Going straight to the Cross

Sin and Grace

by Greg Tidwell

Human nature wants to scale sin down, to make sin more palatable. We like to think that the sins we commit, or that are commonly committed by people we like, are not so very bad. But sin is not measured by our standards. God's judgment against sin is what matters. He is the one who is offended, and God is the one who must be appeased. God's hatred for sin is seen in the horrible price that had to be paid because of our sins. Jesus Christ died because of our sins. Sin is always an affront to God. Sin is never all right.

But Christians do sin. We all need a Savior. Not only someone to make us right, but someone with the continual power to keep us right with God. And we have the perfect Savior, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Through the saving work of Christ our sins are forgiven. Through His death on the cross, Christ became our sin offering, the payment which makes us right with God. Salvation is only in Christ, and is complete in Christ.

Receiving this salvation, our lives should be directed, guided, and empowered by Jesus. If we understand who Jesus is and what Jesus came into the world to accomplish, we must be opposed to sin. Sin is in direct contradiction to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The apostle Paul uses baptism as an illustration of the transformation which is to come (Romans 6:1ff). The death, burial and resurrection of Christ are mirrored in baptism. The victory which Jesus perfectly obtained over sin should likewise be reflected in the "newness of life" lived out daily by Christians. Christ died to overcome the power of sin. Baptism into Christ signifies our unity with the Savior in this victory.

This new life in Christ, being born again of water and the Spirit, is a continual affirmation of the faith spoken in the good confession. The salvation we receive in Christ must be expressed in the loving obedience that God expects of all Christians. The gospel of Jesus Christ provides the substance of our confession, it gives saving power to our baptism, and it produces continual joy in the assurance of salvation. As God's children, we are enriched and empowered by the Lord's grace. The gospel initiates salvation, and keeps us in a right relationship with God. We must continually look to Jesus, our Savior and our Lord to keep our lives going in the right direction.

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Forthright Magazine continues, more dynamic than ever! We have groups created for FMag on Facebook and the Churches of Christ Network. Announcement blog is up and going on Preachers Files. Email lists about FMag and FPress are available both on Yahoo and GoogleGroups. And, to top it all off, we're twittering for both on Twitter.com.
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