Friday, October 27, 2006

Sin

I've been reading through Jeremiah. It is so intense. Jeremiah was so burdened over the sins of his people. He pleaded with God for mercy while preaching judgment on the people. He spent most of his ministry being ridiculed, persecuted, or simply ignored. Finally, he finished his life in captivity, a seeming failure.

What do we learn from Jeremiah? Many things, of course. But the thing that comes foremost to my mind is that God is serious about sin. Unfortunately, I'm not sure we're as serious.

I find that many people, even Christians, take sin very lightly in the main. Years ago Menninger asked, "Whatever happened to sin?". The same question could be asked today. What is sin anymore?

Is breaking the Ten Commandments sin? Then is it sin to erect other gods such as money, fame, hobbies, sports, possessions, or relationships? Is it sin to take God's name in vain by profanity, vulgarity, or even the slang derivatives of His name like "gosh" and "geeze"? Is it sin to treat the Lord's Day as any other by working, playing, or just simply doing our own thing and absenting ourselves from public worship? Is it sin to stick our aged parents in a nursing home and then forget about them? Is it sin to hate and to curse others, even on the freeway? Is it sin to lust, to be pornographers, fornicators (live-ins, co-habiters), adulterers, or sodomists? Is it sin to steal, even small amounts, even by wasting our employers' time, or cheating on our time cards? Is it sin to lie, slander, or gossip? Do we relish the news and the tabloids, drinking in lies and slander? Are we really innocent if we do so? Is it sin when we try to "keep up with the Jones'", coveting more and more and more while our poorer neighbors around the world suffer in poverty and sickness? Is there any such thing as sin anymore?

To read Jeremiah (or the rest of the Bible for that matter) one will know that the answer to these and many other questions like them is a resounding "YES, it is SIN!" Jeremiah wrote: "Thus says the LORD of hosts: 'Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes; they speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD. They say continually to those who despise the word of the LORD, "It shall be well with you", and to every one who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say, "No evil shall come upon you,"'" (Jer. 23:16,17).

It seems this is exactly the world we live in today. People are taught that God is so loving and so merciful that He will overlook your sin. So it's no big deal. "All will be well with you. God would never send you to hell." It is true that God is loving and merciful. It is not true He will overlook sin. Instead, it is true to say He will forgive sin. There's a great difference.

To overlook sin is to make sin nothing. We may do as we please and still have God's love and favor. One look at a crucifix ought to dispel such a notion. Sin was so bad that it required nothing less than the death of God's own Son to pay for it. It was God's love and mercy that provided such a sacrifice. However, we trample all over it when we adopt such glib attitudes toward sin. Instead, God calls for contrition and repentance.

Contrition is to be genuinely sorry for our sins; sorry enough to do something about it. Repentance is to turn around. It is to turn away from sin and toward God. When we do this, then God shows His mercy, forgiving our sins, and providing the Grace necessary to overcome it in the future.

I have been terribly guilty of taking God's love and mercy for granted. I have sinned repeatedly as if it were no big deal. Have you?

I am deeply sorry for my sins; sorry enough to take practical measures to change. I am choosing the road of repentance. I will turn and forsake my sin and walk in the way of the cross towards my Lord. Will you?

Sin is serious. God is serious about sin. He is serious enough to judge those who die in their sins and condemn them eternally. He did it to the fallen angels. He will do it to persistent, stubborn human beings. However, when we become serious about sin; that is, serious about changing it, then God will offer His mercy and Grace.

4 Comments:

Blogger Joni said...

God forgive us for taking sin too lightly. For calling it an "issue" or a "struggle", and not what it is: SIN.

Once again, your ponderings cause me to ponder, too, Patrick!

6:31 PM  
Blogger Hidden One said...

No kidding. That was pretty straight to the point. Do you mind if I put that up on one of my blogs (Exhortations of a Different Kind)? I'd like to this blog, naturally, but these two blogs definitely have totally different reader sets, and I think your post was an excellent way to get a point out there that many people tend to ignore (I include myself in this).

Sincerely In Christ,
Hidden One.

4:15 PM  
Blogger Patrick said...

Hidden One,

Yes, feel free to copy the post. Hope it will bless whoever reads it.

Peace to you,
Patrick

7:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This post causes great soul searching. Thank you again.

Reader

12:27 PM  

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