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Devotional - week of November 12, 2006


forgiveness is not enough

  

… God in Christ forgave you.  Ephesians 4:32

 

At conversion we were forgiven of our sins—but we did not become perfect. Before a believer experiences his oneness with Christ, he must make the confession of failure that Paul made in Romans 7:15.

 

For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.

 

Fortunately, even in this spiritual state, we can live in fellowship with God because of the forgiveness of our sins.

 

If, though,  forgiveness of sins is the only means God has provided for believers to stay in fellowship with Him, Paul would likely have continued his statement in Romans 7:15 with a doxology that goes something like this:

 

But praise God there is forgiveness for our sins. Each time we sin and lose touch with God, there is a way back.  Through God’s wonderful forgiveness, when we repent of and confess our sin, we are restored to fellowship with Him.

 

Unfortunately, some believers live as if this imaginary doxology is how Paul lived and how we must live. They sadly say when they sin, “This is just the way we are and it is just the way we will have to live, but thank God for forgiveness.”

 

Paul, however, did not follow Romans 7:15 with an imaginary doxology. He gave actual details of just how sinful he was. In Romans 7:24 he cried out for deliverance from his sinfulness with, “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from this body of death?”

 

Forgiveness was not enough for Paul. He had to have change. He answered his own cry for deliverance from his body of death in verse 25 when he said, “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

 

In earlier statements Paul explained that Jesus is his, and our, deliverance from a continual life of sin because Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected as “The Last Adam.” Just as our conversion to Christ will not make us perfect, neither will experiencing our oneness with “The Last Adam.” It does, though, provide deliverance from the continual defeat that Paul wrote about in Romans 7:15.