There is a child. His father has told him that whatever he does, no matter how bad, that he is forgiven because he is his son. However, the father has told the son, that though he is forgiven and will always be loved no matter what, to still strive to be good and to please him. The son loves the father, and is thankful for his loving forgiveness. But he can't help but realize that since he is indeed forgiven and will always be, that perhaps he doesn't have to try so very hard. After all, his father has forgiven everything! The child begins to slowly slip at giving his best. Suddenly, when the father is asking his son not to do something, the son doesn't do most of it, but he still lingers on the edge. He reminds himself that his father will always love him and forgive him. Before long, the son is going completely against his father's wishes. After he does what he knows is wrong, he'll come up to his father and say, "Look, Dad, I'm sorry. Shouldn't have done that. Thanks for your forgiveness. You're so faithful." Within a few days, he's done it again. The father shakes his head as his relationship with his son slips. The son is confident that it's okay, because he is forgiven! Grace and love covers it all. Meanwhile the father can't talk to his son because of the wall of wrong between him and his son. Yes, he still loves him, but he is disappointed that his son is taking advantage of his forgiveness.
This story reminds me of the new Christian philosophy out there. I cringe when I hear people say that Jesus' love covers our sins and then they say or do something that is so very against what God has called us to be. Jesus has indeed washed our sins away, but why should we keep sinning because they're taken care of? If we love Jesus then we should do EVERYTHING we can to not add any more sin to our lives. It has to crush God like it crushed the father in the story to see us often take for granted His love. There is grace and love and mercy.... but beside it must be obedience. Many believers seem to ignore this. Jesus expects us to "be perfect for He is perfect." Now, I know we are never going to get perfect and that is where many Christians stop. We're never going to be perfect so let's just not try, right? I can be "me" and God is fine with that. No, He is not fine with that. Honestly, neither you nor me are at all good on our own. The only thing good in us is Him. We must strive to be perfect even though we will never get there. Jesus wants us to try. We really aren't free to be, say and live how we want. We are free in Christ to be what He wants us to be and that is so much better than what we can do for ourselves.
Sounds harsh, doesn't it? This whole topic has been on my heart lately. I've seen that it's not okay to linger around the edge of sin just because we know He has forgiven us. If you and I love someone we're not going to hurt them by doing exactly what breaks their heart because we know they'll still love us. There are many Christian songs, Christian teachers and Christian books that would disagree with me. They stand firmly on the "love" side only. But we must understand that God is righteous and He wants us to stop sinning. It's not cute or sweet to do things we know are wrong because we can get away with it. That is simply watered down theology. We need to remember where our sin put our Savior. On a cross.
The story would be so good if it could end where the son comes back and says nothing but no longer lives a life that is contrary to what he says. The son shows through his actions that he indeed loves his father and because he is forgiven he won't sin, not because he sins he is forgiven. Before long the father and son are close again and the son is free. He is not free to be himself, but is free to be exactly what is perfect for him, exactly what his father planned.