Believers in Jesus Christ: Is God always pleased with us, no matter what we do? Now that we have been saved, by God’s grace, through faith in Jesus Christ, when God looks at us, can he see when we sin against him? Or, does he only see Jesus?
Can we believe in Jesus Christ, and be in genuine relationship with him, and our lives not change? Or, change very little? If our sins are all covered by the blood of Christ, does that mean we can now sin as much as we want and still have the hope of eternal life with God in glory?
The Lord Jesus led me to read 1 Thessalonians 4 (Select vv. ESV).
Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. V. 1
There is a popular teaching in the church these days, which has been around quite a few years, which says that, once you are a child of God, by faith in Jesus Christ, that God is pleased with you, no matter what you do. In fact, according to this teaching, a person could be vegging out on pornography, and God would be smiling at him (or her) and delighting in him (or her). And, added to that, in order to erase any guilt the person might feel for his (or her sin), he (or she) is told to just claim who they are in Christ. And, they are told that God can’t see the sin, anyway, but he only sees Jesus.
But, is this true? Is this biblical? Or, is this man-made teaching intended to erase any guilt anyone might feel for their sin and to give them carte blanche to continue in willful sin against God?
Well, first off, if we study the scriptures, it becomes abundantly clear that God is not pleased with us no matter what we do, because it speaks much to us on the subject of pleasing or displeasing God. But, how can we displease him if he can’t see our sin? And, isn’t that saying then that God is not all powerful and all-knowing and ever present? If he can’t see our sin? What does the Bible say on this subject?
“Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God” (Ro. 8:8).
“Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life” (Gal. 6:8).
“…so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Col. 1:10).
Obviously, God has to be able to see what we do for us to either please or to displease him. As well, if we sow to please the flesh, we will reap destruction, not eternal life. The Bible has much to say on the subject of walking in sin, according to the flesh, and making sin our practice. If we do that, we don’t have the hope of eternal life with God, but a fearful expectation of judgment and of fire (Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 5:19-21).
Yet, by genuine faith in Jesus Christ, we died with Christ to sin, and we were resurrected with Christ to newness of life in Christ Jesus. We were reconciled to God via the blood of Jesus Christ shed on a cross for our sins, and his righteousness is credited to our accounts so that we no longer stand condemned. So, we have been made righteous by the blood of Christ. Jesus took the penalty of our sin for us, so we could be set free. So, God no longer sees us as dead in our sins, but alive in Christ Jesus, our Lord, if we are in Christ by genuine faith in him.
But, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t see when we sin against him. Or, that it doesn’t matter to him anymore, now that our sins have been paid for by the blood of Christ.
“Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?” (Rom. 6:16)
“So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God” (Rom. 8:12-14).
These words were addressed to believers in Jesus Christ. They were being instructed and given the knowledge that “in Christ” does not mean free rein to sin. God’s grace did not provide a cover for them to continue in willful sinful practices. A saved life is a changed life, transformed of the Holy Spirit of God away from living to sin and self, to living for God, to please him.
For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you. Vv. 2-8
It is not God’s will that we should merely “believe” in him, and then continue on in slavery to sin, as though he did not die to set us free from addiction to sin. It is God’s will that we should live holy and godly lives, pleasing to him, and that we should walk in purity, not according to the flesh, for if we walk according to the flesh, we will die in our sins, not have heaven guaranteed.
If we can continue in willful sinful practices, and God can’t even see our sin, and he only sees Jesus, then why all these warnings to Christians? There are many of them in the New Testament, not just in the Old Testament. If God is smiling on us, and he is pleased with us no matter what we do, then why warn Christians that if they continue to give their bodies over to sexual immorality that they should know that God is an avenger of all these things?
It is because that it is those who WALK according to the Spirit who have eternal life with God, and it is because, if we WALK according to our sinful flesh, we will die in our sins. So, if we believe the lie that God is always pleased with us, and that he doesn’t even see our sin, and that we can just claim who we are in Christ, while we continue in degradation and depravity, then we will be in for a big surprise when God says to us one day, “I Never Knew You! Depart from me!”
So, stop living like it doesn’t matter what you do and as though you can count on heaven even if you live like hell. It doesn’t work that way. Not only must we live holy lives, pleasing to God, and abstain from all immorality, but this means that we must not entertain ourselves with the sinful practices of the world, either, via TV, movies, music, video games, the internet, and the like, for we are not to be partakers in any way with what is immoral.
Pornography viewing, for instance, is not just entertainment or a hobby or a release from tension, etc. It is immorality and, if you are married, it is adultery, plain and simple. You are willfully sinning against, not only God, but against your spouse, and against those in the pornographic pictures or videos, against yourself, and against all who are being influenced by your wrong choices. You are choosing self over all else, and with no regard to who might get hurt in the process. This is a totally selfish act! And, God is definitely not pleased, and he is aware of your actions!
So, please take these words in these scripture passages seriously, for your eternity depends on it, as well as does your life in the here and now.
Teach Me, Lord
An Original Work / June 12, 2011
Teach me, Lord, to walk in Your ways,
And observe all You command.
May I ever hasten to You,
And desire to not offend.
Teach me how to follow Your steps,
Gently guiding me each day.
May I love and serve You always,
Loving others, this I pray.
Teach me, Lord, to listen to You
Speaking Your words to my heart.
May I never stray from Your truth,
And from Your law ne’er depart.
Teach me how to instruct others
In the way that we should go,
Leading them by my life witness,
So that Jesus they should know.
Teach me, Lord, to be a light in
This dark world of grief and sin.
May I always care for others;
Share their burdens; help to mend.
Teach me how to share with them that
Jesus came to set them free,
So that they could be forgiven;
Live with Christ eternally.
Monday, January 1, 2018, 5:01 p.m. – Thank you, Jesus, that when you save us, that you do not look the other way if we sin, but that how we live does matter to you, and who we hurt matters to you, too.