Habitual Criminal

Habitual Criminal: A person who either enjoys or knows no better way to conduct her/his life than to act out in a criminal way. Examples: gaining an income by thievery/prostitution, finding sexual gratification by rape or frequenting a prostitute, finding a sense of community by participating in gang activities or by joining in the snobbish demeaning of “losers.” (O.k., that last one isn’t criminal, but maybe it should be. And it leads to the next question:)

 

When are we habitual criminals before God?

The question involves how we live our lives. If I allow a particular possession, activity, or relationship to be more important to me than God is, then I am guilty of crimes (sins) against God.

 

Most people believe they are basically good folks, maybe with a few minor faults. They think surely that God will see they mean well and accept them as good people. This feeling develops from an understanding that God is merciful and gracious. But it ignores the fact that God and his heaven are absolutely pure and holy. Something needs to be done about my sin (even if it is just a few minor faults) if I expect to have a true relationship with the Absolutely Holy God.

 

Have you taken this step? Have you realized that you do stand in guilt before God? Have you appealed to him for forgiveness? Have you committed to change so that he is first in all parts of your life?

 

Jesus died as the sacrifice for your sins (your crimes against God) so that you can obtain a new start with God as his mercy works for you. Many people forget that God does not display his mercy by ignoring sin. It is displayed in the fact of Jesus’ sacrifice. It is when you are baptized into that death of Christ (Romans 6:3-4)[1] that you can have a new life with him. (Compare also Galatians 3:25-27.)[2]

 

From the moment one is baptized, as long as she/he is working on a commitment to keep God as top priority, God is committed to forgiving those times that we do sin against him. Check out this quote from First John:

 

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:5-10)

 

John continued his writing with this thought: Jesus is our advocate with the Father, having paid the price for our sins, so that any who do sin have no need to fear God’s wrath. BUT, anyone who actually has that relationship with Jesus will “keep his commandments.” He emphasizes this by saying, “whoever says he abides in (Christ) ought to walk in the same way in which he walked” (First John 2:1-6)[3].

 

So, to counteract the reality that we have in the past been habitual criminals to God, we need to now be habitual “Jesus walkers.”[4] We can’t be Jesus walkers if we are letting other things be more important, that is, keep us from making a habit of following the way Jesus would live our lives


[1] All scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version.

   Romans 6:3-4 —  Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

[2] Galatians 3:25-27 —  But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

[3] 1 John 2:1-6 —  My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

[4] That’s “disciples” to you churchy folks.

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