In Jeremiah’s day, God removed His restraining grace and let sin run its course because of their ongoing rebellion. What does the loss of restraining grace look like in a nation or an individual life? Could the same thing be playing out in our country or yours, wherever you live?
The loss of His restraining grace leads to a downward slide into an increasingly godless society. Paul gives us a list of sins that occur near the bottom of that free fall: homosexuality, sexual immorality, unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil, envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice, gossip,slander, hatred of God and His Word, lack of respect, pride, inventing all kinds of evil, rebellion against parents and all authority, lack of trustworthiness, and a lack of love and mercy. But the very bottom is when a society “approve[s] of those who practice them.” Could we already be there and, if so, how should we respond?
There is no sin in our lives that is too big or for which God won’t forgive us. But knowing that God will forgive us, doesn’t mean that’s our “ace in the hole” or that we can sin without impunity, like children with our fingers crossed behind our backs. The person who thinks he or she can do whatever and ask for forgiveness later is in rebellion against God and God is looking at the heart.
One of the consequences of willful sin can be the removal of God’s restraining grace where He steps back and allows us to do what our sinful heart desires. Without that restraining grace, we find that the sin we thought we could control is now controlling us. As someone once said, “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay and cost you more than you want to pay.”
2 Samuel 11 & 12
The Cost of Losing God’s Restraining Grace
2 Samuel 11 & 12:
David, Bathsheba & the Loss of Restraining Grace
Here in chapter 11 David sees a beautiful woman bathing on her rooftop and lustfully sends for her, knowing that her husband, one of his faithful men, is away on the battlefield. When she becomes pregnant, he tries to hide his sin and when his scheme doesn’t work, he orders her husband into the most dangerous part of the battle.
This is a sad page in David’s life story, one that would define and change the rest of his life and his reign. Even though God forgave him when he repented, the consequences of it were great!
Neither is there any sin in our lives that is too big or for which God won’t forgive us. But knowing that God will forgive us, doesn’t mean that’s our “ace in the hole” or that we can sin without impunity, like children with our fingers crossed behind our backs. The person who thinks he or she can do whatever and ask for forgiveness later is in rebellion against God and God is looking at the heart. God will not even hear our prayers when we are in that kind of willful sin:
“If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear” (Ps. 66.18).
Romans 6.1-2, 15-16, 21, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? … What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? … Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death.”
And Galatians 6.7-8 says, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”