If you want God to be on your side, you must come to His side. Evidently, there is no one greater or powerful than Him. So, it is only prudent to come to His side. Though this truth or rationality is there to take, many neglect it. If the most powerful Person in the heavens and the earth is God, why not be on His side? After all, we all love to be on the winning side, always! Who would ever want to lose? If I know I can win every time, I would go for it. With God and with Him alone there is this possibility – we can win every single time regardless of time. Yet, what is it that brings failure and suppression? It is separation from God. When a believer does not make choices that put him on God’s side, failure and suppression are inevitable. What this points to is effects of sin. It may be by deception, imprudence or ignorance and in some cases arrogance or carelessness.
Once a believer makes a bad choice it becomes difficult for him to stop there because of the power and the knowledge of sin. So, he continues making bad choices hoping to find an exit. But, it never happens. While at it, he loses intimacy with God, i.e. he deliberately separates himself from Him. It does not affect his eternity. Yet, it does affect God’s work upon him, His power toward him, His blessings and guidance, as well as His protection at every instance. Basically, he invites bad consequences into his life and God will do nothing, but wait for his returning to Him. So, to this effect He earlier sent out a message to His people saying, “Now let them put away their harlotry and the corpses of their kings far from Me; and I will dwell among them forever” (Ezek. 43:9).
If a believer puts away sin, he practiced righteousness and justice. God reunites with him perpetually. When he has the knowledge of God’s law and applies God’s perspective of it, he will surely come out of sin. This is practicing righteousness and justice. He can never by himself put away his sin. For the power of sin is too much for him to overturn its influence on him. Had it not been powerful than him, he would not have been overcome by it in the first place. So, no work he does can empower him to put it away, but to simply quit it by the power that alone comes from listening to God. Israel defiled God’s threshold, i.e. the place of His temple. They did abominable things in it as well as around it. They built structures in its vicinity and buried their kings’ bodies around it ignoring its prominence. They were so ingrained by these they ignored how great a sin it was as well as the remorse of it. Therefore, God reminded them of what to do and how to get back to intimacy with Him. He takes the duty of nourishing and protecting His people when He chooses them. And when a person falls into sin, He takes the task of reminding him of it and what he must do. For He knows that all the while he is in sin he is not only inviting terrible loss but is also working against His patience.
The equation is simple. Put away sin, and God’s presence is forever; practice righteousness and justice, and sin cannot intrude intimacy with God. If one is able to exercise his or her desire to put away sin by what they heard from God, the first thing God does is forgive them right away. He will make sure they know it. He works with their heart, mind or on their body and lets them know He is with them. “But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins ‘– then He said to the paralytic, ‘Get up, pick up your bed and go home’’” (Matt. 9:6). If they can come to Him hearing His voice and of His ability to rescue them from discontent, consequences, loss and pain, He will make way to unite them with Him. This is the greatness and kindness of our Lord. He lets us know our sin and as we respond, He works to brings us out of it so He can again be personal with us. With the Lord on our side, there is nothing to fear, whether sin or its equivalent. “And He said to them, ‘Where is your faith?’ They were fearful and amazed, saying to one another, ‘Who then is this, that He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him?’” (Luke 8:25).
Sin dramatically fears the Lord. When the Lord seeks righteousness and justice from us and we conform, sin goes into suppression. As He resides by our side, all we need is faith in Him for all matters. Every now and then sin raises its tone against us through our various activities; for Satan always lurks around us. At this time if we practice righteousness and justice, it goes into suppression. On the contrary, if we listen to it we make bad choices often to the extent of losing intimacy with God. “Then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years” (Acts 13:21). This choice made Israel become a rebellious nation. Rather than be glorious under the rule of the Almighty, they sought to be like the nations. Our desires and the pursuit of them can break our profitable intimacy with God. We must always keep them in check. If we cannot discern them, we must seek God’s opinion on them. Why would anyone want to opt for an inviable desire and its proceeds when God can offer us more and truthfully? But sin and its power can make us think otherwise. Listen, if you are saved by grace through faith, your eternity is intact. The Spirit emphasizes it. “For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Cor. 15:53). God will make sure you put on immortality, even if it means by severely disciplining you.
However, being saved is not just about living eternally. It’s about living intimately with God here and receiving its rewards in eternity. It’s about producing good effects on this earth for His love and trust toward us. Or else, Paul would not have exhibited such anxiety toward the saved. “For this reason, when I could endure it no longer, I also sent to find out about your faith, for fear that the tempter might have tempted you, and our labor would be in vain” (1 Thess. 3:5). Because these Christians lived in faith, Paul and his friends were greatly comforted in their afflictions. Paul’s labor for them was for their faith to bring profit. We simply cannot estimate the great effects we bring by living intimately with God. On the other hand, we learn there is always a possibility of falling in sin. If the tempter has gained the upper hand on us, we lose much wisdom of God, the conscience to keep faith in Him, the confidence to go to Him and the power to work for Him.
Now, it is not all that easy for the devil to overcome us when we are focused in faith for the practice of righteousness and justice. For on the other hand God works in us to oppose him. It is a choice for us between God’s whisperings and the devil’s. Noah made a right choice. “By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith” (Heb. 11:7). He listened to God’s warnings alone. God warns us against consequences. As far as Noah is concerned, he reaped great rewards, not just eternity. We will see when we get there. Furthermore, he produced good effects on earth for the trust and love God showed to him. So, God never leaves us unwarned. But if we did not heed Him, we must choose the act of putting away sin.