Dken,do you think because you now are a believer you are absolved from your past actions,or your future acts that may be questionable? Its easy to be a believer if you dont actually follow any rules set out in the OT or NT and that is why you rely soley on SPAG for your beliefs.
Spag is so easy,if you think God is comfortable with your actions that are counter to his instructions BAM in your mind you have justified it and can continue to live as if you were following a set of obscure rules.
Hi Monk, thanks for the insightful question. If it were SPAG then I could make up my own rules and try to make those around me live up to them not because they said they would, but because me, projecting myself into Godhood, would demand it. I would not be holding them to a standard they said they would follow, but one that I created. That would be SPAG. If they become believers, THEY allow Jesus to rule over them. All that I can or could do is help them to see what His commands are and if they love Him, they will obey Him, not me. The problem comes in when the believer gets frustrated with his family or whatever and looses his cool, falls back into his own human nature.
To answer your first question, in God's eyes I am forgiven from all of my past, present, and future sins. This is because of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross, vicariously dying in my place and suffering the punishment that I deserve. So positionally I am free from all my sin and the guilt that comes with it because of Him, not because I have become such a nice guy. "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus" is what the Bible says in Romans 8:1. Now I can believe that or not, it's up to me.
This does not, however, absolve me from the effects or responsibility toward those I have mistreated in the past or those I will hurt in some way in the future. I see this with new believers a lot. They see all of the things in the past that they have messed up and want to go back and make it right. They pay back things they have stolen. They ask forgiveness from people that they have wronged in the past. I did that with my parents. All of the time that I spent having my own way and hurting them and embarrassing them, I had to ask them to forgive me. It floored them. They did not know what to think. I tried to catalog the hurts for them and they were overwhelmed. They forgave me and tried to say it was not necessary to name all of the times I hurt them, it was "okay, enough" and for them it was, but I had to clear my conscience before them and, more importantly, before God. They were not the only ones, though. As I said, I was not a nice person before salvation. I'll not bore you with the details, but it is very uncomfortable to ask forgiveness for the cruddy things you have done in the past. If it were not for obedience to my Savior, and the desire for a clean conscience, I would not have done it.
As to future sins, 1 John 1:9 says that once you are a believer and have yourself under the authority of Jesus Christ "It we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." The word all in the Greek, original tongue means "all", not some or lots of them, but all of them. The key is honesty, what the Bible calls "walking in Light" in 1 John 1:5,6.
So it's getting things right and agreeing with God when I fail personally, and getting things right with the people I have wronged as well.
If I just try to get it right with God and not the people, there is a scripture for that. It is Matt. 5: 23, 24. "Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that they brother hath aught against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift." Now, as a side note, Jesus was in the Jewish religion in the early first century when there was still a temple and they still had sacrifices on a physical altar. Before Jesus death on the cross the OT law was still in effect. When Jesus died, was buried, and rose again, the old law died and a new dispensation, the "Church Age," began at Pentecost, a Jewish feast day (picturing the new church age as first fruits).
For the NT believer "bringing a sacrifice" could be something like praying. If you begin praying and remember that unkind word to your spouse, employee, neighbor, etc. get off of your knees and go get it right with that person. Substitute praying for helping at the food pantry, or serving in you churches choir, or whatever. The main point to remember in all of this is that if you are not a believer you are not held to this standard, only Christians.
Before I was "saved" I tried to be good. "Being good" is following the law. This is how I tried to be right with God, following His law, thinking that keeping the law would earn me favor with Him. The law is His perfect standard of righteousness. Absolute goodness. The first four commandments pertain to our relationship with God. Have no other gods before Him, don't make idols or bow down to worship them, keep the sabbath day separated from the other six days, and don't take His name lightly or irreverently. The last five have to do with our relationships on the earthly plane, with people. Thou shalt not murder (the Jewish word here is "Ratsah" or murder, not just killing. Manslaughter would not be Ratsah, killing in a war between two belligerent armies would not be Ratsah, only 1st degree intentional homicide), thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not steal, not to bear false witness (lying) and not to covet what other people have. The fifth command is the one that ties both sides together, honor, or obey with the proper reverence, your mother and father.
Now, the Bible says no person in history has kept the law perfectly. "All have sinned and come short of the Glory of God." (Romans 3:23) Which of us on this site could say, "I have kept that law all of my life, I have never broken even one of those commands?" No, the Bible says, "There is none righteous, no, not one." I am still a sinner. Nobody is perfect.
I am sorry that I am going on long with this, but this question of SPAG verses God's word needs clarification.
If it were my rules, I sure would not make a rule that says don't "look at a woman with lust in the deep recesses of your mind (heart. Matt. 5:27,28.)" when I know I could not keep it. I would make up a rule like "be as nice as you can to those people that aren't too goofy." Treat your wife nice if she doesn't do something stupid. Treat others like you think they deserve and don't come down too hard on them even if they don't remember your birthday, and tons of other laws that would let me off the hook, to act as I think I should, depending, of course, on the circumstances.
That's what people are like, in my estimation, but God is not like that. His standards don't change. I know many of you think differently, which is why I am taking some time with this point. This all boils down to who is God that I should obey Him? SPAG answers that question with DKEN the almighty, which I, demonstrably, am not.