The Problem of Sin

Posted by on Jan 16, 2014 in Christian Walk, Jesus | 0 comments

“For all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” (Romans 3:23) You and I have a problem. It’s not a little problem, and it’s not something we can cure on our own. It’s something we don’t talk about much, and might like to deny in front of others, but that doesn’t make it less true. The problem is, we’re sinners. We do things we know are wrong, and we can’t help ourselves. Even though our sins hurt others and heap guilt on our hearts, we still sin. We lie, we gossip, we bicker, we lash out, we think impure thoughts. Sometimes we lose our temper and say things we don’t mean—things that are neither true nor fair, but biting enough to hurt, so they serve their purpose. Other times we deceive in order to get our way. We tell half-truths in hopes that it’s better than a whole lie, but in our hearts we know it’s still wrong. We can no more stop ourselves from sinning than we could keep the sun from rising. It’s a universal problem that every man and woman has to live with. And this problem leads to a much, much bigger problem. Sinners can’t go to heaven. The Bible is clear about that fact. Paul tells us, “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), and the kind of death he is talking about is a spiritual one. God cannot allow sin to corrupt heaven the way it has corrupted earth. In fact he can’t even look at our sin. It is a direct affront to his holiness. Our sin has driven a wedge between us and God, and there is nothing we can do about that fact. We are all destined to hell from the moment we commit our first sin. And let me stress again, there is absolutely nothing we can do about that. But there is something that God could do to fix it. He knew a way to bridge the gap—the one and only way. Something sinless and pure would have to take our punishment for us, would have to die in our place, would have to become a living sacrifice to pay for the things we’ve done. Someone free of sin. Someone holy and pure, just like God. And so he sent his son. The incarnation of himself. He sent Jesus. Jesus came to earth for only one purpose, and with only one appointment. To die in our place. To be a sacrifice for our sins. To forever bridge the gap between God and us, and create a way for every person to get to heaven. They call it “the greatest story ever told.” Is it part of your story? You can accept Christ and make it so today. Excerpted from Embracing Eternity: Living Each Day With A Heart Toward Heaven, by Tim LaHaye, Jerry Jenkins, Frank Martin, 2004, Tyndale House...

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Loving The Least

Posted by on Jan 6, 2014 in Christian Walk, Faith, Jesus, Loving Others | 0 comments

I remember a poster on a dorm room wall during my days in college. The poster was a picture of a homeless man lying in a dirty gutter holding a bottle in a paper bag by his side. The inscription on the bottom was a quote from Mother Teresa. It read, “You love Jesus only as much as the person you love the least.” For all that we don’t understand about the life of Jesus and the true nature of God, there is one truth that he made completely clear. The Christian faith is about service and humility. It’s about helping those who can’t help themselves. It’s about loving others more than we love ourselves—even the most unlovable among us. When the disciples found a few minutes alone with Jesus outside the temple, the question they posed is the same one that you and I probably would have asked. “Will there be any sign ahead of time to signal your return and the end of the world?” (Matt. 24:3). But his answer had more to do with us than it did his return. Through parables he showed his disciples the basis upon which the chosen will be chosen on that day. “For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me” (Matt. 25:35-36). What is the sign of a true follower? Is it the amount of knowledge that we have? Is it the money we give to missions? the degrees we’ve earned? the number of people we’ve preached to? the hours we’ve spent worshiping in church? the books we’ve read or written? According to Jesus, the sign of the saved is their love for the least. It is said that when Francis of Assisi left his wealth behind to seek God, he stripped naked and walked out of the city. The first person he encountered on his journey was a leper on the side of the road. He first passed him then turned to go back. He embraced the leper in his arms before continuing his journey. A few steps down the road he turned and the leper was gone. Until his dying day, Francis of Assisi was convinced that the leper was Jesus. Even if he was wrong, he was right. Excerpted from Embracing Eternity: Living Each Day With a Heart Toward Heaven, by Tim LaHaye, Jerry Jenkins, Frank Martin, Tyndale House,...

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Posted by on Mar 24, 2010 in Christian Walk, Faith, Jesus | 8 comments

There is a young paraplegic boy who attends our church. He lives his life in a wheelchair. Black and brown straps hold him tightly in place, keeping him from sliding out onto the floor. There are straps around his chest and legs and arms, even around his forehead. I once found myself wondering how uncomfortable that must be, but then remembered that he likely doesn’t feel a thing. Still, he is fully alert—you can tell by the way his eyes dart back and forth as his family wheels him through the hallways. I see them almost every week, this faithful family, the father guiding his wheelchair from behind as his mother walks ahead of them, paving a way through the crowd as they make their way to their regular seat. I often find myself feeling sad for the young boy. What must it be like to be so helpless and unresponsive, completely dependent on others for even your most basic needs? To depend on others to dress you, feed you, carry you, bathe you, even hold the straw as you struggle to take a drink? If I am brutally honest, I can’t imagine a more maddening and frustrating existence. I’ve always treasured my independence, prided myself in the fact that I don’t need help, that I can get by on my own, even bragged about my competence and self-sufficiency. I love setting out to do something and then doing it. I take pride in my accomplishments—in the businesses I’ve run, the comfortable lifestyle I’ve created, the books and articles I’ve written. The great things I’ve done for God. And yet each week I see this young boy who can never dream of doing any of these things. He’ll never hold down a job, never run a business, never start a family, never write a best-selling book. He will never be able to do great things for God. And knowing that fact begs an important question. Perhaps the most life-altering question any of us can possibly ask. Does that make him any less valuable to God? What if I am the boy in the wheelchair? What if there isn’t anything I can possibly do for God that this boy can’t do? What if all the things I’ve accomplished have been little more than distractions from the one thing God most wants of me? Could it be that all God expects from any of us is to lean into his love? To gaze into his face and receive his gentle mercy? To immerse ourselves in the warmth of his unquenchable grace? Maybe all God wants from any of us is to trust him. I’ve never met the young handicapped boy, but I owe him a debt of gratitude. His very presence has given me an eternal glimpse into the heart of God. I hope I get a chance to thank him. Under the Mercy,...

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