Reason #13: God Commands It

Finally, the last reason to want freedom from sin is the simplest one of all.  If we call ourselves children of God, and if we profess to believe in Him and His Son Jesus, who died for our sins so we could live forever with God, then we also believe in obeying His word.  Do what He says.  It’s not flashy or headline-grabbing, and won’t make too many billboards, but at the end of the day, do you really need any other reason?

God commands us to be free from sin, and that’s a good enough reason by itself to want it.  He does so in the Old and New Testaments, so this is not about covenants.  This has been God’s desire and plan for humanity from the beginning of time.

Rev 18:4, 5
Come out of her, my people, so that you will not participate in her sins, and so that you will not receive of her plagues, because her sins reached as far as heaven, and God remembered her wrongs. (NT Transline)

The “her” in this section refers to the city of Babylon, which represents the world system of culture and morality.  God’s ultimate plan and desire for all of us–that’s all with an ‘A’, not just the white Americans, not just Republicans, not just virgins until marriage, not just people who don’t swear, not just people who speak English without an accent–but for all of us to be saved from the world system of sin and corruption, of immorality and perversion, of pain and suffering, of violence and exploitation and greed, and brought into His presence for all time.  And no one is too far gone that they can’t be saved.  There are stories of child-soldiers in Africa turning to God, of former al-Qaida members, of prostitutes and porn stars (yes, they’re people too), of lifelong atheists turning from lives of self-absorption and being transformed by the power and mercy of God.  Even self-righteous Americans can be saved.  God’s mercy has no limits.  Anyone can be yanked from the world system, if they realize how much better life is outside it.

So God asks us to try real hard to not sin.  No, He commands us to “Come out of her, my people.”  Depart from evil and turn and do good.  The Old Testament is full of various commands very similar to this.  Isaiah 52:11 is one example.

Our response as Christians is very simple then.  God commands us to divorce ourselves from any sin that clings to us, and we do this by clinging to God.  As we do so, He cleanses us and strengthens us to pull even farther away from our past enslavement.  The decision is instantaneous.  The process takes time.

We want freedom from sin because God commands it, and it is His will for us, now and for all eternity.

Reason #12: God’s Way is Better than the World’s

Whole books can be written about this as well, and I am not a theologian, so I’ll defer to other experts on this topic.  I can, however, verify from experience the absolute truth of the statement.

Proverbs 29:18
Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, but happy is he who keeps the law. (NAS)

Jeremiah 29:11-13
‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me, when your search for me with all your heart.’  (NAS)

These verses in some ways encapsulate the 13 reasons to want freedom.  God wants to give us hope, a joy-filled life of peace, plans for freedom, and purposeful tasks.  He will hear us, and will respond to us so we can hear Him.  We will find His presence and draw life from it.  Security, acceptance, love, and happiness.  All the things the world promises but fails completely to deliver.

The world tries with all its might to offer these things.  Self-help books.  Cable channels.  Material wealth and style.  Comfort.  Health habits.  Technology.  And my favorite, education, which is often touted as the single best way to solve many problems.  I’m a teacher, so I’m all for it.  And yes, it can solve a lot of problems.  I have just one question though.  If education is all it’s cracked up to be, then why do the corporate criminals who bilked the nation out of billions of dollars so often come from Harvard, Yale, and the other supposedly preeminent universities?  If these schools–and by implication, the education they offer–are so great, shouldn’t they be good enough to “teach” their students simple ethics about right and wrong?

Unless, as is actually the case, correct moral conduct cannot be taught in a classroom.  It can be suggested, at best.  Some will catch it, some won’t.  But the world has no answer to the deep questions residing in the human heart.  Why do you think so many movies have been made about the all the notorious serial killers of the past century?  People want to understand evil, because they think they can educate it away.  If we can just understand it, then we can do something about it.

This is one of the great delusions of our time.  In Jurassic Park (1993), one of the great lines is that “life finds a way.”  In spite of all their tampering with the genetic codes of dinosaur DNA and restrictions they placed on it, life found a way.  Well, evil finds a way too.  You can incinerate it, imprison it, commit it, educate and train it, medicate it, and even legalize it.  But you can’t do away with it.  It will find a new way to arise.  Subtle or direct, obvious or imperceptible, it will sneak its way into our society and work its decaying force with an unbridled passion far greater than any inspirational teacher or politician or movie or song or community outreach center or charity or fundraiser or research center or invention can do anything about.

The only way to freedom from evil is through God’s word, which reveals to us the truth about good and evil.  But we will miss the message, and become slogged in the ways of the world once again if we don’t learn how to walk and live in the freedom from sin promised to us in scripture.

What God offers far eclipses anything in the world.  And this is true in this life as well as the next.  Looking at the next life doesn’t do you any harm in the encouragement department, however, as we saw at the outset of this writing.  Check out the last four chapters of Revelation for the most detailed glimpse given to us.  Just reading it, especially chapter 21, lifts your spirit higher than anything here in the world.  Remember, set your minds on “things above.”