Some Christians understand their union with the Lord but only half way. “Sure, God is with us, but sometimes he isn’t. He comes and he goes.” It’s true that in the Old Testament the Holy Spirit came upon certain people at certain times, but that was then and this is now.
Jesus said the Holy Spirit abides with us and makes his home with us (John 14:16–17). By home he means home. You are not a motel room for the Lord. You are a walking, talking, living, breathing temple of the Holy Spirit. He is not going anywhere.
“Are you saying that the Holy Spirit is with me even when I sin?” Yes! Christ’s love for you and his union with you is stronger than any sin.
Under the old covenant, sinning was your fast track to disunion. If you sinned you risked being cut off from the people of God.
Jesus said if your hand or eye causes you to sin, get rid of it (Matthew 5:29–30). Why did Jesus preach self-amputation to those born under the law? Because under that covenant it made sense to talk about removing those parts of the body that might contaminate the whole. Thank the Lord the old covenant is gone! We are not under law but grace, and this is good news for the members of the body of Christ.
When we sin, Jesus does not cut us off; we remain members of his body. This totally changes the way we look at sin.
Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! (1 Corinthians 6:15b)
Under the old covenant we were restrained from sin through mortal terror but in the new we are restrained by love. Look again at Paul’s warning about prostitutes. Behind the warning—don’t do it—there is a surprising and reassuring affirmation of union. Paul is saying it is possible, though not advisable, to unite the members of Christ’s body with prostitutes.
Do you see it? Earthly marriages may break and fail, but your union with Christ is unbreakable. Sin cannot break it. Addiction cannot break it. The stupidest decisions you might ever make cannot break it.
This should not be taken as a challenge to see what you can get away with but as a stunning declaration of Christ’s absolute commitment to love you and stick with you no matter what. This is what changes us—not the weak influence of the rule, but the relentless and determined passion of his love.
The love of God is the greatest force in the universe. Sin wilts before it. When you encounter the undaunted and unending love of Christ, it changes you. You no longer want to sin. The passing pleasures of this world lose their appeal because you have found a love that is truer and better by far.
Extracted from chapter 4 “Union,” The Gospel in Ten Words.