Edited by Mary Joanne Alorro
Sin — many of us know what it is and how it affects us yet we seldomly take it seriously. Now, what is sin really? Sin literally means “to miss the mark.” So there is a mark to hit and for some reason, we miss it. We can easily relate this to archery, dart or shooting. God has set a mark. God called us to be holy as He is holy. Apparently, He is not saying, be holy like your pastor, small group leader, the friend you just met, and so on. God compares us to His holiness. Nobody meets that standard but Jesus Christ. That is why Jesus became the only worthy sacrifice to purge our guilt from our sins. He, a sinless person, paid the penalty of our sins by giving His life on the cross of calvary effectively pacifiying God’s wrath and the cry of justice our sins and transgressions deserve.
Going back, the Scripture says in Romans 3:23,
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
In the same chapter, it says:
9 “All. . . are under sin,
10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;
11 no one understands; no one seeks for God.
12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”
Without doubt, we have all sinned in the sight of God. We have fallen short of His glory. We have missed the mark He’d set for us. So it does not matter how well you support a charity institution or a family, help a commuity nor does it matter how well you perform in your job. It does not count at all how “better” you are compared to your neighbor. All sort of sin in the sight of God have the same result: DEATH. The scriptures put it this way:
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
God sees the gravity of sin as serious as He sees it necessary to send His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to release us from its bondage. God has to do something to free us or we will be spending our eternity in the lake that is burning with fire and brimstone also known as Hell. If Hell is but a state of mind or a situation, why would God need to sacrifice His Only Son to suffer for sins He didn’t commit? For the Son, why would He, Jesus Christ, see it a necessity to come down from His glorious throne in Heaven, worshipped by His angels 24/7, just to live like us and eventually suffer His humiliating death on the cross prepared for sinners? Why would God see it necessary to lay down His life for us? Because as real as there is a sun tomorrow morning as we wake up, Hell is awaiting those sinners who continually turn their backs to God. Sin is turning our backs to God, to His law, His commandments, His will, His Lordship into our lives. Sin is our act of rebellion against God, keeping God out of our lives, our decisions, our relationships, our businesses, our careers, our families. Sin is disrespecting God’s sovereignty over us. We neglect His law to follow our own lusts and pleasures. That is sin; and sin with all certainty leads to death. Psalms 119:11 says,
“I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”
To store or from an older version, “hide” the word of God in our heart means to keep it, apply it, and live it. It is not just a memory verse or a pile of knowledge but a set rules or personal devotion we ought to live by. Many want to live life on their own terms that’s why words such as rules, commandments, laws and anything similar are least favorited. But looking into these words, we should ask, “Why are they set that way?” The Scriptures answer, “That I (or we) might not sin against You (God).” To discuss this further, one Bible critic once asked a believer, “Why would we set a moral standard if it is relative? Like what is moral with you might not be so with me and vice versa.” The believer then answered, “Do you lock your door when you sleep?” He said, “Yes.” Then the believer continued saying that it’s the reason why we need a moral standard– Jesus, God, the Bible as our moral standards. Because we live in a fallen world.
You know, if you cannot believe that the Bible is God’s inspired Word, then try to see the lives of people who genuinely live by it. There are those who once lived in drug addiction, alcohol, pornography; or even those who were once depressed and without hope. See what progress they have in their lives now because they started to believe and live by the word of God. It is not to restrict your freedom, my friend. God’s words aim to protect you and lead you to a more meaningful life. Psalms 119:9 says,
“How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.”
“Young man” can be literal or figurative. So we definitely have no alibi. Aha! Right. So we cannot say this does not apply to us. You see, “young” can be interpreted to be someone with less experience about the word of God or life itself. We can be experienced and/or knowledgeable over something but not everything. Thus, living by the Word of God should give a concrete protection from falling and failing. Why? Because God is the Only Author of the life we are living right now. Who knows an invention better than its inventor? 2 Timothy 3:16,17 put it this way,
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
Back to main topic, we all have sinned. At some point in our lives, we have missed to live by that Word of God. And as much as God’s Word can accomplish great things in our lives, so is the effect of sin cause great consequences. We need to understand that God takes this very seriously and He is looking forward to settle this with us. 1 Corinthians 6:9,10 says,
“… Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
The Scriptures enumarated a few:
1) Sexually immoral,
4) Men (and women) who practice homosexuality,
8) Revilers, and
We can discuss each one of these on a different forum. For now, perhaps we have a clear cut outlining on what is pleasing God and what is not. To reiterate, God does not intend to condemn us by laying these down before us. We condemn ourselves by our sins. He came to save. Not to condemn. By our decision to neglect His call, we condemn ourselves unworthy of Him and destined to eternal death (Hell). Pointing out which act is a sin or which person is sinning is not supposed to single us out to be humiliated in front of the so-called “saints” to judge us. Personally, the issue of sin does not concern us with our friend, pastor nor family. The issue of sin does concern us with God and with God alone! So let’s stop rationalizing and pointing our fingers to several folks whom we think we’re better than. God sees doing those unrigteous works a sin. And we need to personally settle it with Him. In Isaiah 1:18, God says,
“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”
God wants a reconcilation with us. Yup! We do commit sin. This writing dude is not exempted. God wants us to sit together with Him and settle our cases before Him — We, individually, and God Himself. No other mediator but Jesus Christ. You read that right. No, not your pastor nor any saint you have in mind right now. So, when God says that drunkeness is unrighteousness, and whosoever lived in it will not inherit His eternal kingdom, do not harden your heart and say, “It doesn’t actually mean that way. The world has changed, so is the Word of God. It has to ‘adapt’ to the current ‘trends’ of the world.” Seriously? Tell that to the never-changing God who created all things for His pleasure. Not to me. Because, first, why would I restrict you from doing what you want in life? Second and last, what does it profit me? None at all. And besides, that is the Word of God speaking to you and me. Not somebody else’s philosophy. God stands true to Himself, unchanging ever before the world began. So what should change His mind about His law? If the heavenly beings, so majestic and wonderful did not change a bit of His mind, who or what are we, helpless beings who came from earth’s dust and ashes to even attempt to do so? And yet, as discussed earlier, this Great God reached out to us, helpless and undeserving beings.
“Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,
“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness.” (Hebrew 3:7,8)
To wrap up, God loves us. He did reach out for us no matter how undeserving we are. But it does not stop there. We have a responsibility to work out on our own — to humbly come unto His presence to settle our cases before Him. Acknowledge our sins before Him and ask for His forgiveness, then finally turn our backs to our sinful lifestyles. Sin no matter how small for us have the same result and gravity with gravest ones to God. If left unsettled, it will grow to overcome us and keep us from receiving God’s love and forgiveness. We need to settle it as soon as NOW! Yes. NOW. I will say it again, NOW! Can you feel it? It is that urgent. But it will always be your choice to respond to it. I hope and pray that by the time you decide to settle all your cases with God, it is not too late. When is too late? Who knows.