Sunday, April 17, 2011

Week #14 Romans 6:23 "Forgiveness Granted"

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our LORD." is such a politically incorrect term nowadays. No one, Christians included, wants to believe that sin actually exists in us. Some people don't want to think that sin exists at all.

They prefer the word "imperfection" or , when describing a sinful world, "morally relative or ambiguous." Truth be told, I sort of like those terms as well.

But, if sin is simply a word to describe our weaknesses and our "C- behavior in an A+ world," why would God be so unmerciful as to mete out the death penalty for such common and understandable human traits?

Is God an abusive and mean-spirited kill joy? Does he actually expect perfection out of imperfect beings?

I have wrestled with this question for years. During those times in my life when I was painfully aware of my moral imperfections, my "C- behavior" that drove others away from me, I shouted and whined at God about how He made me, and what He really expected out of me.

After years of wrestling and asking, this is what I have learned.

First, God does not call our mistakes and imperfections "sin." For example, if you forgot to pay the light bill and now you and your family live in the dark and cold, that is a mistake. Though it had unfortunate consequences, your forgetfulness is not a sin.

Second, sin is always a deliberate act of rebellion against God and His will. I don't "accidentally" sin. When I sin, I know that I am sinning. Even though I know I am sinning, I sin anyway. There are a variety of reasons for this, but here is one of the chief reasons.

In my life, usually sin occurs when I trust my power to handle life and my short-sighted solutions over what God can do. I fight God over the circumstances of my life. I assume His way is harder and won't work for me. Usually I doubt my own ability to do things God's way, because I see myself as a poor quality Christian who can't make the grade. I also assume that, since I've blown it so often before, God wouldn't come to my aid anyway.

Of course, God knows better than that. Sometimes I do, too, but for those other times, praise God that His gift is eternal life in Jesus. I need Jesus' life. I need Jesus' forgiveness. I need Jesus' priesthood that intercedes on my behalf to God, and assures God's grace to me. In my sinfulness, I need all that. I can't do it for myself.

So, what does God really expect out of me? Perfection? No. Sinlessness? Definitely not.

He expects me to come to Him. In my sin, in my moments of doubt, rebellion, fear and anger, He expects me to remember my sin and come to Him anyway. I'm always welcome, no matter what I've done. My loving Heavenly Father doesn't want me to die. He wants me to live with Him.

I need to remember that.

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