The idea of sin is not something that our society deals well with. We have a divine call to live, not according the impulses of the flesh or the compulsions given us by the culture around us, but to a standard given to us from God Himself. The word “sin” itself is often misunderstood or misused. For instance, it has a way of being invoked when certain people like to find harsh ways to criticize others to lift themselves up. Or it has been used to oppress or control people to fulfill selfish desires. Because there have been throughout the years so many instances where this has happened, many of us reject the idea of sin out of hand as something purely human contrived and useless today.
But the idea of sin, as given to us by the Bible, is simply this: a rejection of the authority of God in our lives and a giving of our ourselves to something less than our Creator. Sin in this way is really about our refusal to be subordinate to God Himself and exalting something to the position of devotion and worship that only God deserves.
Sin separates us from God. It is not religious issue. It is a life and death issue. Sin debases us, even when we strive to exalt ourselves, because it diminishes the image of God within us. See, we are created in His image and reflect it much like a mirror reflects our own. So if He is not shining upon us because we’ve turned away to serve ourselves, then the image of God cannot be seen in us. Furthermore, sin is a crime because it robs God of what He alone is worthy of and, unless it is remedied through our receiving forgiveness and restoration through faith in Jesus Christ, it results in our permanent separation from Him and the eternal home He has prepared for His Children.
But this is why Jesus came. He came to not only teach us and show us the way back to God, but to die a substitutionary death for us so that we can be reconciled to Him and our sin be atoned for.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:16-17 ESV).
So sin is quite a serious matter. The Word of God teaches us that not only did Jesus have to do the unthinkable to save us from spiritual death, we are told that He died to save us from continuing in patterns of sin. “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God” (1 John 3:9 ESV). This means that we are encouraged to take up a holy vigil in our lives to abandon patterns of sinful thinking and living as these things wage war against our soul.
Recently, high waters covered many roads in our area. There is a very good reason that we have the motto, “Turn around! Don’t drown!” People look at water over the road and think, “It’s not so bad. I can handle it.” Only to find out too late their error. A car can be swept away in only inches of fast-moving water. A car can sink in only minutes. A person can lose his or her life so fast because they trusted their impulses over the wise counsel given to them to avoid such deadly situations.
Sin is so like that! We flirt with it. We experiment with it. We edge out into it enjoying the “freedom” and the “thrill” it gives us. And then, before we know it, we are swept into it.
Without the rescue that only Jesus can give, we are swallowed up by it, destroyed eternally. It does not need to be this way. God has invited you to turn to Him and walk a path of life.
“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins…. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 2:1-2, 1:9 ESV).
If you are God’s, then turn away from the lure of sin. Turn to His forgiveness and the holy calling He has given to you to know the joy of holy fellowship with Himself. And if you are not yet His, He died for you. Will you not receive His give of forgiveness and eternal life?
Thom Mollohan and his family have ministered in southern Ohio the past 25 years, is the author of Led by Grace, The Fairy Tale Parables, Crimson Harvest, and A Heart at Home with God. He blogs at “unfurledsails.wordpress.com”. Pastor Thom leads Pathway Community Church and may be reached for comments or questions by email at email@example.com. Viewpoints expressed are the work of the author.