18 08 2020

Whatever Became of Sin? - Biblical Counseling Institute

Speaking In The Light with Pastor Rudy

Like many others in the Cape May County area, we lost power during the recent tropical storm. The electricity disappeared early Tuesday morning and finally reappeared Thursday night. By the time things were restored to normal, when we opened the refrigerator, it was obvious that the perishables didn’t survive the outage. We did what any intelligent individual would do. We threw out what went bad. If we only added new food to mix in with the old stuff, the new wouldn’t influence the old but it would be just the opposite. When there is something rotten in the State of Denmark, it will all be awful until we evict that which is the bad influence. The same is true with our hearts. Religion only tidies things up from the outside. It is like spraying deodorant on a dirty shirt. Instead of smelling bad body odor; you now smell body odor mixed with perfume. God doesn’t want us to cover up that which keeps us separate from Him. He wants to have unconditional access so He can transform that which is dying to something alive and brand new.

What exactly is sin? Here are some suggestions: “Sin is like a bad case of shingles. No one likes a shingles, nor should anyone like sin.” Sin is like being diagnosed with a disease that has a 0% survival rate.” “Sin is like weeds in a garden; if not rooted out properly and presently, they will soon overrun it and the beauty disappears!” “Sin is like a bow and arrow and shooting at a clear target and missing it every time.” “Sin is like trying to jump over a canyon and doing so even though there is no way to make it to the other side.” “Sin is like a fly in the middle of a spider web; trapped to be devoured.” “Sin is like the bee, with honey in its mouth but a sting in its tail.” “Sin is like gravity. It is an ever-present force but it will only bring you down. “Sin is like numbing your heart with too much booze only to wake up to the biggest hangover on record and there is no relief.” “Sin is like a sudden but unknown leak in a gas pipe; it’s only a matter of time before the constant breathing it in will steal your life.” “Sin is missing the challenge of being as holy as God on your own.”

Still we find ourselves, more often than not, actually entertaining and giving free reign to a clear and present danger. There was a song sung by Al Wilson that hit the top 40 back in 1968 simply entitled “The Snake.” The record tells the tale of a tender-hearted woman who saw a poor half frozen snake and rescued him, nurtured him and took care of all his needs. The snake repays her kindness by biting her and filling her with deadly venom. The last verse goes like this, “I saved you,” cried that woman and you’ve bit me even, why? You know your bite is poisonous and now I’m going to die. Oh, shut up, silly woman, said the reptile with a grin, you knew darn well I was a snake before you took me in.” If you play with fire, don’t be shocked when you get burned.

In the Bible, we are told the story of how the Lamb of God came into the world to make it possible for sinful people like you and me to have an eternal relationship with the Lord. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve chose lunch over their closeness to the Lord and they allowed a slimy serpent to deceive them out of forever. Nobody had to teach us how to do wrong. We like to change the name of sin to justify our bad behavior but rationalize how we might, sin will do us in every time. Only in the Kingdom of God can the perfect sacrifice of a slain Lamb serve as the anecdote all mankind desperately needs. Jesus did what He did out of great love and yet we still do all we can to mess up the gift. On our own we can’t help but get stuck in the sin this world is steeped in. But we are not alone if we don’t want to be. The Good Shepherd has taken care of the hungry wolves. Will we submit to the only solution that has the real power to save us?     

The idea of exactly how to be holy has suffered from many false concepts. In too many churches, holiness is measured by how out of fashion and uncomfortable a man or woman can look on any given day! If women wear potato sacks and men never go tieless, they must be holy. In other circles, holiness happens by all the things we don’t do rather than celebrating the deeds done via the power of God now alive in a believer’s heart! A Christian is not someone who doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke, doesn’t swear, doesn’t dance and so on and so what! A Christian must be defined by how in love with Jesus they are. When we follow the “list” approach to holiness, we are in danger of becoming just like the Pharisees who were so enamored with their own ego, they couldn’t see God when He was standing right in front of them. Holiness is expressed when we behave what we say the Bible has taught us to believe. It has more to do with who you worship than what your wardrobe looks like. What good is it if all your entire faith can be summed up by the conclusion that you talked big but came up very small. You had the content but not the character of Jesus. When you should have been separate from sin, you decided that you’d rather put distance between yourselves and the very sinners that Jesus came to rescue!

Make no mistake, every Christian has a battle on his or her hands but our fight is not with flesh and blood but against the power of the presence of unchecked sin. If you don’t fight it, be very sure that you won’t right it! The worldly system longs to lure us into conformity to its patterns and priorities that contradict clearly the lifestyle that Jesus invites us to experience. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also and while believers should be seeking first the Kingdom of God, the temptation of luxury, over-indulgence, greed, the accumulation of more and more things, personal gratification over the service of others and playing in the playground of pleasures get more Christians off track more often than not. God’s Word clearly says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2).

When we choose to view life by looking through the eyes of the Lord, its fruit is that we do things, we live places, we make decisions that make no sense on earth but actually reap lots of cents translating into eternal treasure in Heaven. If followers of God don’t pursue holiness with vigor and courage, we will end up championing the temporary and forfeiting the forever. Pursuing holiness may very well alter your destiny and legacy because at the altar you surrendered your ultimate direction to God, no matter what the crowds may say! Trivial pursuit is a game we should not waste precious days living. Trivial pursuit is defined as an infatuation with something that is actually valueless. I challenge us to give up on our trivial pursuit of sin so we can let the Savior fully in! Lord please make holiness a priority in our churches today. Let us admit that we have failed so that You can succeed in Your will being done on earth as it is heaven. Just because we don’t talk about sin doesn’t mean it has gone the way of the rotary phone. We need to dial in so that as we number our days, God becomes clearer to see in you and in me!



One response

18 08 2020

Thank you Pastor Rudy! Your messages are always challenging to me! Love you Bro! Dennis

Sent from my iPhone

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