children (us) to share in His heavenly glory. But Someone had to pay the price and lead the way. God, therefore, appointed His Son to become the Captain of our salvation. And, God made the Captain perfect through sufferings. The glory of God is now upon us because of what Jesus did.

 Jesus’ sufferings did not begin on “Palm Sunday,” “Holy Thursday” or “Good Friday.” Jesus started suffering as a baby. He was born in a manger, exposed to the elements, and deprived of the basic comfort of normal birthing conditions. Still as an infant, His life was in danger because of King Herod’s fury. We can go on and on, counting the sufferings of Christ. The Cross was only the culmination of His sufferings. It was in this crucible of sufferings that Jesus was made the Captain of our salvation.

Because Jesus is our Captain, you can be confident that you are on the winning team. Jesus has never failed as a Captain, and He never will. Your salvation rests on the solid ground of Jesus’ captainship. This also means that obeying the voice of the Captain is key to your success. Be of good cheer and know that, no matter the challenges you face, your Captain will never let you down. Know that you are child of glory through Captain Jesus.

May the Lord let His face shine on you today! Amen.

For further study: John 17:20-26

Home of Glory

Daily Devotional: Day 122

Jesus answered and said to him [Judas], “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him” (John 14:23, NKJV).

Every normal person goes where he knows he is welcome and accepted. It is the same with God. Jesus and His Father go where they are obeyedloved, and welcome. They don’t just move in with anyone. That is what Jesus is saying to us today. There is only one way to show Jesus that you love Him: by keeping His word, i.e. by doing what He tells you. Jesus adds that if you do this, the Father will love you. And both the Father and the Son will come to you and they shall make Their home with you. Blessed indeed are you if Almighty God and His Son make Their home with you! But this moving in of God has conditions attached to it, as Jesus tells us in the passage. God will not make His home with you if you don’t want that arrangement. Jesus’ message is precise. Therefore, let’s talk about some of its essential aspects.

If you pay attention to Jesus’ words, you’ll notice He doesn’t say that He and the Father will visit you. They are not planning on a visit. Nor are they planning on checking in at your hotel and leave upon completion of their stay. Rather, they are planning on taking up residence with you. They are coming to settle with you – in perpetuity. This is the highest form of intimacy and fellowship with God you can dream of on this earth. Imagine the blessings that will flow from this intimacy. Nothing beats it. 

Next, Jesus says He and the Father will make their home with you. This means they are not planning on being your guests. They are moving in to take over. Henceforth, it shall be their home. They are not coming to rent a room in your house. They will not be tenants in your home. No, they will bring their home to you. They shall be the Host and you shall be the guest. In modern parlance, they shall run the show.

Consequently, you will voluntarily relinquish any, and all, control. They will set the ground rules and dictate the terms of their stay with you. Sin, ungodliness and disobedience shall not be welcome in the home. Only love, holiness and obedience shall be welcome. The Father and the Son shall protect and provide for the home and fill it with the sweet fragrance of their divine presence. They shall love you, teach you, train you, develop you, grant you deeper access to their heart, and mold you into the very image of Christ. This life of fellowship shall be unto you a foretaste of heavenly glory.

 If you have read and agreed to the terms and conditions of the Father and His Son coming to make their home with you, you’ve made the right decision. Enjoy heaven on earth!

Pray to the Father about today’s message.

For further study: 1 John 2:1-29

Worship the Lord Alone

Daily Devotional: Day 43

“And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine” (Luke 4:6-7, KJV)

Satan’s goal hasn’t changed; he wants to be worshiped. He’s determined to usurp the throne of God and get people to worship him, in place of the one true God. And he can get people to worship him directly or indirectly, consciously or unconsciously. Today’s scripture recalls Jesus’ victory over the Devil’s temptations during his forty-day fast. In this instance, the Devil showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world in a moment. Then, observe what happens next. He promises to give Jesus all the power and glory of the world, on one condition: If Jesus would worship him. The Greek word for worship used here is proskuneo. It means, among other things, to fall prostrate, to bow or kneel in reverence. Jesus, of course, rejected Satan’s suggestion.

However, the Enemy’s statement reveals much about his intentions. He controls the glory and power of the world. The words “glory” and “power” used in this context refer, not to the physical universe or creation, but the systems of the world: the materialistic and consumerist culture, the exaltation of self, the insatiable craving for attention and fame, greed, corrupt financial systems, the unholy glamor of the entertainment industry, ungodly systems of education, systems of injustice and oppression, anti-Christ ideologies, false religions, and evil political powers who together dominate and influence world affairs. Through the glory and power of these systems, Satan rules the world in unrighteousness.

The Devil gets many people to compromise their conscience as well as their moral and religious values for the sake of worldly power and the approval of people. Jesus knew this trap and avoided it. Even today, some “Christians” have fallen for the charm of worldly power and glory. But the truth is, when you choose worldly power and glamor over the truth of God’s Word, you become a worshiper of power and glory. And the moment you worship power and glory, you inevitably become a worshiper of the Devil. This is what Satan wanted Jesus to do.

Recall, moreover, what happened in the Garden of Eden. Satan enticed Eve with a supposed power to make her and Adam like God. Given the choice between power and God, Eve chose power. Adam, too, when presented with the choice between Eve and God’s truth, chose his wife, i.e. he chose to obey his wife rather than obey the commandment of God his Maker. To overcome this and other temptations of the flesh, we must follow Jesus’ counsel, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).

Pray:

Dear Father, you’re all I want. In Christ, you have given me your own glorious life and power. In the Name of Jesus, I worship you alone and I refuse to bow to anything that is not you. Amen.

For further study: Daniel 3:1-30

Receive Revelation

Daily Devotional: Day 23

“That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven” (Mark 4:12, KJV).

Pay attention to Jesus’ words in today’s Bible verse. He says that there are those who see, but do not perceive. Notice the distinction between seeing and perceiving. He further says that there are others who hear, but do not understand. Again, notice the distinction Jesus draws between hearing and understanding. Then, he concludes that the inability to perceive or understand blocks people from being converted and having their sins forgiven. Jesus doesn’t deny that they have access to information about God. His point is that to perceive and understand is better than seeing and hearing. Fortunately, none of this is complicated. Just ask the Father to grant you the spirit of wisdom and of revelation (See Ephesians 1:17). Jesus came to into the world to give us revelation about the Father and to unveil his eternal plan for us. 

All revelation includes information, but not all information includes revelation. The Devil has access to the information in the Bible, but he has no revelation of the Word of God. If he did, perhaps we would be having a different conversation. He walks, because of his pride, in the darkness of ignorance. The Christian life is more than accumulation of information about God. Revelation is the key to salvation and subsequent spiritual growth. If you stay with just information, you’ll become spiritually stagnant and anemic. Information, of course, is an important first step. But you must go a step further – where you walk in the glorious light of God’s Word. The eyes of your understanding must be open, enabling you to perceive the splendor of your Father and your place in his eternal plan.  Enjoy this song by Hillsong, as you receive revelation today.

 

Pray:

Father, your Word is a light unto my path and a lamp unto my feet. You sent your Son to reveal you to us. I want to know you more. Grant me a spirit of wisdom of revelation in the knowledge of you. I thank you that you always hear me. Glory to you forever, in Jesus Name. Amen.

For further study: Acts 8: 26-40

Enjoy blessings of revelation today!

Pastor Stephen “Steve” Alfred Bilson-Ogoe

Charis Temple (non-denominational church)

Manassas, Virginia, USA

Email: charristemple@gmail.com

Office Phone: (888)-541-5594