Wrong kind of persistence

Hebrews 10:26-31
I recall a newsletter piece I wrote many years ago. It used Microsoft Word as an illustration. If you know the program, one of its features is a wavy red line. The line’s purpose is to indicate when you misspell a word. In other words, it tells you when you’ve done something wrong.

It’s been my experience that a lot of people consider God to be like that red, wavy line.

That is, their impression of God is some man in the sky waiting. Just waiting for you to slip up. Misspell a word. Say something wrong. Sin in any way. As soon as you do, here comes the line. As if God enjoys punishing us.

A lot of people think of God more harshly than they do sin itself.

To be sure, God is holy. God calls us to be holy as a result. So, we can’t assume God is okay with our sin. It’s not that the Lord brushes off what we do because it doesn’t matter all that much. It does matter. But that doesn’t mean God is waiting, hoping for you to mess up so God can set you straight. That’s what Word does, not God.

The Lord deals with us with grace. I recall an album title that speaks to that truth: We don’t get what we deserve. If we did, there’d be many more red lines following us around. Instead, the love of God continues to reach out to us.

With that in mind, there’s a hard passage in Hebrews we should consider together. It reminds us that some will hear of God’s grace. They’ll hear and even receive it, perhaps. But it won’t change them. In the words of Hebrews 10, they will willfully persist in sin.

Let’s be clear. We all have sin. We’re striving for perfection. Yes, we trust God’s grace can get us there. In the meantime, we need to be truthful about our sins of commission and omission. Those are the things we do that we know are sinful and those things we know we should do that we don’t, respectively. But even that is different than what Hebrews 10 wants us to understand.

Willfully persisting in sin is to spurn Jesus, profane his blood and outrage the Spirit of grace. In that case, vengeance belongs to God. Judgment awaits all humanity. But those who willfully persist in sin, according to Hebrews, await a worse punishment.

Let not the willfully persistent consider God’s patience to be God’s forgetfulness. God has every right to throw the red, wavy line at us. But it isn’t there! In its place, we have the blood of Christ as the reminder of God’s love.

Are you wilfully persistent in sin? Know that a just God must judge. But remember that a gracious God forgives.

Stay blessed…john

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John Fletcher

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