Q: #49. I have a friend who is completely rebelling against God, but thinks it is ok because God will forgive it anyway. What should I say?
By: Steve Shirley
A: The word "rebel," or a form of it, is used in the Bible 98 times. When a person "rebels," it simply means that they refuse to come under the authority of someone who is above them. When this word is used in the Bible, it almost always refers to man rebelling against God.
As I write this today, I myself have a friend who is rebelling against God in spite of repeated warnings and attempts to turn him away from his rebellion. I write this answer in the hope of WARNING those who are rebelling to turn away before it goes too far, and to show them what the consequences can be for their rebellion. I apologize to those who may find discouragement in these words, but I am called to WARN (Ezek 33:8-9)(Acts 20:26-27,31)(Ezek 3:18-21)(1 Thess 5:14)(Gal 6:1)(James 5:19-20), and that is my goal here, not to comfort.
God HATES rebellion, and says it "is as the sin of witchcraft" (1 Sam 15:23). The Bible also says this about rebellion:
Rebellion grieves the Holy Spirit and causes Him to be their enemy and fight against them (Isa 63:10).
If you rebel against the words of God, and spurn His counsel, you may sit in darkness and in the shadow of death (Ps 107:10-11).
If you rebel against the commandment of the Lord, the hand of the Lord will be against you (1 Sam 12:14-15).
(Isa 1:19-20) If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat of the good of the land: (20) But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword; For the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
The rebellious dwell in a dry land (Ps 68:6).
(Isa 30:1) Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, That take counsel, but not of me;
Those who commit rebellion will be delivered to the enemy (Neh 9:26).
In addition, many people rebelled in the Bible, and paid a great price for doing so.
Moses rebelled and was not allowed to enter the Promised Land (Num 20:12-14)(Num 27:14).
Aaron also was not allowed into the Promised Land (Num 20:12-14,24).
David was not allowed to build God's Temple because he had spilled much blood (1 Chr 22:8)(1 Chr 28:3)(1 Kin 5:3).
Saul was removed from being king and the Holy Spirit withdrew from him (1 Sam 13-16).
Lucifer was cast out of Heaven (Isa 14:12-21)(Ezek 28:11-19).
Jonah was swallowed by a great fish (Jonah 1).
Shemaiah's descendants were removed (Jer 29:32).
The lives of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-7), and Hananiah (Jer 28:16) were taken.
Some who have taken communion (the Lord's Supper) have become weak, sick, or even died for taking it unworthily (1 Cor 11:29-32).
If you read about the Israelites, they also were punished time after time for their rebellion...
One of my favorite Bible teachers, David Jeremiah, once said something a long time ago that I have never forgotten. I do not remember the "exact" words, but it was something along the lines of "I could take my 35 years of building this ministry, and destroy it all in one act of rebellion." Those were powerful words to me, but so true...
We have seen this very thing happen over and over today. Well known pastors, and their ministries totally ruined and discredited because of rebellion (most seem to be sex related). Do you realize that you have a ministry as well, albeit maybe on a smaller scale, and your rebellion can destroy YOUR ministry too? Do you realize that if you are rebelling against God, you are putting a person or thing above God and making it an idol? You are practicing idolatry!
In addition, as we attempt to obey and follow God in all that we do, our ability to further God's kingdom and have an impact on this world increases. This is sometimes called our "anointing." Show me a person who is practicing sin unrepentantly, and rebelling against God, and I will show you a person who has little or no "anointing" or power from God to change lives. Is this important to you? Do you want a powerful anointing from God? PLEASE, turn before it is too late!
The Bible makes it quite clear that there does come a time when God will turn away from His people and leave them to follow the wrong course (Judg 10:10-13)(2 Chr 15:1-2) (2 Chr 24:20)(Ps 81:11-12)(Acts 14:16). In fact, the Bible tells US that there comes a time, when if a person remains in unrepentant sin, we should "deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the (his) spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus (1 Cor 5:5). (Also see: 1 Tim 1:18-20).
What a scary, and horrible place to find yourself in. If you have truly given your life to Christ, the most miserable position you can find yourself in is letting sin that you refuse to confess and repent from, separate you from walking closely with God. This is EXACTLY what will happen though if you refuse to do so (Isa 59:2)(Ps 66:6)(Jn 9:31)(1 Pet 3:12)(Prov 15:29). If you doubt how bad this can be, take a look at Psalm 32 and 51 where David speaks about how miserable he was (for approximately 1 year) after he had committed adultery with Bathsheba, then had her husband murdered, and refused to confess his sin and repent of it. You can hear the joy in his words, when he finally did confess and repent. As Christians, we will never have rest or peace as long as we refuse to turn from our sins. The Holy Spirit lives in each Christian, and one of His jobs is to convict us of sin (Jn 16:8).
