If I am righteous apart from my own works, why is God upset when I sin?
When we believe in Jesus, God wipes our slate clean and he sees Jesus’ blood as paying our punishment.¹ He sees us as perfectly pure and undefiled because of the covenant we entered into by faith in Jesus.² Jesus died specifically for us, taking the exact amount of punishment God required for our sins. But we are not yet perfect, and God can see our present and future sins.³ We are currently pure in God’s sight because we currently have faith. God promised to continue forgiving us as long as we continue to have this faith. We are secure and unshakable no matter what we do, but God warns us about sinning. Because when we sin, we repulse the Holy Spirit, who is actively giving us our saving faith.⁴ We don’t have to be paranoid about God taking away faith, because of his intense love for us. But like Paul we are told to carry out this life on earth with a healthy fear, until God perfects us in heaven.⁵ God is choosing to actively forgive every sin, and see only the good things we are doing.⁶ God is truly pleased with us, and we are truly earning his favor. But we are told to think of ourselves as unworthy servants doing only what we are told to do.⁷ We really are beautiful and pleasing to him, but we are held in this position by faith which he gave us, out of his love and mercy. We didn’t deserve to have a saving faith to begin with. We are continually undeserving of the ability to please God, until he completely finishes sanctifying us in heaven. We really are pleasing to God, but it’s him that is actively, moment by moment, covering our sins and working in us to do pleasing things.⁸ Pride is displeasing to Jesus, because it’s his current outpouring of grace, that is giving us the ability to please him. Instead, we should be thankful that we can truly please the one we love. Jesus said our relationship with him is like a husband and a wife. He will continue to forgive us, because we entered into a covenant with him when we believed. If we accepted this covenant with Jesus, he is continually going to help us keep it, just like he supernaturally helped us accept it.⁹ When we sin under this covenant, we really are hurting God, we are wrecking our relationship, but God wants to establish our relationship with him, so that we love him like he loves us. He is urging us to turn away from our sin and trust him to satisfy our desires.¹⁰ He is continually drawing us to himself, by circumstances, truths, and other forms of his lovingkindness.¹¹ If we continue to sin after we believed, our sins are even more evil in his sight. God created us in his image, so we can understand these things. When an enemy sins against us, it hurts, but when our closest friend betrays us it hurts even more. The more we continue to sin, the more we hurt God, and just like a physical marriage, we need to repent or the relationship will continue to deteriorate. The more we sin the harder our hearts become, because we are pushing away the Holy Spirit, who is keeping us in the faith. We can become so hardened that we turn away from the faith, and willingly walk away from God.¹² This is the reason God gave Israel the certificate of divorce.¹³ God said the covenant of marriage can be broken if an unbelieving spouse chooses to leave the marriage.¹⁴ This is why a generation of Israelites perished in the wilderness and didn’t enter the promise land. God warned us through their example, that we can sin so much, that our hearts become calloused to the Holy Spirit, and we will leave him.¹⁵ We will give our faith away like Esau gave his birthright away, and when it comes time to receive our inheritance, we will not be able to gain it back, though we plead for it with tears.¹⁶But while we are still on earth, and have a desire to turn to God, God still wants to restore our relationship.¹⁷ If we are tenderhearted to the Holy Spirit, and are striving to please God, we have nothing to worry about. God is for us, not against us. No sin is too great for Jesus. In fact, Jesus said the more we sin, the more his grace abounds. It’s true that Jesus bought us to be made holy like he is holy.¹⁸ But he knew we would do wicked things, as he changes us. He knew what he was getting into when he first called us, and gave us the ability to come into a covenant of faith. He is able to finish what he started. God would look pretty pathetic, if he gave up half way through with us. But more than that, it’s his love and desire for us, that keeps him from giving up on us.
In summery God can see our current sins or good deeds and they either please or displease him. But, because Jesus paid the punishment for our sins, God is forgiving each new offence, and it’s as if we never sinned. On one hand our relationship goes up and down based on what we do, and on the other hand God’s love and how pleased he is with us isn’t changing, because God is pleased with how he created us, and Jesus paid for all our sins. We still have to give an account of all we do whether good or bad, and we will get rewarded proportionally, but from a birds eye view, we all get the same reward no matter how much good or bad we do.¹⁹ I don’t fully understand it, but we can truly please or displease God, and yet God’s grace and love for us is so infinite that he speaks as if our good or bad works don’t affect his love or the reward of eternal life that he promised to all of us who believe.¹⁹
① Colossians 1:20 ② Zechariah 3:4-5 ③ Philippians 3:12 / 1 John 1:8 ④ Isaiah 63:10 ⑤ Philippians 3:12–16 / 1 John 3:2 ⑥ Romans 12:1 ⑦ Luke 17:10 ⑧ John 15:5 / Hebrews 13:21 ⑨ John 6:44 ⑩ Psalm 37:4 ⑪ Hosea 11:4 ⑫ Matthew 13:15 ⑬ Jeremiah 3:8 ⑭ 1 Corinthians 7:15 ⑮ Hebrews 3:16-19 ⑯ Hebrews 12:17 ⑰ Luke 15:18-20 ⑱ 1 Peter 1:15-16 ⑲ 2 Corinthians 5:9-10 / Matthew 20:1-16
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