Lesson 9 -- third quarter 1997
July 27, 1997
© Copyright 1997, Christian Light Publications
Accept atonement; don't try make-up work!
Does that mean I needn't do a thing?
"See what you are going to do to make it up to her!" Thus spoke the upset, disappointed father to the elder brother who had spoken unkindly to his youngest sister. As I heard the father speak I wondered, "What can this boy do now? Can he somehow 'buy off' his little sister?"
"You sure wiped out this semester!" Those are the words of a high school teacher to a student who floundered in one of his courses. "If you do two extra chapters with good grades you'll make up for some of your failing grades." I ask you, though, would understanding the chapter on weather somehow also make him understand the previously incomprehensible chapter on light?
Make-up work is all around us. The math student who misses 15 of 25 problems makes it up by doing corrections and/or another 15 problems. The driver who inadvertently runs a rural STOP sign stops at the next YIELD sign he encounters. The man who neglects his family showers them with gifts and privileges. The child who disobeys without his parents' knowledge spends a day or two being extra helpful. The individual that violates a vow or resolution adds more and/or stricter ones. Somehow the human psyche is geared toward make-up work in its attempts to appease the conscience and soothe the soul.
But make-up work doesn't work for sin! This kind of make-up work is one of the most effective deceptions the devil has foisted on mankind. If I murder someone, risking my life to rescue a dozen people won't make up for my sin. If I disobey, giving gifts and service will do nothing to balance my guilt before God. If I utter one mean-spirited sentence about you, writing a 32-book set lauding you will not undo that devastating sentence. Spiritual make-up work is ineffective and futile.
So skip it. Avoid it. Shun it. It is a trap, my friend, cunningly devised by flesh and foe to keep you from finding forgiveness in the atonement of Jesus. Pursue repentance, confession, forgiveness and cleansing. You can find it, but only in Jesus!
Restitution. How we need it! Yet so many civil courts and laws overlook it, esteeming some form of punishment to be enough. And plenty of churches and preachers take a parallel view: if the offender recognizes his wrong and Jesus has done His atoning work, why expect a change? In fact, some would even claim that demanding change demeans and diminishes the scope and effectiveness of the Lord's atonement. Let's look at just two issues again:
Divorce and remarriage. I've heard it argued that just as we can't unmurder an assassin's victim, so we can't undo this conjugal sin. And the argument is clearly sound, until you try to twist it to justify continued sin, whether that sin is a second murder or continued adultery. Forgiveness of sin in no way constitutes license for sinning!
Homosexuality. In our day we hear of Christian homosexuals and monogamous homosexuals. So if we dare condemn the desire and the lifestyle we are declared to be against redemption and faithfulness! The truth is, redemption precludes, not licenses, continued homosexuality.
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