Friday, December 5, 2014

The Problem of Sin

Today, in the United States, we seem to have a real problem with sin.A lot of people are bashing the Bible because they do not like its definition of sin.  In the Old Testament, there are several words translated as sin in English.  One of them means to miss the mark as in archery.  Another means twisted or bent.  Both are important meanings of the word.  God has a perfect plan for each  of us.  If we are not walking in that plan, we are sinning.  The Bible lists specific sins, but any time we are out of God's will we are sinning.

The second use in being bent or twisted is important today.  In society, we like to take good things and twist them.  Food, alcohol, sex, money even are all good things in and of themselves.  But we have this habit of twisting them.  Gluttony or self starvation, alcoholism, fornication, and greed are all results of twisting something good.  This is Satan's favourite sin, when he twists something good.

What can we do about sin?  First we need to recognise it.  A good first step is to read the Bible which gives a pretty good list of sin.  Remember though, that not all the Tanakh is binding on Christians.  The only food laws for Christians is to abstain from eating blood.  None of the ritual laws apply to Christians, although knowing them helps us to understand Messiah.  Everything in the New Testament though, applies to Christians.

Today many people are preoccupied with sin.  WE don't want to do it, but we seem unable to stop ourselves.  On the other hand, there are many who are tempted, but keep themselves from sin.  I find the secret to beating sin in our lives is the Sh'ma:

Hear O Istrael, the Lord your God, the Lord is one.
Love him with all your heart,
with all your mind,
with all your strength
This is the first and great commandment, the second is like unto it.
Lover your neighbour as yourself to obey the law and the prophets.  (Mark 12:29-31)

So is their sin in your life?  Do you love God with all your heart?  Is he the most important thing in the world to you?  If you really love him, you will hate what he hates, and he hates sin.  When we are truly  in love with someone or something, we will try and please that person all the time, and look for their benefit.

Do we love the Lord with all our mind?  Pornography even among Christians and Pastors is a serious problem.  What are we looking at?  Does it glorify God?  And it is not just sex.  Many commercials on TV glorify greed, especially the Old Navy commercials where the lady kicks everyone out so she can go buy stuff on sale at Old Navy.  Do we really want to teach our kids and ourselves that message?  When you see that good looking girl or guy walking down the street, does your mind go straight to sex?  When you see that hot car, or nice dress, do you lust for it?  The secret is to thank God for it, and throw the focus from the object to God.

Do we love the Lord with all our strength?  Really, how much  do most people really resist sin in their lives.  When Clinton had his indiscretion, what was the response?  Everyone does it anyway!  If that were true, we would really be in trouble.  In the first three centuries the church grew by leaps and bounds because "Christians don't do that."  Christians took care of the poor and sick.  Christians were honest with everyone and stayed away from sexual sin.   We need to get out there and exercise those spiritual muscles.  WE need to start looking out for our neighbour in truth.  Quit buying stuff on Sundays so people can be with their families.  Help in the fight against Ebola, in the sex    trade, and abuse of children.  Truly treat your neighbour the way you would like him to treat you.

We are on a slippery slope.  Many today want to redefine sin, and have the church participate in it.  The fact that so many of our clergy are divorced and remarried is a sign that we no longer accept the Bible.  It is time to read it, and apply it to our lives so we may conquer sin with Yeshua.

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