Good News for Repeat Sinners

“The LORD said to Moses, ‘Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.’ So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.” (Numbers 21:8-9)

What an odd verse.

Here’s the context. These verses come from Israel’s forty year wanderings in the wilderness. The book of Numbers contains stories of the multiple times when the Israelites grumble and complain against Moses and God. They are sick and tired of the lack of choices in their diet, lack of water, wandering around aimlessly, etc. In one of these complaint sessions they grumble against God and Moses saying, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!”

In response God sends venomous snakes. Many die. Then the Israelites come to Moses, repent and beg Moses to pray to God. God responds with our verses of the day.

But there is an even more poignant context we should not miss. Jesus refers to this text saying, “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him” (John 3:14-15). This comes right before the most famous saying of Jesus in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Here we come to the crux of grace. All that people needed to do in order to be saved from the venomous snakes was to look at the snake. That’s it. God provided a way to save people from death. Who they were, what they did, what they didn’t do – none of that mattered. The only thing that anyone needed to do was to accept God’s plan for salvation and look at the snake.

This is the scandal of grace. There is nothing we can do to save ourselves. Nothing. It is all God. God makes a way.

All that the Israelites needed to do to be saved was to look at the snake. In the same way, all that we need to do in order to be saved is to look at Jesus and receive God’s plan for salvation.

This too is the scandal of grace. Salvation is all God’s doing. Since we were saved by grace, it is no surprise that our salvation is guaranteed by Christ and Christ alone.

Hear the good news repeat sinners: the efficacy of salvation doesn’t depend our performance. It is all God. It is all grace. Just as our performance has nothing to do with the efficacy of salvation, our performance has nothing to do with God’s strength to love us and keep us in salvation. It’s all God. It’s all grace.

Yes, our repeat sins grieve the heart of God. So God makes a way for us to confess our sins and repent. Keep following the Son. When you fail, confess your sin, repent and trust in God’s grace. Nothing can separate us from the love of God, not even our repeat sins.

Keep looking to the Son. Follow him.

Just As if We Had Never Sinned…

“For our sake he made him who knew no sin so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

As we saw yesterday, it is true that we are not only sinners but repeat sinners. We have this sinning thing down pat.

How then is it that God can continue to be for us, love us, be kind and gracious to us, and forgive us over and over and over and over again?

While you and I remember our sins even after we have confessed and repented – and when we forget, the devil is quick to remind us of our sins – God does not. One of the greatest promises in all of the Bible is found in Psalm 103:10-12. Check this out!

He does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
So great is his love for those who fear him;
As far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

The moment you and I confess our sins, our sins are in the process of being removed from us and from the presence of God. They are speeding away from us so that when God sees us, God no longer sees a sinner but a child of God covered by the righteousness of Christ.

The very moment we receive Jesus as Lord and Savior, as far as God is concerned, we are as righteous as Jesus is!

Think about that! That is amazing!!! That is grace. That is love. That is God.

Spend some time thinking on this truth and give thanks to our Savior. Thank him for at least three things this morning.

Keep At It! Keep Struggling! Keep Battling!

“He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities” (Psalm 103:10).

Thank God!

If God were to treat me as my sins deserve I would be toast! I would have no hope.

You see, I am not just merely a sinner. I am a repeat sinner!

One of the things that frustrates me most about my walk is how I continue to sin on such a stinking regular basis. There is not a single day where I make it through the entire day without sinning.

Sometimes I wonder how God puts up with me. God’s patience and kindness toward this sinner astonishes me.

As a person matures as a Christian, they become more sensitive to sin because they become ever more aware of sin and how much sin disappoints and hurts God. Sin impacts maturing Christians more deeply because of our awareness of how much our sins hurt God.

The most frustrating thing about sin is that I will continue to sin until the moment I die. I will continue to battle this flesh and its desires.

But, don’t be discouraged by that. It is a good thing that we struggle with sin. It would be far worse if we weren’t. The struggle itself is proof that the Holy Spirit of God is at work within us.

Remember God’s promise. Remember the truth of this verse.

God does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. God loves you. God is rooting for you. God is with you and appreciates you striving to be more like him.

Keep at it. Keep struggling. Keep battling.