Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How Does God Really Feel About Sin?


I hate the sin in my life.  I hate those times I seek out after my own flesh and forget about God.  I hate that it drives a wedge in my relationship with God until I turn myself back to Him.  I hate that Jesus had to suffer for my own failures.  I know my sins are covered under the blood of Jesus and I know that I can not sin so much that God will stop forgiving me.  I know I am saved by grace though faith and that the seal of that salvation is the Holy Spirit residing inside my own heart.  I think sometimes, though, we take for granted the blood of Jesus.  Some even stop caring about the sin in their lives knowing it is covered by Jesus.  Some even teach that kind of theology.  I think the problem is that we forget just how God feels about sin.  So today I want to answer that question.  So, just how does God feel about sin?  I think the first place to look is Jesus.
Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He [was] wounded for our transgressions, [He was] bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace [was] upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth. Isaiah 53:4-7 NKJV
If you ever wanted to know how God felt about sin, the best place to look is at Jesus.  The utter brutality of His sacrifice illustrates just how much God hates sin.  Jesus bore the penalty for all of our sins. He was wounded for our transgressions.  He was bruised for our iniquities.  He was chastised for us to have peace.  His bore stripes to make us whole.  Those words really do not do justice to the brutality suffered for our sins.  He was more than wounded.  He had nails hammered into his hands and feet, his head was dripping in blood from the crown of thorns.  He spent his final hours scraping his shredded back against a piece of wood, hoisting his weight upon the nails in his hands and feet just to take each and every breath.  He did all of this naked and under the hot sun.  He was bruised, for sure, but he was also beaten.  Bashed in the face again and again while being mocked.  As for stripes, that is an understatement. Stripes are those thin red lines you get from a normal leather whip.  Jesus was scourged with strands of leather embedded with glass, rock, and anything else they could tie onto leather.  The effect of this sadistic device was to dig into the skin and rip it away from the body as it was pulled across.  His back was more than striped.  His back was shredded.  It probably looked more like hamburger than the back of a man.  There is no adequate way to describe the kind of pain and suffering that occurred during the punishment and death of Jesus.  What's more, Jesus deserved none of it.  Jesus was without sin.  God allowed His only begotten and perfect son to suffer a level of horror and pain we can not even fathom in our worst nightmares.  That is how God feels about sin. 

Eternal life is a free gift, but only free for us.  Jesus purchased that gift for us through His pain and death.  It is not that those sins we commit are not paid for, it is that they are placed on Jesus at the cross.  We must never think that our sin has no effect because they do.  Those sins nailed Jesus to a cross.  It is not that God does not punish our sins, it is only that He does not punish us.  Jesus bore that punishment for the sins we commit.  All sin must be punished and in Christ that punishment was borne by our Lord.  Without Christ, would bear that punishment eternally. 

When we receive a gift, we must consider what it cost the one who gave it to us.  Gifts are always free to the receiver, otherwise it would not be a gift.  Rarely is a gift free for the one who gives it.  This is one reason why it is pointless to give expensive gifts to small children.  Cost means nothing to them, only what it can do for their lives.  They could be just as happy with a cheap piece of junk from the dollar store than a top-of-the-line handcrafted toy.  In fact, many times they would be happier with the cheap toy.  Conversely, when a child wants something they never really consider what it costs.  They see something on television and all they know is that they want it.  The idea of how much it costs, whether or not it is right for them, or even if their parents can afford it are not even considered.  They do not even understand those things, they only understand want.  We do not have that defense,  though.  While we can not grasp the entirety of what Jesus went through, we can certainly know it was wretchedly horrible.  We have some understanding of what our gift of salvation cost.  We know the work and pain (emotional and physical) that went into making it available to us.  To choose to live in sin after receiving Jesus makes us act like ungrateful children.  Unfortunately, we are not children, so that really just makes us ungrateful. 

In the end, it is about gratitude.  Are we truly grateful for what Jesus did for us?  Do we really appreciate the cost of our sins to Jesus?  Do we really consider God sending His only begotten perfect Son and having to allow Him to bear the burden for all we do wrong?  The answer is in your actions.  Gratitude is not just about saying "thanks" but about being thankful.  Appreciation is more than just saying you appreciate something, but actually living as though you do.  The next time temptation is coming your way and you are considering sin, think on the fact that for whatever you are about to do, Jesus was scourged, beaten, humiliated, hung on a cross, and left to die to pay for it.  How you react shows just how truly thankful you are.  Living in sin while under grace shows no gratitude at all.  That is like someone else getting convicted for a crime you committed and responding by committing that same crime over and over again.  It is rather twisted logic to think that the sacrifice of Jesus was meant for you to live in sin and not care.  Live for the one who died so that you can live.  Salvation is a free gift, but God paid dearly to make that gift available.  Never take for granted the cost of your redemption. 
 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  Romans 6:1-4 NKJV

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