Posted tagged ‘Sin’

When Sin Crouches At the Door

May 20, 2017

depositphotos Image ID: 39910063 Copyright: ectorass

“If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” Genesis 4:7

We know the story of Cain & Abel. They were the sons of Adam & Eve. They both offered sacrifices to God. Cain gave an offering from “the fruit of the ground”, and Abel of the “fat portions”[1] from the “firstlings”[2] of his flock. (Genesis 4:3-4) All was good, right?

Well, no. God “regarded” Abel’s offering, but didn’t “regard” Cain’s offering, and that is when the problem started. Cain became angry[3], and his “countenance fell”. (Genesis 4:4-5) We know the rest of the story: Cain ends up killing Abel.

Lest we be tempted to think that we don’t need to pay attention to the details of this story because we aren’t like Cain – we would never kill anyone – consider these words of Jesus:

“You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not commit murder’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court….” (Matthew 5:21-22)

Anyone who has ever been angry with another person, might do well to consider the details of the story of Cain and Abel.

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Are People Responsible for the Earth?

January 22, 2017
Photo by Randy Schoof

Photo by Randy Schoof

There is an irony at play today in regard to the way Christians see the world and the prevalent way modern westerners see the world. Modern westerners largely believe that human beings are affecting climate change and are arguing that we must change the way we do things because we are breaking the world.

Christians may or may not believe in climate change and may or may not believe that we can affect climate change, but Christians believe that human beings broke the world because of sin, because we rebelled against God, because we are flawed.

The irony is that modern westerners don’t believe in sin. They don’t believe in God or that we are opposed to God in our nature. They don’t believe that people are fundamentally flawed. They don’t believe that we are responsible for the brokenness of the world.

Aiming for Eternity

August 10, 2016

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God is from everlasting to everlasting. He sets eternity in the hearts of men (Ecc. 3.11), but our glimpse of eternity and our sense of God is often obscured by the every day realities of our lives.

That God set eternity into the hearts of men should tell us something. It should urge us to look beyond ourselves, to look to God for His purpose in our lives. Yet we are often given to walking with our heads down, driven with blinders on chasing after self-fulfillment or prone to obsessive self-reflection with eyes turned inward. We have a hard time seeing past our own noses, much less focusing on an eternal God  We have a hard time, wherever our gazes are set, letting go of self-direction.

The Bible calls that sin.

Take the morality out of sin, and sin is simply missing the mark. The mark is God, His character and His purpose. When our focus is on other things, when we are pursuing other things to the exclusion of God, we are missing the mark. We are missing the purpose of God in our lives.

God, of course, is the very reason for our existence. (more…)

The Temptation to Complain

May 9, 2016
Photo by Beth Drendel

Photo by Beth Drendel

Why should any living man complain?[i] You are alive! Therefore, you have hope.

Your life, no doubt, has not gone the way you hoped it would. Looking back, there may be many regrets. You may deeply wish that you had known then what you know now, and if only you had some foresight, some sheer luck perhaps, things would be much different.

But things are what they are, and no amount of wishful thinking will change the course of events that have happened to this point.

Have you made mistakes? Be honest! We all make mistakes, and not just mistakes of choice – we all do things we should not have done. We have all done things that we knew we should not have done because they were not right.

We try to “redeem” those mistakes. Sometimes, we try to redeem them by re-characterizing our actions, thoughts and decisions, owning them as if they were right because they are who we are.

That is the temptation of modern life. “Be who you are” – whatever that may be. “Never apologize for who you are”.

But who are you?

Are you your own person?

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Taking the Emotion out of Sin

March 29, 2016

“[T]he wages[1] of sin[2] is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23.

We tend to view sin in moralistic terms, but we don’t need to view it that way. The adage, “we are what we eat”, is an apt description for sin, though we tend to view it in moralistic terms as reaping what we sow. [3]

Although sin is at the heart of morality, the emotion of morality in this modern, post Christian age in the US may cloud a clear view of sin and the relationship between sin and death. Men have tried to hijack morality and claim it as their own, but, if God exists, He is the moral standard; further, without God, there is no such thing as objective morality.

But that’s not what this piece is about. Let’s put aside the issue of morality and take the emotion out of the equation. Let’s take the emotion out of sin and see what is left.

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How Can God Judge Good People: Examining the Problem In More Detail

February 22, 2016
https://www.flickr.com/photos/daynoir/2180510779/in/photolist-4jFFTr-4jKHMd-jWQJXK-odioQr-ocsW2d-odinbH-ocxZSt-g4hBCg-ocE5s6-9bjxyt-8NZVci-8RHoRH-8P41aG-oeUc8U-8NZVcZ-owufDH-ocAr9z-8kEjNt-odx8YU-chcGb-owxMQc-jWQpsn-oe1m1N-8LFfce-ouzTQs-jWR4Hi-osKV4U-jWSQS5-hrLbx1-6utpwj-apBGdk-owEuZp-em3Gxk-oeQ9Rf-9bjxxF-8Vkhtj-8VhsPF-ovviDV-8RHoSc-ou8Fd6-odpLFj-6hLRVK-QKB3p-nzWLGM-osEBRN-DBdANc-ouGvh8-oegftL-oyffAa-hvLNE6

Dayna Mason on Flickr

In a previous blog post, I explained how God is the standard of goodness, and we all fall short of that standard. We have a false view of goodness when we measure ourselves against other people. When we measure ourselves against God, we do not measure up.

And, this is the problem: if God is perfectly good, and there is no bad in Him, we would corrupt Heaven if we entered there. Even the comparatively little bit of bad in the best person would pollute the perfect goodness of God. Just as the physical characteristics of people are virtually indistinguishable 110 stories atop the John Hancock Building, our relative goodness is indistinguishable from the perspective of the perfect goodness of God.

It is not that God would refuse us because of our imperfection; our own corruption (sin) is the problem. As Ezra pined, “Here we are before you in our guilt, though because of it not one of us can stand in your presence.” (Ezra 9:15) Our own sin keeps us from God; our sin separates us from God. The problem is us, not God.

We can not enter Heaven in our present state, the “place” where God dwells, because whatever “bad” we have in us would prevent us from entering. Like an invisible force field, we could not enter in. Our sin would catch us short.

A discussion of goodness and badness, however, really misses the point altogether. As I have said, “goodness” is defined by God, and only God is God. We are not. That may seem elementary, and it is – in the sense that it is essential to understanding our problem. To understand more completely, we have to go back to the beginning. (more…)

Lead Us Not Into Temptation

July 30, 2015

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“And do not lead[i][ii] us into temptation[iii]….” (Matt. 6:13) is one of the things Jesus taught to us to pray to the Father. Does that mean that God might lead us into temptation (if we did not pray for Him not to)? Clearly not!

We must always be careful when reading Scripture to put a verse in context. Every verse should be read in harmony with the rest of Scripture. The Greek word translated “temptation” here can mean either temptations or tests (or trials), and the meaning of it in a particular passage must be derived from the context. It can mean sufferings that test or try or allurements that tempt us into evil. “Of these the former is the dominant meaning in the language of the New Testament, and is that of which we must think here.(more…)


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