- From the Cedar Street Times, Pacific Grove
What does God say about sin?
What is sin? Is 59:2, “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” So, sin is anything that comes between us and God. God provided Adam and Eve with all they needed, including the truth of how to live in harmony with God’s plan. However, they chose to follow Satan’s way, instead of God’s way and they immediately felt guilty, which caused them to attempt to hide from God, Gen 3:8-9, “And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?” We know God knew where they were; He just wants us to see that hiding is never the answer. This story has been repeated throughout the ages, as we have chosen to go our own way, instead of God’s perfect way, Ps 18:30, “As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.” God is always there, as He was for Adam and Eve, Heb 13:5, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” He came to be with them and found them hiding, how many of us are trying to hide from God? Gen 3:10, “And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” We are all naked in our sins, but hiding from God is never the solution.
Adam and Eve chose the fruit of the devil, which is anything that defies God’ way, rather than the fruit of the Spirit, Gal 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” The devil continues to litter this world with temptations designed to lure us away from God’s way. The devil wants us to be selfish and think of ourselves first; to seek our own way, instead of peace; to be impatient; rough; strong; to exceed moderation in all things; or to think of ourselves as victims, helpless in this oppressive world; and to live in a state of discontent. While some of these things will provide immediate gratification or ease the pain we feel, they will ultimately lead to disaster in the long run, Prov 14:12, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” If we want to know if we are following God’s way or the devil’s, we need only look at our own state of mind. Are we happy, joyful, and at peace with our life? Or do we envy what others have? Are we continually in a state of striving for something more? Have we chosen to become victims, thinking others are responsible for our situation, rather than accepting responsibility for our choices? We can pretend we do not understand this simple measuring stick, but it will not change the truth. We are responsible for our decisions and the results, which will surely follow.
God has planted His truth in our hearts and minds, Heb 10:16, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;” which means we do know when we sin, and thus, we feel the guilt of defying Him and His way. Once we feel the guilt, we must make a decision. We can acknowledge our sin, apologize when it is appropriate, and repent; or we can deny God, separate ourselves from Him, and His way. God’s Word is a mirror we can use to see the truth in our own lives. Or, we can hide from this mirror and pretend that it does not exist.
The Pharisees provide us with an example of guilt manifesting in the form of irrational responses, as they decided to try to kill Jesus because He finally admitted to them that He and the Father are one, Jn 10:30-33, “I and my Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.” These religious scholars not only knew the law, but they had also memorized most of it. They knew Jesus had fulfilled all of the prophecies of their coming Messiah, they saw Him perform miracles that only God could perform, and then He told them He was God. Their strong desire to hide from Him led them to try and kill Him, for they were not willing to follow Him.
Today, we see large parts of our community choosing to separate themselves from God, attempting to kill Him. It breaks my heart as it breaks God’s heart, Jn 11:35, “Jesus wept.” Jesus was not just weeping for Lazarus’ friends and family, He was weeping for all of us who still refuse to allow ourselves to believe, after all He has done. It is our unwillingness to believe that causes us to separate ourselves from Him, our refusal to follow Him and His way, Heb 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
God never changes, Heb 13:8, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” His love for us never changes, Rom 8:38-39, “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” God will always love us, and it is only our sin that separates us from Him. It is our actions, not His, our choices, not His that separate us from His love. We place the stumbling blocks that keep us from Him, Eze 14:7, “For every one of the house of Israel, or of the stranger that sojourneth in Israel, which separateth himself from me, and setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to a prophet to enquire of him concerning me; I the Lord will answer him by myself:” God’s love for us never changes. He is always ready to forgive us, to give us His truth, and therefore, it is our love for Him that will decide our eternal fate, Tit 3:11, “Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.” Yes, if we are condemned, if we have separated ourselves from God, we will have no one to blame but ourselves, for our own choices will have condemned us.
As we journey through this life we can be transformed by the Word of God, if we choose to return His love, or we can choose to doubt Him, which means we will never know Him and His love, 1 Jn 3:6, “Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.” We can stop sinning, with God’s help, because His way is perfect and His thoughts are better than ours, Is 55:8-9, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Once we choose to abide in His love, we become new creatures, 2 Cor 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” Only when we refuse to follow Jesus, thinking our own way is best, Prov 4:12, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” will we miss out on the eternity He is offering, Jer 29:11, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” and His expected end of eternal peace and joy.
He has given us His Word so we might study, learn His way and begin the transformation to perfection, 2 Tim 3:16-17, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” Jesus will finish our transformation when He returns, and all who love Him will all be changed, 2 Cor 3:18, “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” He earnestly desires to utter these words to all of us, Matt 25:23, “His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord” and we will never hear sweeter words.
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