I was sitting hear watching ESPN and it has just been announced today that Michael Vick is going to plead guilty to charges that have been brought against him regarding dog fighting and gambling. As I sat there judging him, I realized that the sin in his life is no worse than the sin in mine. Christ had to die on the cross for both of us and everything that we would ever think, say, or do that goes against His will. I actually began to feel sorry for Vick as I realized the implications of his sin: his image and life probably ruined, a potentially incredible NFL career ruined, and iminent jail time and fines. I’ve got sin in my life, but I haven’t had to pay those kinds of prices here on earth.
I have struggled with the question posed here in a very real way for quite a bit of my life. Can I really be forgiven for all my sins, even the really bad ones? In my head I understood that Christ died for me and that I would be going to heaven, but I really wrestled with the fact that God forgives all my sins. The struggle for me wasn’t so much the size of the sin but the frequency of it. Would God forgive me of the sins I continually do, even though I don’t want to do them? I realized I sounded quite a bit like Paul as he reflected in Romans 7:19
19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. (NLT)
Paul continually struggled with sin in his life. I continually struggle with sin in my life. You continually struggle with sin in your life. We are all a bunch of sinners! But as for Paul and me (and hopefully you), we are forgiven.
I finally came to a very serious realization. When Christ died on the cross as the ultimate sacrifice for all sin and validated what He did through the resurrection, it truly was finished. If I am forgiven of the things that I can manage, control, and cease from doing, but not forgiven of the big ones that I struggle with on a regular basis, then Christ’s work on the cross isn’t complete. It wasn’t enough. And if that’s the case, why do I need Him in the first place? That’s when I began to realize that no matter what I have done, do, or will do in my life I am eternally forgive because of Christ.
“Brothers, listen! We are here to proclaim that through this man Jesus there is forgiveness for your sins. Everyone who believes in him is declared right with God—something the law of Moses could never do.”
My desire and ambition isn’t to continue in sin. I would much rather do without and live in the freedom that Jesus Christ has established for me. I’ll never be perfect but my desire it be like the One who is perfect!
Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death?