Monthly Archives: September 2017

SIN SAYS “YES” & GOD SAYS “NO!”

I wish to say something about God’s “no” to Sin as He expresses it in the Church.

“For He made Him He who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
In the truth we have embraced, in our trusting God while we share the loss, hurt and anguish of the world—in these and more we reflect our Lord Jesus’ own trust in His Holy Father. From the cross on Golgotha as Luke tells us His last words were “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” (As I write this—this very moment—one of our own (Alan Comer) is dying of cancer, enduring an agonizing exit, who has uttered and is uttering words just like that. “Father, into your hands I commit my very self!”)
Our very existence as the Body of the Living Jesus Christ, is a focused expression of God’s faithfulness to His commitment to the human family; not only to the Church but, through the Church and other of His gifts, to the world.  His goodness to us as sinners makes it clear that He will not allow Sin to have the last word and determine the destiny of humans. To those that Sin would strangle and suffocate and fill with despair the Church as a forgiven People, the Church as a reconciled People has been entrusted with a ministry of reconciliation.
The Church embodies and carries a message of inexpressibly good news and it’s this: “God knows about Sin but He refuses to let it have the last word because He is GOD and not a man (Hosea 11:9).” Even God cannot force a friendship upon people but He insists: “Whatever you want; My heart wants friendship. If you don’t want Me then we can’t be friends but the reason we’re not friends if we aren’t friends is not in Me! Where sin increases so does My grace. There is nothing in Me that keeps us apart. I am the sinned against and I say I am Sin’s enemy and I cancel its alienating power by My love of you.”
(Holy One, help us indeed to embody this truth about you. help those who teach us to teach us about this truth. Open their eyes to it and thrill them with it that they may come to us at times wide-eyed and astonished at you and the truth about you with messages that are worthy of you. Come to the Church’s aid in this that we might be thankful and happy servants of yours to our families and neighbors and to the world. This prayer in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ.)

 

IT’S A GOD THING!

Sin alienates us from God!

That’s true, but the truth is bigger than that. Sin IS alienation.

It is not true that we sin and God punishes us with alienation. The truth is that in choosing sin we are choosing, have chosen alienation. To say alienation takes place as a result of our sinning is not true enough! (Yet see Isaiah 59:2.)

[We speak of sins being forgiven. This is good speech (Acts 2:38, Ephesians 1:7) even though we know that sins aren’t forgiven—sinners are.]

God doesn’t punish us with alienation—we choose it and He accepts the choice! Alienation is our doing not God’s!

Consequences follow our choosing alienation (which is the same as choosing Sin). He made us humans and as long as He maintains that decision and purpose we will make choices that (for good or ill) have consequences that include everlasting death or everlasting life. In choosing alienation we sever ourselves from God who is the source of all that is fine and lovely and righteous. In choosing alienation from God, the source of life, we choose death and all the consequences that go with that.

And God’s response to humanity’s choosing alienation; His response to our rejecting friendship with Him? What does He do?

He comes in and as Jesus Christ saying, “I’m utterly opposed to this alienation. I’m utterly opposed to Sin which is alienation. I find no joy in it! I want us to be friends, I want you to return to me and have fullness of life!.”

That is the meaning of the incarnation, life, death, resurrection and glorification of God in Jesus of Nazareth.

So, is He soft on Sin? Does He think it doesn’t matter? No that cannot be! You measure God’s hatred of Sin and sins by the depths of His love for humanity! For Him, to be soft on Sin and sins would be the same as His being casual about the alienation of His children (Acts 17:24-29) ; it would be the same as ignoring our death; the same as His caring nothing for us—the children He created! This He cannot do so He cannot be soft on Sin! On Sin!
And why is that?
It’s a God thing!
It’s the nature and heart of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He hates our sin; hates our alienation precisely because He loves us.
And why does the Holy One love us?
It’s a Holy God thing!
It’s the nature and heart of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
And there is no other God!

(Holy One, help us who have had the privilege to hear of you to think noble thoughts of you. Help those you have called to teach us to so teach us that we will be believe and be shaped and energized by your glory, wonder and holy love.)