Coaching Session #6: Our Diplomatic Immunity from Sin
Living in God’s Gospel Blessings:
As God’s Ambassadors on Earth,
We Have Diplomatic Immunity From Sin
One way that we come to know the ways of God, and to become vessels and channels of the reservoir of God’s things in us, is to know our diplomatic immunity from sin.
This is hard for us today. Satan makes it hard, and most of our preachers make it hard.
We have a very sin-focused church, as I’ve already mentioned. “Confession of sin” is likely the most popular thing preached today. In the last session we read I John 1:9, and saw how popular this doctrine is. Probably more is said about sin than any one single thing. Satan has really blinded our minds to the reality of what God has done in Christ (II Cor 4:4).
Most of us think we are going to be judged for sin when we get to heaven. How can this be, if Jesus came to ‘put sin away’? (Heb 9:26). How can this be if Jesus gave himself for our sins? (Gal 1:4). How can this be if Jesus says for us not to even think he will accuse us to the Father (John 5:44)? He must have something to accuse us of, right?
How can this be if Jesus became sin for us, and took our sin upon himself? (II Cor 5:21). This passage is called ’the great exchange,’ because it is a double-whammy. Jesus took our sin, and all our liability, accusation and judgment, BUT he also gave us his glory and righteousness and authority — and everything else he has.
“As Jesus is, so are WE in this world.”
Does God Keep A Record of Our Sin?
It is preached that God keeps ‘a little black book’ of our sins and that we will be held accountable for every idle word we utter, even down to saying ‘heck’ (Matt 12:36). But we’ve got to remember Jesus said this before the cross. This was under the law where everything had to be kept perfectly. We are under grace, not law (Rom 6:14). Ours is a NEW Covenant. Accusation for sin is only brought under the Old Covenant (Heb 9:15), not the New.
God does have a book, but it’s called ‘The Lamb’s Book of Life,’ and our names are gloriously written in it. Jesus has already appeared before the Father for us, and has paid the price for every idle word we utter (Heb 9:24-26). This is called the doctrine of substitution, due to the cross.
As substitute, Jesus took our place on the cross, and we were crucified with him, as Paul relates in Galatians 2:20. This is why he says that we are dead, and our life is hidden in Christ (Col 3:3).
Does Sin Reign, or Does Righteousness?
Sin reigned unto death, but grace reigns unto righteousness and eternal life (Rom 6:21). The fact is God sees us as being crucified with Christ, as Paul says. This means we are dead. Paul says we are ‘baptized’ into Christ’s death. In God’s eyes, we are dead along with him. But being dead we also live in him, and he who is dead is freed from sin (Rom 6:7). This means being free from the crippling accusation of sin, and responsibility for it, not free from ever sinning.
It is also preached that if we sin, it breaks us off from our fellowship with God. He doesn’t want to have anything at all to do with us, turns his back on us, and puts his hands over his ears so he can’t hear our prayers. Wrong. If sin broke fellowship with God, he’d be more gone than here.
The truth is our fellowship with God is continual, even when we sin (I John 1:5-7). We have been called into fellowship by Jesus (I Cor 1:9). We draw near to God, not by our good looks or good works, but by Christ’s blood (Eph 2:13). Don’t be guilty of ‘trampling under our feet the Son of God, and counting the blood of the New Covenant and unholy thing, doing despite to the spirit of grace’ (Heb 10:29).
And another legalistic ploy of some preachers is that we must make Jesus Lord over every single area of our life or we are out of fellowship with God. It’s preached: “If Jesus is not Lord OF all, he is not Lord AT all.” It is implied that we are in sin if we have not made Jesus ‘Lord of ALL.’ The truth is that he is Lord because of what HE did, not because of what WE do.
We are a new creation in Christ (II Cor 5:17). We are a ‘God-Man’ and are no longer strictly human. With the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in us, we are a different mixture, and are not like every other human being in the world. Once we receive Christ we become like a new SPECIES. “Old things have passed away and all things have become new.” The entire spirit world even sees us as sitting with God on his throne, even if we have difficulty seeing ourselves this way (Eph 2:6). Believe me, if you ever believe this and live in it, it will change anything you may believe about spiritual warfare. Every angel of God, and every demon of hell sees us in this position, ‘high above all principality and power.’
How God Gives Us Diplomatic Immunity from Sin
There are several explanations how God does this, but one of the best is in Romans 5:13: “For until the law, sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed where there is no law.” There are three timelines of history, to wit:
(1) 2,000 years from the Garden to the law,
(2) 2,000 years from the law to the cross,
(3) 2,000 years from the cross to today.
