Real Sweat

“The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.”

God is amazing. He causes all things to work together for the good to those who are willing to trust him completely. Sometimes that may involve things that appear otherwise quite abnormal, or even wrong or even sinful. Without condoning bad behavior, God can and does use it for his glory. For example, it was through Bathsheba that God raised up Solomon. Now Bathsheba was the one that, prior to this, David had committed adultery with. So God can and does use everything for his glory, if we let him. Of course, at the time, God had forgiven David for his sin. But in our small minds, we sometimes think it is illogical for God to “bless” a relationship (e.g. David and Bathsheba) that started out as something sinful.

But let’s think again – because if we continued on that line of logic, God would have had to wipe us all out, for we were all born with a sinful tendency. For which one of us did not originate with Adam and Eve, who both committed sin? The effects of their sin passed to us, and yet God in his mercy did not see fit to destroy us, but to let us live. How is it that God has let us live? Well, in the book of Ezekiel, God clearly states that we shall each be responsible for our own sin. Though Adam and Eve sinned, and the effects were passed on to us, yet we are not held accountable for their sin, but for our own sin. Of course, I have not at all covered the whole story. For we have “all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Thus, it is something greater than the fact that we are not responsible for our ancestor’s sin that is keeping us alive.

This is where God’s forgiveness comes in. As God forgave David for his sin, so too does God forgive us for ours (if we ask him to). We are absolved and “set free” to became all that we were ever intended to be — well, as much as is possible here on this earth. The fullness of who we were meant to be, of course, will not be realized until we all reach heaven. And, as the song says, what a glorious day that will be!

But back to God’s ability to bless us – yes, even us, who were not only born with a sinful tendency, but who also willfully sinned against him and his holy commandments. What type of God is this? This is a God who forgives sin. On what basis? On the basis of easy forgiveness? No, but on the basis of sweat and work. Whose sweat and work? Our sweat and work? But no! That is but filthy rags in God’s sight. No, but rather, it is on the basis of the shed blood of Jesus Christ, that perfect sacrifice that clears us of our guilt and shame, if we but choose to receive the forgiveness that is freely offered to us through him. As Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” (John 5:24) And again, “without shedding of blood is no remission.” (Heb. 9:22b)

Have you received Christ’s forgiveness yet? It’s yours for the taking. But don’t treat it lightly. It cost Jesus Christ his own blood. Now that’s sweat and work.

“Father we thank-you today for sending Jesus Christ to die for our sins on the cross of Calvary. We are forever indebted to you. You own us, and we gladly yield to you in every part of our lives. For it is in Christ’s name that we pray. Amen.”

“For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Corinthians 6:20)