O: As modern Evangelical Christians, we have shied away from the old "fire and brimstone" preaching and instead we put more emphasis on the grace and forgiveness of God. This is generally good and correct, but sometimes I need to be reminded of the other side of the coin.
Sin is a very serious issue. Passages like this do exist. It's not just a matter of "We mustn’t do evil because it grieves the heart of God" or "We mustn't do evil because it hurts other people." It's also because somehow it does imperil us spiritually.
How does this all tally with grace & forgiveness, and salvation? I don't know precisely, but we do know that there are a lot of things that are true, that may be difficult or impossible for us to get our minds around.
Scientists have been able to teach chimpanzees sign language, and so people have been able to hold conversations with chimpanzees. Probably, you could even teach them counting and simple arithmetic. But you couldn't teach them calculus. It would seem contradictory to them -- how can you add up an infinite series of numbers and end up with a finite sum, for example?
And yet, calculus is manifestly correct -- we build bridges and skyscrapers, aeroplanes and satellites with them. The fact that a chimpanzee cannot understand calculus doesn’t stop it from being true.
God is way more intelligent than we are than we are to chimpanzees. So is it surprising that there are mysteries that we cannot comprehend and yet are true?
A: So, while I can rest in the peace of Christ's sacrifice, God's saving grace, and His infinite salvation, I must be aware that in some manner, I can still imperil my eternal soul when I sin. How this can both be true at the same time, I don't know, but I do know that sin is serious stuff spiritually.
So, when I am tempted, I need to remember passages like this. "Don't play-play," as Phua Chu Kang says.
P: Father, I continue to struggle with sin. Please remind me of its seriousness when I am tempted, so that I may stay true to You. When I do sin, may I quickly repent and come to you for forgiveness. Thank You for Your provision of Jesus Christ to save us. In Jesus' name, amen.
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)