A Right View of Sin

What is sin? What does it mean to have sinned? Is it saying something unkind? Is it taking a candy bar that isn’t yours? Is it not adhering to the ten commandments? Using scripture, sin is essentially a transgression of the law of God, an act of rebellion. It is an act that is in direct opposition of God.

[4] Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. (1 John 3:4 ESV)

We know that the world is full of sin, and will continue to be until some appointed day in the future. Only God the Father knows when this will come to be. But until then, we are experiencing the effect of this curse on all creation. Knowing that God is never changing also means that He is never changing on his position with sin.

Sin deserves punishment

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; (2 Peter 2:4 ESV)

Angels are spiritual beings that were created to serve God. In terms of a creation timeline, the bible doesn’t necessarily say, but we can suppose that they were created before humanity, and sometime before the world was created. In terms of the hierarchy of creation, they are above humans. They are at a higher level of intelligence and power. The first sin was the rebellion of Satan, an angel, who opposed God by denying and refusing to submit to the authority of God. Not even angels escape the punishment of sin. Those who rebelled were cast into hell and will not escape the judgement of God.

When I came across this scripture, I felt the heavy weight of Gods righteous punishment on sin. Not even angels, who are closer to God than humans, are free from the effect and punishment of sin. One single sin is enough to be separated from the presence of God. Do I really understand my condition? Do I understand the heaviness of the sin in my life?

God has provided a way for forgiveness

Knowing that God is never changing also means that his righteous punishment of sin does not contradict his agape, holy love. God is love (1 John 4:8). God is in fact being love when he punishes sin. We cannot simply apply our human understanding of an attribute of character to God. We may say someone isn’t loving when applying punishment. But Gods characters do not oppose each other. He showed us His love when he was made manifest in Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 3:16).

Before the beginning of time, before the beginning of creation, God knew that Satan would rebel against Him. He knew that we would not choose God from our own will. Yet He provided a way for us all to be reconciled and restored into our relationship with Him.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 ESV)

We have access to God through Jesus Christ alone. There is no other way (John 14:6). Jesus experienced the punishment for the sin that we so deserve. He satisfied the Fathers righteous punishment when He bore our sin on that cross and experienced the wrath of God. Though He never sinned, He became sin so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).

So what do we need to do? Repent and believe. (Acts 16:30). Repentance is a change of mind. We must have a right view of sin. We must turn from our ways, and believe. Believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Believe that Jesus died for our sins. Believe that He defeated death and sin on the cross.

We will one day live in a world without sin

[1] Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. [2] And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. [3] And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. [4] He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:1-4 ESV)

And this is our eternal hope. There will be a day that sin will be no more. Imagine what that will look like. No more sickness. No more murder. No more hurt. No more tears. No more broken relationships. No more feelings of anxiety, fearfulness, depression. No corruption. In heaven, the redeemed will lack absolutely nothing, and will have the supreme treasure that is above everything. Being in the presence of the glory of God!

Having a right view of sin will result in a right view of eternity.

Finding True Contentment

A few months back my church started a prayer walk, which has evolved into a weekly event where we come together in prayer. One of the topics that we concentrate on is the confession of sin in our life. During last nights prayer walk, as we began to approach the topic of sin, the thing that came to my mind was impatience on where I am in my faith. This morning I’ve been thinking about how that has become apparent in my life, what the bible says about it, and what needs to change.

If I had complete control of where I am in my faith, I would have extensive knowledge of theological topics, memorized more and more scripture and could recount it on demand, had the able to preach and teach, would be traveling the world spreading the gospel of Jesus, giving abundantly more in time and resources to the church and those in need, involved in every ministry opportunity that comes my way, and experiencing victory over sin in every single area of my life.

Clearly I have way too high of expectations for myself. So there is no wonder why I am feeling impatient with where I am today. Yet the Bible speaks a lot about patience.

It is written that the fruit of the Spirit is patience.

[22] But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (Galatians 5:22 ESV)

It is written God has patience with us.

[16] But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. (1 Timothy 1:16 ESV)

It is written that we are to be patient.

[7] Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. (James 5:7 ESV)

It is written that patience will bring joy.

[11] May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, (Colossians 1:11 ESV)

Now that I am aware of the sin of impatience in my life, then I think I should ask, what is causing this impatience? I don’t believe that impatience in itself is the root sin. I think there is something deeper, something which I know is evident in other areas of my life. I believe that the source of impatience comes from discontentment. The feeling that there is something I need more than what I have right now.

I know that Satan will use this to discourage me, distract me, to hinder me, to deceive me, and to try to destroy me. I know that he has tried to do this with my relationship status, my job, and now an attempt to attack my faith.

So now what? Now that I see the evidence of discontentment in my life, what  needs to happen? What does repentance look like? I think that it simply looks like this:

  1. Pray
  2. Rest

Jesus said that we can come to Him in prayer, and that His peace which surpasses all understanding will guard our hearts and minds (Philippians 4:6-7). He has said that if we ask anything in His name, He will do it (John 14:14).

Jesus said to come to Him all who are weary and burdened, and he will give us rest (Matthew 11:28). That we can cast all our anxiety upon him because He cares (1 Peter 5:7). That He has defeated sin and death on the cross, and that work is finished (John 19:30). And we can enter in to that rest (Hebrews 4:1).

Despite my ambitions and the things that I desire, even if they are good things, God loves me exactly as I am today.

I don’t have to add another devotion to the day. I don’t have to completely and fully articulate a certain doctrine. I don’t need worry if I miss a day of my daily bible reading. I don’t have to know this or that book of the bible better. I don’t need to be a Peter or a Paul or a Spurgeon or a Calvin or a Luther.

I don’t need anything more, or need to do anything more because of who God is, what He has already done, and who I am in Christ. I can trust in His provision and sovereign providence in my life, and I can confidently trust in His power and not my own. Resting in that fact is where true contentment will be found.

A New Beginning

A new year means new beginnings for many people. Resolutions are made. Goals are outlined. It is time to put the things of the past year behind us, and strive forward with ambition on what may come this new year.

But sometimes those resolutions are broken. Sometimes those goals are never achieved. Sometimes those things we wanted to put behind us still linger around. All of this seems to familiar, like we just went through the same thing last year. And we wonder if things will ever change.

There is good good news: Things can change.

There is freedom from the past. There is freedom from trying to be good enough. There is freedom from the guilt and shame. There is rest. Jesus Christ offers new beginnings for all who believe.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

– 2 Corinthians 5:17

When you repent and put your trust in Jesus Christ, you are a new creation. You are truly made new as you are anointed by the Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of everlasting life. This is the new beginning that is infinitely move important than the beginning of a new year. It is an everlasting beginning.

Being a Christian is not about getting your life in order. It is not about being perfect. It is not about having everything figured out. In all honesty we never will, and that is okay. Being a Christian is fully putting your trust in God. Our heavenly Father has provided for us a better way that rests upon His power alone.

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

– John 8:12

Trusting in the atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross is the only way. When you follow Him, he will bring you out of darkness and into the light. There is a cost to following Him though, and it will be tough. But it is worth the fight. And it is a fight that you do not have to do alone.

And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. – Matthew 28:20

This new year, put your trust in Jesus Christ, and let Him do all of the work.