Throughout the Old Testament, God speaks against his people having a rebellious spirit. The Jews of that time lived under the Old Covenant, when sin had to be atoned for with blood sacrifices and very particular ceremonies. Thank Jesus, we don’t live under that covenant, because it was impossible to be pure. When Christ died as redemption for all sin, past and future, the blood sacrifice and ceremony were finished, once and for all. Your sins do require blood sacrifice, but Christ paid that on your behalf.
Now, under the New Covenant, we live in freedom of that knowledge – that if we are Christians, our sins have been and will be atoned. We can be pure, if we choose to be. The Holy Spirit, managing our will, creates a deep and reverent respect for Christ’s sacrifice, so much so that we long to be righteous. We long to please Jesus, by following his instructions for living, which he gave to us in the bible.
I want to interject here and say that sometimes, I don’t want to be pure. Sometimes, though Christ abides in me, my human will sneaks in and says, let’s talk about that person’s issues, and my talk becomes gossip. The Holy Spirit always tells me to stop it and get back on track, but I have to obey those directions if I am to abide in Christ and him in me. Like I said earlier, it is human nature to sin, and we are humans. No one is exempt from the allure of sin. Its allure becomes weaker, though, as my faith and desire for Jesus becomes stronger.
Jesus died to redeem our sins so that we can confidently approach the throne of God with our requests, thanks, and worship. When I sin, I can go to God and earnestly apologize. Under the Old Covenant, there was no going directly to God. There was only atonement through blood sacrifice and ceremony.
Jesus Gets Me
In Hebrews 4:14- 16, Paul says: “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
Jesus gets us. He’s been tempted by sin. The difference between me and Jesus is, he didn’t give in. He never gave in, and he never will. From him, I can gain my strength to do the same. David wrote Psalm 121, which inspires me toward goodness during times of temptation. “I lift up my eyes to the hills– where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and Earth. Indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.”
Satan is the prince of the air on this planet (Eph. 2:2); he’s still around all the time and he still wants us. Perhaps he wants us now more than ever before, because each day we are getting closer to his ultimate demise. Anything and anyone he can steal, kill, or destroy (John 10:10) makes him exuberant.
Mix this with the understanding that humans have free will to obey Jesus or follow sin, and you’ll realize just how important it is to remain faithful to the urgings of the Spirit within you. Otherwise, you’re prone to fall into sin over and over and over again. The struggle is consistent. We can quickly and easily embrace a rebellious spirit. Luke 9:23 instructs us to pick up our crosses daily and follow Christ. Paul tells us to pray, without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17). These tasks are necessary for us to keep our desire on Christ, not sin.
The “I Don’t Care” Mentality
Spiritual apathy — which includes but is not limited to losing the desire for bible reading, prayer, worship, and meeting with other Christians — is a Slip and Slide that will deliver you into a pit. You’ll lose your balance. You’ll begin to fall, and Satan will be standing there with a bag of banana peels and a water hose to make sure that you cannot stop moving farther from Christ.
These little spiritual apathies are the result of selfishness, which is not of God. Not caring about discipleship and growth in Christ always pave the way to spiritual rebellion. Before you know it, things you formerly saw as sinful become acceptable. The world agrees. You’re surrounded by spiritually apathetic people who support your new and seemingly improved view of life. You’ll want to be around them more and more, and you’ll begin to believe that your old way of thinking, the Christian life as laid out in the bible, is narrow minded, prejudiced, unaccepting, and unloving.
When, in truth, Jesus is the author and deliverer of all love and goodness. James, the brother of Christ tells us, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Heavenly Lights who does not change like shifting shadows (James 1:17).”
“Love one another, just as I have loved you (John 13:34).” That’s straight from the mouth of Jesus, the very man and God who took what you deserved as punishment for your sins, so that you can approach God and live eternally in heaven; so that you can inherit the Kingdom of God (Romans 8:17)! (Thinking of myself as an heir of heaven always excites me.)
Jesus accepted all sins for mankind – so, then, for us to say what God calls sin is not really bad – well, that is the thought of a spoiled child. It’s a lie from Satan.
Furthermore, Jesus did not tell us to love only Christians. In fact, his whole adult life on earth was about hanging out with people who needed God, not those who already knew God. He embraced the sinners, from prostitutes to thieves to adulterers to murderers. His life is an example we should live by, in all regards, not just those that suit us. Jesus does not hate sinners. He hates sin.