We've seen a lot of deals and promotions that sound so good at first.. Free 30 Day Trials, You've Won A Raffle, etc. We seem to be used to this sort of thing to the point that we are immediately wary of any 'strings' attached to any sweet deal. We keep asking, 'What's the catch?'; and at times, we also ask, 'What's the limit?', usually followed by 'There has to be a limit.'
Well, when it comes to Christ and His finished work, there are no hitches. There are no catches, no limits. Try to think about that. What if in Christ, there are no limits?
No strings are attached with God. We, as humans, would go against this naturally because we automatically assume there are strings attached. We would talk about agape, and unconditional love, and immediately after that, we're adding conditions. We're adding limits, we're attaching strings.
The Word says it quite clearly: Paul addressed the Romans, and in the end of Chapter 8 he says nothing can separate you from the love of God. Nothing can kill this deal. God knows how we work, and it had to be said, that indeed, it was His plan to bring us into a relationship which has no strings attached.
There are no strings attached to our forgiveness. There's a Catholic 'string' attached, which states that we're only forgiven when we confess to another person, and we aren't forgiven when we don't confess. With regards to Protestants, we state that we have some sort of ultimate forgiveness, but we still need to confess our sin if we want to be in complete union and fellowship with God. Sin, in this regard, hinders us from God's presence.
By God's grace, these strings have been cut. Because of Christ and His finished work, we have been totally forgiven. His blood brought us forgiveness, period. The blood of Jesus brought once-for-all cleansing, and once-for-all forgiveness. Peter says that Jesus died once for all. The book of Hebrews says that by one offering we have been cleansed and made perfect forever in Christ.
This may make us nervous in the sense that if we take this in, we might go ahead and abuse this grace, and take advantage of it.. but hang on, because there has been so much more given to us. The last thing we want to do is to tie the strings that God has already cut with our 'buts' which come out of our nervousness regarding sin. We're pretty good, as good as Pharisees, to add more strings.. but God comes out as better, because He offered us salvation through Christ, and by His blood, He cut through the strings, making it based on His performance, and His blood, not your works, not your performance.
So the Catholic mindset states that we confess our sins to a priest to be forgiven, and the Protestant mindset states that we are forgiven, we can speak to God directly about it, but from here on out we need to 'manage' this forgiveness that we were given.
The sin management system can't happen unless God has taken all our sins away, once and for all.
It is inevitable for believers to eventually bring up 1 John 1:9 - however, it is virtually impossible for us to confess all of our sins - we can't remember all of our sins, and we aren't aware of all sins that we commit. It doesn't help, either, for us to generalize and say 'forgive us for all our sins, known and unknown', because it is clear that it is the blood of Jesus that cleanses us, and not our confession. If it helps, we confess not for our sins to be forgiven, but we confess out of the fact that we have already been forgiven. Again, just to clarify: 1 John 1:9 was for Gnostics who claimed that sin was relative or non-existent, and therefore they claimed that they had no sin.
The strings have been cut. Christ lives in us and He will manage just fine.
Let's do a free fall into God's grace. There really are no strings left. If you are in Christ, you already know that you have been forgiven, and you already know that the work of Christ is finished, and the string of 1 John 1:9 has been severed.
What's next? Well, we move along the Truth that Christ's finished work really worked, and that the strings have been cut. We have been completely cleansed and forgiven.
How do we end up not abusing it? Well, the Bible states in more than one instance that forgiveness is actually something that motivates us. Don't sell forgiveness short. He who has been forgiven much forgives much. Peter says that if we fall short on our behavior, there's a big chance that we've been forgetting about our forgiveness and sanctification in Christ.
When we realize that there are really no strings attached, we would have no hesitation in saying, 'Wow!' and 'Thank you!'
The Old Testament shows, of all things, how we could not meet the standards of the Law. There were 613 strings, and the local folk, even the priests were not faithful in keeping the conditions of these strings. Through Christ, all these strings were cut, but then, we get nervous: We add up strings again, in the form of reintroducing the 10 commandments, and the 10% tithing rule, and so on and so forth..
We need to understand that in place of the strings, we have been given fruit: Christ is now the source of our Love, Peace, Patience, and Joy, etc. Freedom with one string attached is no freedom at all.
People in Christ are certainly still sinning. God does not want us to sin, but when we sin, the deal hasn't been thrown into the fire. Our salvation has been brought to us by grace, and not works.. you add one work into there, and it isn't grace anymore. Consequently, Titus tells us that the grace of God actually teaches us to say 'no' to sin.
With regards to our Identity in Christ, there are no strings attached. Our heinous sins no longer define us. Adulterers and Liars do not inherit the kingdom of God, indeed... but we have been cleansed, so cleansed to the fact that we are no longer sinners by nature; we have been so cleansed to the point that we were made new, literally, made righteous because of Christ.
The strings have been cut, and and there are no strings attached to our identity! We define our identity through the new birth brought about by the finished work of Christ, and we are no longer defined based on what we do. Isn't that motivating? Isn't that inspiring?
This is an incredible truth that is worth celebrating, and one that is worth sharing!
Our life in Christ has no strings attached. There are those strings which we hang on to which state that we need to be obedient to enjoy His presence; however, the Truth of the matter is that we get God's absolute presence for free, paid for by the blood of Christ, and His presence actually motivates us to be obedient. If you put obedience before His presence, He is no longer the power and inspiration behind your obedience. You do not obey to enjoy God's presence, you enjoy God's presence, and out of this, you enjoy. You walk by the Spirit, and by His presence which came before you executed some sort of obedience.
So contrary to our former claims that we gave our lives to Christ... it's actually the other way around. Christ gave His life to you. It is by this that we have been made obedient.
There are no strings attached to our choices. Don't get us wrong - there are consequences to the poor choices we make, but God certainly does not punish us for our wrong decisions by cutting us off from His salvation. There is a chance that we would catch a cold if we don't wear a jacket, but this doesn't mean that we are eternally separated from God.
God already allowed the punishment to be poured upon Jesus.. but there are consequences. You're still loved and forgiven, but it's foolish and absurd to live so recklessly.
There are no strings attached to our Attitudes. We may understand our standing with God and how that doesn't have any strings attached, but there's a tendency for us to keep strings attached to our relationships with one another.
However, when we continue to understand that God has cut all the strings to our relationship with Him because of Christ, we find a better way to relate to others - we are able to cut strings, like those that state that this person is the absolute source of our happiness and joy. We are free to relate to others, and to genuinely listen to them, understanding them flaws and all, without tugging on the strings which state that these people have to meet some sort of standard before you give them your full and uncompromising love and attention.
We cut the strings by giving up our right for a need to be met by the other person. We give up our right to expect things to turn out how we want it. Once we cut strings, we are free of an impossible web of conflict.
When we understand that all strings have been cut, we are set free from loving others with conditions. We are free to encourage, we are free to love, we are free to give random acts of kindness, as much as we see how we are encouraged, loved, and given kindness just because, by none other than our loving God, our Father.
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May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift His countenance upon you and give you His Shalom. - Numbers 6:24-26