Dear Friend,

God is not a doting Father who can’t do anything with His disobedient children, but manages to forgive them anyway. He is not soft on sin—never has been. To a broken man who wonders if he has committed the unforgivable sin, we offer the mercy of God. To a casual sinner who boldly repeats his folly believing that “Jesus forgives me,” as you say, I would warn him from Hebrews 10.

Grace does not make obedience optional; it makes obedience possible. Permission to sin has never even been discussed in heaven. Obedience is the clearest sign of love according to John the Beloved. Disobedience betrays a wayward heart, unwilling to trust God for transformation.

My brother in Christ, you have no idea whom you are dealing with. “If we sin deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful prospect of judgment, and a fury of fire which will consume the adversaries” (26). The paragraph ends, “The Lord will judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hand of the living God” (30, 31).

David had the right response to the mercy of God: “But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared” (Ps. 130:4). If you think forgiveness gives you license to sin, you are miles away from truth, and you are not experiencing forgiveness, whatever else is happening.

True forgiveness causes us to fear a holy God who made cleansing possible through the violent death of His Son. Taking that offering lightly, if that is what you are doing, puts you on dangerous ground. Permission to sin and forgiveness from sin are opposites. If you use those two words in the same sentence, even in your thoughts, you are cheapening grace and inviting the judgment of God.

Sin is never a light matter. When we ask for forgiveness, God does not say, “It was nothing. Don’t worry about it.” He says, “I forgive you based on the shed blood of My Son.” Then He says what Jesus said to the woman taken in adultery: “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.” Forgiveness empowers us to overcome sin, not indulge in it.

John declared two powerful truths in his first letter: God is light and God is love. Light exposes, love embraces. If you accept the light, you receive the love. If you ignore the light and walk in darkness, it creates a self-deception that does not allow you to experience purification from sin.

John says, “If we confess our sins…” The word “confess” literally means “to say the same thing as.” We are acknowledging in confession what God says about our sin, that it has the seeds of death implanted in it (sin always pays the same wage—death), and that to continue in it would bring eternal death. We accept this in our confession and thank a holy God for making provision for our sin. He does not make provision for us to stay in our sin. The person who thinks so is destroying himself one sin at a time.

And he may actually be enjoying it. Moses chose rather “to share ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin” (Heb. 11:26). We need not be surprised—sin is fun. But when it “fleets,” we are left with shame and judgment. So don’t play the forgiveness card unless you are committed to the King and His lifestyle.


  1. Michelle Ule says:

    Powerful. Thank you.

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