Do you believe that God will forgive you anyway if you sin, so you should just go ahead and do it? Paul says in (Rom 6:2) "God forbid." God's grace is not a license to sin. It shows our lack of love for the Lord. We obey God because we want to please Him, and to show our gratitude to Jesus for giving His life for us.
Will God forgive you if you rebel? Sure, He will. BUT, keep in mind the things below. First, what does the Bible say are the components of forgiveness? We confess our sins and REPENT. Repentance is the key. Repent means that you are heartbroken that you have sinned against what God wants, and you truly want to turn from it and forsake it, and go in a new direction. We are sorry for what we have done, and wish we had never sinned in this way against God. Are you TRULY repentant? Are you sorry for what you have done? Do you wish it hadn't happened? If you aren't, are you REALLY sorry for your sin?
Secondly, you should keep in mind that there is one more aspect of your rebellion to consider: the consequences. Even if you do confess and repent of your sin, your rebellion is almost certainly going to have lifelong consequences. What consequences? Here are just a few examples.
If you were a respected leader, you will have permanently destroyed your witness with some people.
If you are married, your wife and kids (if you have them) will have scars that will never fully heal.
If you have physically, mentally, or sexually abused someone, you will NEVER have a full, loving, trusting relationship with that person again. Your sin will always be in the background.
If you are simply a man or woman, who people in your neighborhood,
workplace, school, church, etc... know as a Christian, and they see you turn
away from God, you are going to cause some Christians to stumble in their
walk, and some non-Christians to maybe never come to Christ at all, because
they were watching YOU!
(For more on this see my study: Are You A Stumbling Block?)
These are just a few examples, there are many more...
There is one last thing I want you to consider about rebellion. You may come to a point where you turn from your rebellion, and put God first again. If you do this, I believe Jesus' "Parable of the Lost Son" (Lk 15:11-32) shows us that the Father is waiting for you with open arms. HOWEVER, I also believe that because of your rebellion, you will never have the total fulfillment of all that God had laid aside for you.
I see the perfect picture of this with Moses and the Promised Land. As we discussed earlier, because of Moses rebellion, God did not allow Him to enter the Promised Land. The Promised Land was the total fulfillment of all that God had planned for Moses (as well as the Israelites who didn't get to enter in either because of their rebellion). It was a land flowing with milk and honey (Ex 3:8)(Deut 6:3), which is a picture of an abundance of good things. Moses one act of rebellion at Meribah kept him from ever getting into the Promised Land. He got to see it from a distance, but never entered into it. How sad... Yes, God did use Moses to do some mighty things, but if he had just not rebelled, he could have had SO much more.
Think about it, how much more could YOU do if you avoid rebelling. How powerful could your anointing be? How many more souls could you win? How many more people will listen to your message? There are blessings awaiting if you will just stand strong and obey. Don't miss your chance to get ALL that God has for you. Don't miss your chance to enter your "Promised Land."
Friend, keep an eternal perspective. The things we do today will affect our eternity. If you are a Christian, yes, you will get to Heaven if you are born again, but what will you have when you get there? Will you have treasures laid up in Heaven (Mt 6:19-21)(Mt 19:21)(Mk 10:21)(Lk 12:33-34)(Lk 18:22) from your works on this planet, or will you simply get there as one escaping through the flames (1 Cor 3:15)?
Run the race here on Earth so you may obtain the prize (1 Cor 9:24-27)(Heb 12:1). God has sooo much awaiting each of us, if we will stay on the narrow way that leads to life (Mt 7:13-14), and not turn to the right or the left (Josh 23:6). Die to what you want (Gal 5:24)(Col 3:5)(Eph 4:22), and live completely for the Lord.
Satan is looking to devour you (1 Pet 5:8). Do NOT let him win! God is patient (Rom 15:5), longsuffering (2 Pet 3:9-15)(1 Tim 1:6)(Ex 34:6), and slow to anger (Neh 9:17)(Ps 103:8)(Joel 2:13). He loves you so much and is waiting for you. Turn back to Him TODAY!