This past weekend at Uncommon Church we hosted a live Q&A time. It was awesome. For the next couple of weeks I am going to dip into the questions that were asked, and do my best to provide answers. I am not writing as an expert or with the assumption that what I think is the absolute truth. But, I am writing from my heart, and my understanding of Jesus and the Gospel. I hope you enjoy... So here we go!
Q1: Can purity be obtained in spite of our past? i.e. If I am divorced will God allow me to be "purified" in order to remarry in god standing with Him?
A1: This is a loaded question! I think it is loaded more from religion than from culture. Religion has, for a period of time in the past, seen divorce as the cardinal, unforgivable sin. In fact, when I was a pastor in East Tennessee people had grown up in a culture where divorced people could not be part of a church, and in extreme circumstances they could even go to services. It is a symptom of extreme legalism and religious abuse. In fact, many sins are placed in the same category of unforgivable, and too messy for the church or Christians to rectify. So, instead of simply addressing divorce, let's address the idea of sin and being okay in God's eyes!
In today's world, depending on where you live and if you go to church, certain sins are consider the cardinal and unpardonable sin. It may be divorce, sexual promiscuity, homosexuality, criminal past, alcohol, drugs and more. Every single one of us has experience some rejection, condemnation and guilt from our lives and habits. If you haven't just wait, you will. That's human nature and the world we live in. Here's where we need to jump in deep...
The issues lies where we feel and experience guilt, shame and condemnation. Those things are absolutely NOT from God. The Bible says in John 3:17 that Jesus came to the world to save it, not condemn it! Condemnation does not come from God! The Bible also says that When we feel accused of our lives disqualifying us from grace, remember who's voice it is.... Revelation 12:10 says that Satan is the accuser of those who follow Jesus. God is not the accuser! The reality is that your sins have ALL been taken care of already by Jesus who came to save you, not condemn you. Just look at 1 Peter 3:18 that tells us that very things. Bottom line, we have all sinned, and we all fall short of the golry of God according to Romans 3:23.
But, here is the key... In Revelation 21:5 we are promised and told that God is "making ALL things new"! That little word ALL means exactly that, ALL! That means you, me and everyone around us is being made new. When we identify ourselves with Jesus, we assume that promise and we also are counted as part of God's family. The result is being made new.
The next time you are feeling inadequate and undeserving... remember YOU ARE! But, remember this... Because of God's love and Jesus work on our behalf.... We are being made new and we are ok. The reality is NOTHING can separate us from the love of God. Romans 8:38-39 makes that very clear.
Bottom line, there is nothing you can do, no mistake you can make, that God cannot handle. There is nothing God cannot forgive! There is no one God cannot save. And, there is NO ONE God does not love. Don't let you messiness, fear, insecurity, pride or guilt keep you from seeing that God loves you just the way you are.
That my friends in called GRACE!