Tag Archives: sin

God Protects His Children

I have become estranged from my brothers
And an alien to my mother’s sons.
For zeal for Your house has consumed me,
And the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me.
When I wept in my soul with fasting,
It became my reproach.
When I made sackcloth my clothing,
I became a byword to them.
Those who sit in the gate talk about me,
And I am the song of the drunkards.
But as for me, my prayer is to You, O LORD, at an acceptable time;
O God, in the greatness of Your lovingkindness,
Answer me with Your saving truth.
(‭Psalm 69‬:‭8-13‬ NASB)

God protects His children. The obedience He expects is enough to make us the objects of ridicule, reproach, and persecution. If we are His children, if we obey Him, we are under the protection of His great lovingkindness. But we must we willing to trust Him enough to truly be obedient.

Have you ever trusted God enough or been obedient enough to Him to be the object of ridicule, reproach, or persecution. Or have you always been disobedient?

He protects us. We can trust Him.

When we forget this, we become afraid and hopeless when facing ridicule, reproach, or persecution. Or perhaps, if we are not obedient, we feel falsely confident and comfortable. We are called to obedience. We are called to zeal. We are called to faith.

The grace of Jesus is the source of faith, and His lovingkindness is the source of our protection.

Stirring Up Trouble

Hatred stirs up strife,
But love covers all transgressions.

‭Proverbs‬ ‭10‬:‭12‬ (NASB)

God doesn’t want us to stir up strife, but to love one another, forgiving sins, preserving peace. He wants us to love as He has loved us.

Hatred, pride are our nature. We must be reminded to love rather than hate.

Rather than wanting to expose the sins of others, we should want to love them, forgive their transgressions, and keep peace.

We need love, and we need to give love. Jesus is the example and source of this love.

Everything

Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
That both good and ill go forth?
Why should any living mortal, or any man,
Offer complaint in view of his sins?
Let us examine and probe our ways,
And let us return to the LORD.

Lamentations‬ ‭3‬:‭38-40‬

Anything that happens – good or bad – is under God’s control. And when bad things happen, how can we complain in light of our sin? Instead, we must examine our hearts deeply and return to God.

He is sovereign. He is in control of both good and bad things that happen. Our sins separate us from Him, even as His children.

We must examine ourselves, turn from our sin, and return to God. Otherwise, we may have a sense of entitlement, self-centeredness, a complaining spirit.

Then, our lives will be marked by Christlike humility.

Grace Reigns

So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

(‭Romans‬ ‭5‬:‭18-21‬ NASB)

Just as Adam’s sin resulted in sinfulness and condemnation for all, Christ’s act of righteousness on the cross leads to the righteousness and eternal life of many. The Law caused our sin to become greater, but God’s grace is greater still. His grace now reigns, bringing us righteousness and eternal life.

Like all humanity, sin ruled over each of us by death, except for the grace of God that now rules over those who believe by righteousness to eternal life, given by the sacrifice of Christ.

God didn’t write us off because of sin. He made a way, a way of grace that is greater than sin. He doesn’t just free us from the consequences of sin. He frees us from sin, makes us better, righteous.

His grace is greater than our sin and more powerful than I can imagine. We can’t allow it to rule over us. Grace reigns now.

Who Rules You?

Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
‭Romans‬ ‭6‬:‭8-14‬ NASB

I must remember that Christ died to sin and is alive forever to God. I must remember that I have died with Christ and am alive with Him. Sin is no longer my master because I’m under His grace, cleansed by His blood spilled at the cross, set free by His payment of my debt.

When I forget this truth, I believe I’m under sin’s power. That, my friends, is a lie.

By the grace of God given through Christ, with Him, we followers of Christ are dead to sin and alive to God. That means that if sin rules me, it’s because I let it.

We have to get this: if sin rules you, it’s because you let it.  You and I have to stop giving ourselves to sin and give ourselves to God instead. Ask Him for the will and the strength to refuse sin’s rule over you.

God, not sin, is our master. Let’s give ourselves to God as instruments of righteousness.

