Well, to my amazement, almost right on the heels of my post called "We are Free Indeed!" I heard a sermon that I downloaded from SermonAudio.com--and that sermon seemed almost custom-made to contradict what I had written. And I still disagree with that speaker (even if he is Scottish--alas!)! All the more strongly, perhaps, now that I have heard him.
My post, in case you don't want to go two posts back and read it, was to the effect that we should be able to rejoice in Christ and that He equips us to avoid sin; still, that if we fall into sin, He has paid the penalty and we should rejoice in that. Of all people, I feel that Christians should be characterized by joy. The sermon I heard was far to the other end; the speaker emphasized how he felt that if we don't go sorrowing over our sin (which I agree we should, until we confess it and be thankful to Him for His loving forgiveness) that he would doubt that we even share the faith. He even quoted from Romans 7, where Paul says, "Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?" And the speaker ended the quote there. What I would have waited for, if I hadn't heard the previous buildup of his message, would have been the next verse: "Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord!" Yes! And Paul continues, "So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death." And if you read on, you see that the message he states isn't a message of sorrow, but of joy, speaking of how by Him we cry, "Abba, Father." Tell me if I'm missing something here! I think that we have a message of joy, a message of forgiveness, of freedom, of love, of adoption, the very things that unbelievers lack. Why would we not rejoice?! We should rejoice! And not just rejoice; we have every reason to exult, as Paul emphasized three times in Romans 5. So let's not go sorrowing. Let us go to the throne of grace, and then rejoice! Rejoice! Hallelujah, Amen!
Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!