Forgiveness can be granted if they will but come to Jesus Christ. Those who blaspheme the Holy Spirit will not be concerned or interested in gaining forgiveness for sin through Christ.
Second, in the matter of prayer. Satan can accuse us that the sin in our lives leaves us in no condition to pray. We feel guilty and ashamed resulting in a hesitation to approach God who is also our judge. Satan will remind us that God is a holy God and too pure to look upon evil Habakkuk , nor will He pay attention to the prayers of those who hide iniquity in their hearts Psalm The resulting despondency keeps us away from God.
The truth of the imputed righteousness of Christ will bring us back to where we belong in the daily, moment by moment blessing of fellowship with our Creator. We have never been able to come to God based on our own righteousness but only upon the righteousness of Christ. Hebrews tells us that it is through the blood of Jesus that we can enter into the Holy Place.
Third, and related to our prayer life is the matter of dealing with the sins we commit after we are saved. Jesus will never disown those who belong to Him. The sin of a Christian puts a strain in their relationship with God, but it does not end it. That idea should not be a strange thought. When my children were young, it was not uncommon for them to disobey me, sometimes even defiantly, but that did not mean that I could disown them and declare that they can no longer be called a Harris.
Regardless of whether my sons bring honor or dishonor to my name, they will always bear the name, Harris, just as I and my ancestors have born it. What does happen when they sin against me is that a strain is placed into the relationship which will remain there until the offense is corrected. Until reconciliation is accomplished, we cannot walk in the intimacy of relationship that had previously existed.
I must offer forgiveness, and they must do whatever is needed to bring about reconciliation. I recall years ago when one of them directly disobeyed my instructions and broke my umbrella. Reconciliation required not only the confession and resulting forgiveness, but also the replacement of the umbrella. Restitution is the fruit of true repentance. This same principle is also true with God. When I sin against God, my fellowship with Him is broken, and until I come and confess my sin and receive forgiveness, the relationship will be strained. He is willing to forgive, but I need to confess and maybe make restitution too as the fruit of my repentance.
According to Psalm , until reconciliation takes place, God will not pay attention to my prayers. Remember that Jesus said it was those who would abide in Him that could ask whatever they wished and it would be granted to them John Reconciliation is part of the day to day aspects of abiding in Christ.
This is not forgiveness as is needed for salvation, but forgiveness that keeps us in a harmonious relationship with God. The devil may accuse me of sin, and he may even be correct about it, but the breastplate of righteousness will protect me from letting that accusation destroy both my prayer life and my daily fellowship with God.
The imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ is critical to both our salvation and in daily living for Him. This is the practical righteousness which is expressed in daily living as we strive to be obedient to God in all things. It is the imputed righteousness of Christ that makes practical righteousness possible, but practical righteousness will only be a reality when we daily live in obedience to the Lord. This is in keeping with our new nature anyway, so it is not the impossible task it would otherwise be.
Hebrews 10 explains how what God has done for us in Christ is to flow into our daily lives. Then, starting in vs 18, he goes on to say, 18 Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer [any] offering for sin. Our changed standing before God is to result in a changed manner of living too. Imputed righteousness must result in imparted righteousness.
This is defiant sin and defiant sin is not the mark of a true Christian. This is the presumptuous type of sin that would lead to either exclusion from the congregation or even being stoned in the Old Testament Numbers ; Deuteronomy ,13 ; Let me mention a few briefly. First, in the matter of temptations. Some temptations are so flagrant that they are easily recognized and avoided. Other temptations are very subtle or will work on our emotions to make us feel like we have no choice but to commit the sin. Flagrant, open sins start with hidden, modest sins. How is that men commit adultery?
It starts with a wandering eye.
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This may not be easy in a society where pornography is easily obtained and immodesty is used to sell nearly everything, but that only stresses the importance. Men, this same covenant with your eyes is one of the links of armor in your breastplate of righteousness.
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King David did not keep such a covenant with his eyes, so when he saw Bathsheba bathing, he kept looking and his lust resulted in adultery and murder. The breastplate of righteousness can protect you from whatever sin plagues you the most. The practical life of righteousness that results from a pursuit of holiness, a life set apart unto God, will keep you from sin.
Is a sharp and angry tongue your problem?
Are you proud or boastful? Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time. Ephesians states that we are to redeem the time, make the most of it, for the days are evil. Are you lacking in self-control? Galatians lists self-control as one of the fruit of the Spirit, and 1 Corinthians speaks of exercising self-control that we might win an imperishable wreath from God.
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Do the material things of this world entice you? Jesus explained clearly in Matthew that you cannot serve both God and mammon, and from the pragmatic standpoint the things of this earth can be stolen or destroyed while the things of heaven are permanent. Put on the breastplate of righteousness.
Pursue holiness above all else and out of that comes righteous living which enables you to resist the temptations that once plagued you. Who could care much about the things of this world when we have heaven in view? Second, in the matter of persecution, the breastplate of righteousness keeps us from becoming despondent. I think we all understand that it can be hard to be different from everyone around us.
sermon: Boldness in a World of Unbelief (Acts 4:1-22)
Life is a lot easier if we just blend in with everyone else and do what they do whether it is right or wrong. It is not pleasant to be made the butt of jokes; over looked for promotions because of our ethical stands, or be slandered by those who hate righteousness. It is so much worse for our brothers and sisters in countries where added to these is persecution that causes physical suffering as well.
If you are not careful to be living in and pursuing righteous living, it would be easy to give up just to avoid the pain. However, to do so would cause the loss of the only source of joy there can be in such circumstances, and that is that God is pleased with us. Jesus said that we could rejoice and be glad when we are persecuted for the sake of righteousness because our reward in heaven would be great and that it was the same for the prophets that went before us Matthew , If we are living in righteousness and are reviled, insulted, falsely accused and or even persecuted physically, we can still be joyful in Christ.
Third, in the matter of contentment and joy in the Christian life, practical righteousness makes all the difference. The Christian who pursues personal holiness which results in righteous living can have joy in any circumstance Philippians 4.
The Christian who does not is one of the most miserable people that exists because there are consequences to not living in practical righteousness. The purpose of your life ends up being unfulfilled and that leaves you with a shallow existence. Rather than storing up treasures in heaven, you will end up with the wood, hay and stubble of this earth that will be destroyed 1 Corinthians Rather than bringing praise to the Father by your good works Matthew and adorning the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect Titus , you bring shame and reproach.
These things eventually lead to depression. Instead of having the fruit of the Spirit, you end up with the opposite. David describes what this was like during the time he refused to deal with his sin with Bathsheba. For day and might Thy hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer.