Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Children of Designer Gods (part 4)

How much can I get away with and still go to Heaven?
That's the question asked on a bumper sticker seen on and off over the years.  The fact that the questions has been asked should make us wonder what's going on in the mind of the person asking.  Does the questioner think that there's a certain sin limit that can be approached, but not exceeded, before God's wrath is incurred?  The whole question there is just wrong in so many ways; we'll look at the practical and the theological only.
First, we never "get away" with sin.  Sin can be forgiven--and made of no eternal consequence--by merely confessing it asking God to forgive it.  That provided that a person has made a commitment to Christ, taking Him as personal Savior.  However, the sin will just about always bring some measure of consequence in this life.  Stealing, for instance will put the thief at odds with the person from whom he steals and might very well be dealt with by the courts and land him in jail.  Adultery, though confessed and forgiven will often put stresses and strains on a marriage, wrecking forever the trust that should be between a man and wife.  Lying will make a person unlikely to ever trust the liar again.  So how much did a person really "get away with?" On the theological side, the Apostle Paul deals with this in Romans, Chap. 6.  "...should we continue in sin that grace may abound?  God forbid!"  Some were saying that since God is a loving God (starting to sound familiar?), and gives grace freely, is it not better to take more grace by sinning more?  That is that statement to which Paul objects in such strong terms.
If you push God for his grace, are you really a child of His?  It's certainly fair to ask that question.
This should have been put to rest by the writings of Augustine of Hippo, many centuries ago--long before bumper stickers.  His statement, often written as "Love God and do as you please," on the surface might be misconstrued to think that we might live according the "how much....?" question above.  However, Augustine understood that if we love God we do what He wants, what His will is.  In context of how and what he wrote, that's very clear.
If you're asking how much you can get away with, I doubt that you poorly understand the nature of God.  The answer is NOTHING.

John 14:15
1 John 5:3
Psalms 119:167

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