In the first period, sin was in the world but it was not held against people because there was no law. God must have something to charge people with or there can be no complaint. His complaint is about sin, but it is the law that defines sin. So if there is no law, there is no definition of sin, and we can’t be charged with it.
In the second period, sin was still in the world and it was held against people because the law was in existence. The law was given to Moses at Mount Sinai in the book of Exodus. It was after this that law was in control and people could be charged with it and convicted of it. Paul says that it is by the law that we have knowledge of sin (Rom 3:20).
But, as we saw in Coaching Session #3, the law has been removed again. Sin cannot be held against us because there is no law today. In order to live unto God, we must be dead to the law (Gal 2:19). There is now no condemnation in Christ (Rom 8:1). If there is no condemnation, there is no accusation, and thus no guilt. Hebrews 10:2 says if the Old Covenant law had been sufficient, people would have ‘no more conscience about sin.’
Sin is defined as transgression of the law (I John 3:4). But transgression (sin) was only possible under the first, Old Covenant (Heb 9:15). We live in the second, New Covenant, and sin is not something that is held against us, and for which we are held accountable in the New Covenant.
Is This Saying We Don’t Sin?
Now, is this saying we don’t sin? Absolutely not!!!
I wish I could say I never sin. I believe God could do heart surgery on me any time of the day or night — 24/7 — and find enough sin in me to send me directly to hell. Without Jesus, we all have a one-way ticket to hell. If you play Monopoly, if you draw this card what it says is, “Go to jail! Go directly to jail! Do not pass ‘Go’! Do not collect $200!”
I can say the gospel has softened my heart so I am not as susceptible to sin as I once was. I still sin, but you might say I sin in ‘softer ways.’ But it makes no spiritual difference. It is not a secret to my wife Eileen, but in my younger years I was an adulterer. That is big sin, at least in the eyes of most people. Today, I not only don’t commit adultery, but I feel guilty if I even raise my voice to Eileen. My spirit has become softer in many ways. But I am still a sinner.
The only different is that, because of Jesus, I’m not held for my sin. Jesus has taken my sin upon himself, and he has freely given me his righteousness (II Cor 5:21).
As ambassadors for Christ on earth, and as residents of heaven, and just visiting here, I have diplomatic immunity from sin. This doesn’t say I don’t sin! Sin just is not held against me! I can’t be charged with it! Like diplomats from other countries here in the U.S., they can’t be charged with crimes while they’re here. This applies to us! This is living in All the Light We Do Not See!
This Is Like Being Tax Exempt
Now, I know you would understand if I spoke about tax exemption. We all know this means that, if we are tax exempt, we don’t pay taxes. It’s a very simple illustration. Well, if we are sin-exempt, we don’t pay ‘tax’ on our sin, so to speak. Jesus paid the ‘tax’ on our sin. Because the ‘tax’ has been paid, there is no more to collect. This is the best common-day illustration that I can think of.
God Forgives Our Sin, but He Also Forgets Our Sin
First, we know that Jesus has all judgment, and that he says he reserved judgment until the end times, when he returns to hold us all to ‘required responsibility in the gospel’ (Deut 18:15-19). Jesus says: “Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father” (John 5:45). Christ wants to empower us in our beliefs, not accuse us of sin. There must be an accusation against us for us to be convicted and found guilty. If we live the gospel we’re told, “There is now NO condemnation in Christ” (Rom 8:1).
We know that God forgives our sin — ALL of our sin (Eph 4:32, Col 1: 14, Col 2:13). But then we are told that God also FORGETS our sin. In fact, Hebrews tells us this twice just so we don’t miss it (but most seem to miss it anyway). He says this both in Hebrews 8:12, and in 10:17).
How can God judge what he has not only forgiven, but has also forgotten? Plus he sees Jesus as being responsible for our sin. We wonder how God can forget sin. After all, he all knowing! But he has simply chosen not to remember sin, impute it to us and hold us accountable for it, because Jesus became us, and became sin for us (Heb 7:16, II Cor 5:21).
We have a hard time with this because we never forget anything bad done to us. We have memories like elephants and remember bad things to the grave. So must deal in FORGIVENESS, not FORGETTING. But God has a capacity we don’t have: to forget what he chooses to.
To See the Reality of Sin, We Must See the Reality of Christ’s
We will never understand how we can be seen by God as having no sin, and being righteous without doing everything right — until we first see that Jesus was made to be sin without doing anything wrong. (Selah: ‘Think about this’).
Everything is based upon Jesus, and upon his finished work on the cross. The thing we are held accountable for is understanding what he did for us, and believing in what he did for us. This is where the rubber meets the road in everything.