Forgiveness, But Not Change

I live in a small, rural county in the so-called “Bible belt.” It’s the kind of place where there is a church on every corner, down every sideroad, and up every holler. Consequently, it can be hard to find someone who has no qualms about admitting to not knowing Christ as Savior. What I mean is, it seems like just about everyone I meet was baptized as a kid, has their name on a church roll, claims to attend somewhere, knows pastor so-and-so as a friend, etc. You get the idea. We’ve got religion, church, the Bible, and prayer running out our noses.

With that said, what bothers me about our little county (approximately 15,000 in number) is how easily we blur the line between authentic Christian conduct and rank worldliness. For example, some of the same people who go to church every Sunday morning don’t mind doing a good deal of drinking and carousing on Saturday night. Some of the ones who rant and rave about the sexual sin of homosexuality evidently don’t understand that premarital sex and adultery fall into that same category. Some of the ones who are quick to request prayer for themselves or their families are also far too well versed in backbiting, gossiping, and rumor spreading.

My point is that a lot of people love to hear about Christ, the Bible, forgiveness, grace, and salvation, but the numbers dwindle significantly when the topics become repentance, godly conduct, separation from the world, and personal holiness. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not promoting a works-based plan of salvation here. I myself sin every day and have to spend more time than I should asking the Lord for forgiveness of those sins. I like to think, though, that with me, sin is the exception, not the rule. It’s the uncommon, not the common. That’s what salvation has done to me.

Maybe an illustration will help me say what I’m trying to say. Little Billy was dressed for church in his Sunday best, but his mother wasn’t quite ready to go. That gave Billy time to go out into the back yard and play in the dirt. Naturally, in just a few minutes, his clothes were absolutely filthy. When his mother saw him she became furious and threatened to punish him. Passionately, Billy said to her, “Mom, I’m real sorry. Please forgive me.” She replied, “Okay, you’re forgiven but go change.” But Billy didn’t want to go back inside the house and go to the trouble of dressing again. So, he said, “No, I’ll just go as I am.” You see, he wanted forgiveness but not change. And, unfortunately, there seem to be a lot of Billys running around out there these days.

This entry was posted in Adultery, Alcohol, Backsliding, Change, Church Attendance, Discipleship, Disobedience, Drugs, Forgiveness, Hypocrisy, Personal, Personal Holiness, Rebellion, Salvation, Sanctification, Sin and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Forgiveness, But Not Change

  1. LeRoy Dean says:

    Preach on, brother.

  2. notsamson says:

    Majority of us “christians” are going to hell…..thanks to our so called pastors, whom i refer to as “babysitters”.

    Majority of pastors today preach this sweet christianity, just to keep their congregation happy and motivated to keep on putting money in the basket

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