What is Sin?

What is sin?  In today’s culture, we often trivialize it.  We don’t even like to talk about it.  Rather than admitting to sin, we say we “made a mistake”, “used poor judgement,”  or “messed up.”  We blame it on factors we can’t control–our difficult upbringing, our desperate situation, our friends or our DNA!  Adam and Eve tried that, too.  Eve told God,

“The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” Genesis 3″13

and Adam goes even further, seeming to blame God Himself:

“The woman whom you gave to me, she gave me the fruit of the tree and I ate.”  Genesis 3:12

The apostle doesn’t mince words when he describes sin:

“Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness;  sin is lawlessness.” 1 John:3:4

A lawbreaker is a criminal;  a person who deserves punishment.  Someone who is lawless is a rebel — unwilling to obey authority.  I don’t like to think of myself this way, and you probably don’t either.  However, admitting what I really am (a lawless rebel) is the first step toward true reconciliation with God.

“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar and his word is not in us.”  1 John 1:8-10

Calling sin what it is isn’t easy;  but it is necessary.

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A Quote By John Donne

It’s my English major moment for the month:

“Though so disobedient a servant as I may be afraid to die, yet to so merciful a master as thou I cannot be afraid to come.”

John Donne

John Donne
John Donne was an English poet and cleric in the Church of England. He is considered the pre-eminent representative of the metaphysical poets.

Come and See

“Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, ‘What are you seeking?’ And they said to him, ‘Rabbi’ (which means teacher), ‘where are you staying?’  He said to them, ‘Come and you will see.’  So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.  One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.  He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah (which means Christ).  He brought him to Jesus.  Jesus looked at him and said, ‘So you are Simon, the son of John?  You shall be called Cephas (which means Peter).”  John 1:38-42

This is a continuation of my last post.  Notice that Jesus doesn’t give them details about where they are going, he just says “Come with me and see.”  They learn from him, and immediately Andrew tells somebody else about Jesus — his brother Simon, who becomes Peter, the rock of the church.

Obedience has results.  Immediate results(they got to know Jesus) and long term results(they introduced Peter, who played a significant role in God’s plan).  I can certainly see the same kind of results in my own life.  I’m a very shy person, but following Jesus has led me to do things I would never have been able to without the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.  I teach adult Sunday School, I’ve lead retreats and workshops, I am even able to put some details of my personal life and struggles out there for others in this blog!  I’ve been able to use my gifts for God, and I think I’ve encouraged others to do the same.  I’ve been blessed and I hope those around me have been blessed by my obedience, even though it has often been slow and grudging.  Maybe one day, when I die and am judged, I’ll see the really long term results of my obedience and also my disobedience.  I’m sure I’ll be amazed at what obedience has done, and dismayed to see what those times of disobedience led to.

What about you?  Have you been willing to “come and see”?  Are you just beginning the journey?  Or have you been on the road for years?  Bloggers, please write, and readers please comment.  I want to hear your story.

 

 

It Started in the Garden

“And the Lord commanded the man, saying: ‘You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.’….So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.”  Genesis 2:16-3:6

Disobedience is almost as old as humankind.  God created Adam and Eve and gave them only one restriction — do not eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  One commandment and almost immediately they disobey it!

Why?  The serpent sows doubt in Eve’s mind.  Maybe God didn’t really mean what He said;  maybe she misunderstood Him; maybe God has some ulterior motive that is for His benefit, not hers.  Plus, the fruit really looked good, and she was hungry.

Nothing has really changed. I know at times I apply the same faulty reasoning that Eve did.  It’s hard to discern God’s will;  times have changed, and some of God’s rules seem outdated and unnecessary;  that sin is really attractive, and I don’t see how it would hurt me;  and the big one — can I really trust God?

I think it all boils down to trust.  The Bible tells us:

“…for those who love God all things work together for good, …”Romans 8:29

If we trust in this promise, we’ll try to obey God’s rules.  They are given to us for our benefit.  The things that seem unclear, that seem unreasonable, that deprive us of what looks good or feels pleasurable will only hurt us in the long run.  Of course, like our first parents, we’ll still disobey.  We’ll fall short.  We’ll miss the mark.  God provided for that, too.

“Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness (Christ’s) leads to justification and life for all men.”  Romans 5:18

Disobedience started in the garden;  it’s results ended in Christ.  Trust God who works all things for our good.

 

 

 

 

New Month/New Theme

Our theme for this month is obedience –not a popular concept in our culture.  Oh, we may obey in some ways because the consequences for disobedience are unpleasant:  speed or run a red light, and you’ll get a ticket and a fine;  refuse to get to work on time and you’ll be fired;  steal and you may go to jail … things like this.  For the most part, however, we’re taught to be our own person, follow our bliss, resist being a “door mat.”  Behaving this way will (supposedly) lead to happiness and fulfillment. This idea isn’t anything new.  Go back to the book of Judges (which we’ve been studying in our Sunday School class) and you will find that “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”(Judges 21:25). Sound familiar?  Or even further back, to Genesis when Eve decides “that it(the tree) was good for food and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desired to make one wise” and so she ate it, going against God’s clear instructions to the contrary.” We humans have been a disobedient bunch, almost since day 1.

So this month let’s ask ourselves the hard questions.  Do we want to be obedient to God?  Why should we obey Him?  What are the results of obedience (and disobedience)?  How do we even know what God’s will for us is?

Send us your ideas and questions.  The Lutheran Ladies will be listening, praying and posting.

Remember God loves you and so do we!