Thursday, May 14, 2009
Sin and Death
So, what is it? What exactly is sin? According to one very popular TV preacher today, sin is simply not living up to your full potential. It is settling for less than "Your Best Life Now". According to Mr. Osteen, sin is simply bad choices I make that keep me from realizing my dreams and fulfilling my potential.
That sounds great, until I hold it up to the teaching of scripture. According to the Bible, you know, the book that Christian believe to be the source of teaching for our faith, the lens through which we are to look at life and learn about God. You know it, the best selling, least read book of all time. You know, THE BIBLE. (If only people would do the same thing with "Your Best Life Now" and "Become a Better You." But, unfortunately, people are actually reading those books.)
When I look at Scripture's definition of sin it is right before me as plain and easy to understand as anything. Sin is FALLING SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD. Therefore, sin is not about my dreams, hopes and potential, it is about God's Glory. It is about His desires, His goodness, and His nature being on display in my life. It is about me, as a human being, reflecting the glory of God back to him. That means that anything I do that is contrary to the nature of God, contrary to his perfection, or contrary to his Holiness is sin, regardless of how I feel about it. And, since God never changes, neither do his desires. So sin is an objective, not subjective, reality. Sin is sin and will always be sinful in any culture. Some cultures just tolerate more than others. Those who tolerate it too much, ultimately fail.
Yet, today, the church seems too afraid to teach about sin or preach against it for fear of being offensive, perceived as negative, or accused of being intolerant or judgmental. This is unfortunate, because while sin is bad, there is good news to the answer of sin. But, for the good news to be good, there must be bad news first. The bad news? We are all sinners. We are all offensive to God. We are all the problem. I am the problem. God is repulsed by the sin in my life and the bigger problem is that once I have sinned, I create a condition in my heart that enjoys sin and longs for more. You see, I like sin. I like it too much and therefore cannot get away from it on my own power. Sure I may disguise it and keep it under wraps, but it is always there. If I don't follow through on the action, I at least think the thought and to a holy, perfect, God, both are equally offensive. So, repeat after me - "I am offensive to God because I like to sin." Go ahead, say it. You know its true.
You see, the problem is that we have become convinced in this country that somehow people are basically good when we aren't. Sure we may look good compared to other people, but we weren't created to be compared to others, we were created for GOD'S GLORY. And that is the problem. Sure, we might achieve some glory for ourselves, our country or even our church, but God's glory is so much bigger. It demands complete perfection in thought and deed because that is who God is and we were create to show it.
So, look deep down inside yourself and realize one thing, apart from Jesus Christ and his sacrifice for you sin, you are offensive to God. It isn't that God doesn't love you, He does, he just cannot take who you have become. Sin has destroyed everything in you that was good. Everything that was God honoring and acceptable to him is now stained and repulsive to him.
So, lets try to come back to center and understand that Jesus came to be mediator between us and God because God is holy and we are sinful. Because we needed someone to stand in the gap. He did not come simply so you could "Become a Better You" and achieve the American Dream. He came because we were all hopelessly lost in sin and needed someone to help. And that friends is the good news that will carry us Above Reality.