December 2019, Vol. 38, No. 12

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How Bad Can I Be?

posted on December 11, 2019

[445 words]

With the winter holidays just around the corner, we will all be seeing items and hearing stories related to the season. As such, I just read about the fact that there is a website known as emailsanta.com where young ones may write an electronic letter to the North Pole. Several letters from these innocent children were funny, but one stood out to me. Christian, age seven, wrote:

“Mommy and Daddy say I have not been very good these past few days. How bad can I be before I lose my presents?”

This letter reflects an attitude often displayed by “religious” adults. We ask, “How bad can I be before I lose my salvation?”

Clearly, the Bible teaches that it is possible for a man, who has really and truly been saved, to sin in such a way as to forfeit his salvation. “You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace” (Gal. 5:4). “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame” (Heb. 6:4-6).

In light of this, why is it that so many seek to do “as little as possible” or “just enough to get by” when it comes to spiritual matters? Have you asked: “Do Wednesday nights really count?” “Can’t I use these words if I’m really mad or scared?” “What is the smallest amount I can drop in the collection plate?” “How bad can I be and stay on God’s good side?”

May I suggest that it all boils down to lack of love? It is a lack of love felt for our God. It is a lack of understanding just how deeply and sincerely our God loves us. 

Consider the attitude of Paul: “We are ruled by Christ’s love for us. We are certain that if one person died for everyone else, then all of us have died. And Christ did die for all of us. He died so we would no longer live for ourselves, but for the one who died and was raised to life for us” (2 Cor. 5:14-15—CEV).

If we truly understood how much God loves us we would, like Paul, be motivated to a life of loving and positive action! We would never dream of asking, “How bad can I be?”

Bart Warren
South Green Street church of Christ
Glasgow, KY

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