Entrenched

Lot and his two daughters left Zoar and settled in the mountains, for he was afraid to stay in Zoar. He and his two daughters lived in a cave. One day the older daughter said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is no man around here to lie with us, as is the custom all over the earth. Let’s get our father to drink wine and then lie with him and preserve our family line through our father.”
Genesis 19:30-32

Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed, burned and smashed to rubble by the wrath of God. The inhabitants of those two cities had become so warped by sin that He apparently felt they needed a fresh start.

Lot and his daughters had escaped the firestorm by mere moments. They were the only ones. And they, in fact, hadn’t wanted to leave. The angels who came to destroy the city told Lot over and over, “Get your family, and get out of town!” Finally, they had to take him by the hand and drag him out.

Even then, Lot’s wife looked back one time too many and was turned to a pillar of salt, and Lot himself refused to go further away than the town of Zoar on the outskirts of Sodom.

Lot had become so entrenched in the culture of Sodom that imminent death by burning sulfur wasn’t enough to make him want to leave! His sensibilities had become so warped that he even thought it acceptable to offer his daughters to a mob of perverts rather than let them rape the men who were guests in his home (Genesis 19:1-8). Why couldn’t he just say, “No?”

Then comes Genesis 19:30-32. Lot and his daughters – apparently all that were left of his family – left Zoar to live in a cave (what the heck is that about?!). So his daughters decided it would be a good idea to get their dad drunk and have sex with him so they could “preserve [the] family line.” I can’t help but think this is the direct result of Lot’s allowing his family to live in that twisted culture, of his entrenchment in it, of his unwillingness to leave it behind. If your right hand causes you to sin…

This leads me to think about today’s church in the United States. And I don’t mean the church as an institution. I mean the people of the American church. We have become so entrenched in our society’s attitudes, thought processes, and goals that we’ve forgotten who we are. It’s nothing new to say that Jesus told us to be in the world and not of it, but we are indistinguishable from it.

In many of our churches, the good Christians are the ones who own successful businesses, those with the beautiful new homes in the desirable neighborhoods, the great jobs and 52” plasma TVs. The great goal for my life when I got out of high school was to graduate from college so I could get a good job. (Good job = good money.) And that’s the goal that Christians are setting for their kids today, too.

Greed and materialism have sunk their toothy jaws into the flesh of the church, and like rabid pit bulls, they won’t let go until we stop struggling. We’re just twitching a little. It won’t be long now.

We give, help others, love, when it doesn’t hurt. We sacrifice only when it’s not a sacrifice. What would David think? (2 Samuel 24:24) Individualism has swallowed the church whole, the digestive process breaking it down into non-functioning pieces. The church doesn’t function as it should when we separate ourselves. We are all members of one body, and the body needs all its parts to function properly.

Pride makes us hide our faults and alienate others because of theirs. We ought to be loving each other through them.

According to 2002 Barna Group research, “More than two out of three adults and more than four out of five teenagers argue that truth is always relative to the individual and the circumstances. While most of these people describe themselves as followers of Christ and say that the Bible is accurate in all of its teachings, they nevertheless believe that truth is based on feelings, experience or emotion.” If we each make our own truth, how can we hold to a faith that says, “No one comes to the Father but through me?” We’ve allowed this relativism to seep into the foundation of our faith, making our faith meaningless.

What does this mean for upcoming generations? In the January-February 2008 issue of Relevant – a magazine targeted toward college students and twenty-somethings – 53% of those polled said a Christian can support abortion rights. Thirty-seven percent said that gay rights is the least important issue for presidential policy. Only 22% said that abortion was the most important issue for presidential policy. (Illegal immigration took the top spot with 39%.)

Whether these are key issues for you or not, consider that issues like abortion and gay rights have been tent pole political issues for conservative Christians and the religious right for years. It would seem – based on this unofficial survey – that these views are beginning to shift. Our entrenchment in individualistic, consumerist American culture has given the next generation permission to embrace that which we condemn.

If Lot thought it was okay to give his daughters to a gang of rapists, and his daughters thought incest was okay, what will our children believe?