Because You Did This
Your sins are forgiven, you will not die. But because you did this, the child born to you shall die. — The prophet Nathan to King David in 2 Samuel 12:14
Do you believe that once you are saved that you are always saved? Do you believe that if you commit a sin after you are saved that you are on your way back to Hell? Welcome to the two extremes of Christianity. One extreme is full of grace, the other extreme is full of judgment. I could take a bunch of verses from the Bible and present a pretty good argument either way. So, which one is right? Honestly…I don’t know.
But, here is what I do know. Like nearly everything else in dealing with God, it is the motive of the person’s heart that tells the whole story. When I first became saved, I loved hearing “once saved always saved.” This gave me a license to live any way that I wanted. I had found a technical “loophole” in the Bible. I had done Romans 10:9. I confessed with my mouth and believed in my heart that Jesus was Lord…I was “saved.” I had the box checked in God’s grade book that allowed a person into Heaven. If someone asked me if I was saved, I told them the truth…”I said the prayer!”
After a year or two of that, I visited another church with my friend. I heard the term “backsliding.” I learned in about 30 minutes that I was on my way back to Hell. This was terrifying to me. If the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom…I started to be wise that day. Over the course of the next year or so, I became a “rule keeper.” Although I wasn’t a very good one, I needed to keep God’s rules so I could go to Heaven. When I sinned, even did the slightest thing wrong, I needed to say the words “God, will you forgive me?” As soon as I said the words, I was finally back in right standing with God…until I did it again. Then, I was on my way back to Hell because there was sin in my life. This pattern repeated over and over. I really wanted to be right with God, but sin just seemed to be inevitable. It seemed to be looming around every corner every day. I was so legalistic that I remember going to a rock concert of one of my favorite bands of the day. I was convicted the whole time I was there. As soon as it was over, I said “forgive me Lord” and honestly thought that He wrote my name back in the book of Life. For those 3 hours I was rocking out, had I died…I would have gone to Hell. Had Jesus come back…I would have been “left behind.“ But, as it was, I had found a way to do what I wanted, then use the “God’s forgiveness” loophole to be right back in a right standing with Him.
I hope you see the absurdity in this. The whole problem was that I wanted a right “standing” with God…not a right relationship. I didn’t really know God. I only knew what others had said about Him. I didn’t read my Bible for myself, I only listened to others tell me about what they had learned. I made no attempt to love God, but I made every attempt to use God however I could to make me feel better about myself. I used Him to make me feel more comfortable about what I was doing at the moment. I also used Him to make me feel better about where I would spend eternity. As long as I said “forgive me for that Lord,” He was obligated to do so…therefore, I was good to go.
Now…I realize I didn‘t have a clue. When David committed his sin with Bathsheba, he was far away from God. God used the prophet Nathan to reel David back in. David asked for forgiveness. Then, Nathan told him he was forgiven. But, look at the rest of the verse…because you did this, the child born to you shall die. Whoa! That’s not fair…what did the child do? David should be the one who dies! Right? I mean, he did the crime…he should pay the fine or do the time!
What hurts me now more than anything is how I treated my Lord and Savior for many years. I sinned…a lot, and yes I knew better. It wasn’t “making mistakes,“ it was committing sin. Some were out of ignorance…most were out of good ’ole blatant disobedience. There I was thinking “He’ll just forgive me!” The good news was I was right. The bad news is that somebody had to pay the price for those sins. Even though I wasn’t listening, God was telling me the same thing He told David…”Adam, your sins are forgiven. But because you did this…My one and only Son…Jesus Christ…died.”
Lord, with all my heart I don’t want to hurt you anymore. Help me love you, really love you until I draw my last breath.