Summary: Forgiveness through Christ
FORGIVENESS THROUGH CHRIST
Although many people have accepted God’s love and forgiveness by receiving Christ, they often find it hard to experience that love and forgiveness in their daily lives. The reason this happens is that they have taken their eyes off their unchangeable position in Christ.
Let’s trace the problem from the start…
Sometimes your old nature (the flesh) gets the upper hand in your life and you disobey God. Immediately you sense that something is wrong. Up to this point everything has been going great, but now, suddenly, you realize that they presence and power of Jesus Christ in your life don’t seem as strong as before.
You have sinned against God and you know it. What do you do now?
Before we answer this question there is something important to consider. Pay very close attention…
There are two kinds of Christians in the world…
SPIRITUAL and CARNAL
Spiritual believers live according to their POSITION.
Carnal believers living according to their EXPERIENCE.
The experience of the spiritual believer is most often controlled by position in Christ. On the other hand, the experience of the carnal believer is most often controlled by the environment of experience. (Later we will examine the subject of spirituality in detail.) Being spiritual (or spirituality) is a condition. It’s not exactly the same thing as spiritual maturity, but they are related.
True spirituality exists when you act according to the new self, Jesus Christ being in control. When you are spiritual—when the new creature created in Christ Jesus dominates your experience—you are able to mature spiritually. The process of spiritual growth is active when you are spiritual.
Carnality exists when the old sin nature, (the self, the flesh) is in control. Carnality, too, is a condition. When this condition prevails in your life, spiritual growth is hindered and your relationship with Christ isn’t vital and active.
Look at some of the differences between a spiritual believer and a carnal believer:
A spiritual believer relies on God’s power. A carnal believer relies on his own strength.
A spiritual believer is spiritually sensitive. A carnal believer is spiritually dull.
A spiritual believer has a fruitful life. A carnal believer rarely produces fruit in the Christian life.
A spiritual believer realizes his unworthiness, but trusts his position in Christ. A carnal believer often doesn’t realize that he’s carnal.
A spiritual believer has victory over sin. A carnal believer live in slavery to sin.
The Bible has much to say about these two kinds of Christians.
“I (Paul), brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh…” (1 Corinthians 3:1)
“For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.” (Romans 8:5-11)
The spiritual believer is controlled and empowered by the Holy Spirit (the indwelling Christ) and sees life from God’s perspective.
The carnal believer lives by his own power and sees life from his own experience.
WHICH KIND OF CHRISTIAN ARE YOU?
Both spiritual and carnal believers have God’s love and forgiveness. They both share the same position in Christ. Both are equally saved from God’s point of view. So, what’s the difference?
One has learned to apply the principle of position to daily experience, while the other has not.
Now, let’s see how each kind of Christian handles the sin in his life…
THE CARNAL BELIEVER
Has just disobeyed God. He has sin in his life. And then it begins to set in…
Because he doesn’t understand his position in Christ and the love and forgiveness that are already his, he tries to relieve himself of the guilt by one or more of several methods.
1. IGNORING IT (“What sin?”)
2. MAKING EXCUSES (“Everybody’s doing it!”)
3. RATIONALIZING (“It’s the way I was raised.”)
4. COMPENSATING (“I’ll just attend church more often.”)
5. SELF PUNISHMENT (I’m such a terrible person!”)
6. TRYING HARDER (I know I can do better!”)
7. MAKING PROMISES (“I promise I won’t do it again!”)
8. SHIFTING THE BLAME (It really was her fault.”)
9. FALSE DEPRESSION (“I just want some sympathy!”)
10. GIVING UP (I just can’t live the Christian life!”)
The carnal believer tries one, then another. Then in combinations. But the guilt just won’t go away.
But in a few days it doesn’t seem so bad. He starts feeling better—and then it happens again! Up one day and down the next—the carnal believer seems to be riding a spiritual roller coaster. How in the world can he ever get off?
If this is you, you know the frustration. Every Christian struggles with this. You come to the point in your life where you say, “OK, Lord! If you think this is so easy, then you try it!”