Taking the issue of Sin seriously
by Robert Randle 6/18/2009 / Christian Living
American society is one that takes political correctness to new heights, as perhaps unlike any other country in the entire modern world. It seems we wear our feelings on our shoulders and become very restless as well as sensitive to criticism or when someone challenges our most cherished traditions, beliefs, history, and social practices. We pride ourselves in our independence, system of justice, rights of freedom of the press and free speech, and moral responsibility; but where are we as a people when it comes to 'sin'? The Wisdom of Solomon says in Proverbs 14: 34, Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any people.
Of course, the usual response to this important issue is met with scorn, suspicion, and in some instances, violence. It is one of those 'mind your own business' if you know what's good for you social withdrawal mechanisms. No one wants to talk about it, and those who do run the risk of being labeled 'demagogues,' narrow-minded, or accused of fostering hate-speech; which can lead to criminal charges of attempting to promote a "hate crime." Nobody wants to hurt another person's feelings or make them feel ashamed or embarrassed so the topic is essentially VERBOTEN (Ger. 'forbidden'). Maybe this is why the 'OBITUARY' section in most newspapers is written in such a way where all the deceased are treated with dignity and respect, even though some of them might have been quite the rascal and hell-raiser when they were alive.
Has the Christian Church abdicated her responsibility to take a firm stand against behaviors (not individuals) which are contrary to God's commandments? Of course, taking on this potentially controversial subject might just make the community of faith a religious 'pariah.' So then, appeasement is the more prudent course of action than face the sobering reality of the effect of sin on families, communities, and the entire nation. Sin is a spiritual condition and not a moral malaise or social aberration that the APA, JAMA, and AMA can merely just explain away based upon clinical studies and scientific research.
Even moral reasoning or rationalization is nothing new because Proverbs 21: 2a states: "Every way of man is right in his own eyes." But the folly of it is also captured in Proverbs 14: 12"There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end thereof is the way of death." Our weakness and reluctance to challenge sin in the body of Christ is appalling, and consequently we tolerate, or more accurately, approve the appointment of clergy and other officials to minister 'spiritual' things to the flock who themselves are guilty of shameful deeds or thoughts.
The question is: from what perspective should 'sin' be viewed?
Romans 3: 23
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
And now, how does all this relate to the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?
Hebrews 9: 26b, 27
But now, once at the end of the ages, He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the Judgment.
John 7: 24
Therefore I say to you that you will die in your sins, for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.
Acts 4: 12
Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven among men by which we must be saved.
NOTE: Salvation does not come from being a disciple of Eckhart Tolle, Dr. Wayne Dyer, J.Z. Knight (RAMTHA), Madame Helen Blavatsky, Dr. Deepak Chopra, Rav Michael Berg, the CHANGE-YOUR-LIFE Church of "O," and a host of others.
Some might reason that the Biblical pronouncements of doom and gloom are from a more religiously suspicious, less enlightened age because surely the God who is 'Love' would not pronounce such a dire fate as eternal torment upon broken, imperfect, weak, and flawed humanity.
John 5: 40; 6: 46
"But you are not willing to come to me that you might have 'Life.' Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has Everlasting Life."
II Thessalonians 1: 7b-9
The Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of is power.
Hebrews 10: 31
It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God.
I Corinthians 5: 10-11b
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ that each one may receive the things done in the body, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.
And what of those individuals who may consider themselves charitable, socially conscientious, morally excellent, religious, and there are even some who appear to have special spiritual gifts? Well, Jesus answers them in Matthew 7: 21-23
"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. "Many will say to me in the day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me you who practice lawlessness!"
One of the overriding admonitions spoken by Jesus is in the warning of His sudden appearing as 'A thief in the night,' which is echoed throughout all the books of the entire New Testament; in one way or another. It seems that many people aren't too bothered or concerned and go about their daily routine as to not give it a second thought. The few that have a slight touch of conscience will justify their actions based upon the circumstances at the time and deal with the consequences later; still others deem themselves 'untouchable' and sin with impunity.
II Peter 3: 3-4, 9
Knowing this first: that, scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, 'Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.' The Lord is not slack concerning His promise as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
The assurance of Jesus' return is underscored in the following:
John 5: 28-29
"Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth-those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of condemnation."
The final words of prophesy from the Lord Jesus to humanity is found in the book of Revelation.
Revelation 20: 11-15
Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before the throne of God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the 'Book of Life'. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged each according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the Lake of Fire.
There are those few Christian apologists who explain that REVELATION is a book of symbols and is one of the most Jewish books in the New Testament along with, not surprisingly, HEBREWS. And like most literature, certain writing techniques such as metaphor and simile are intended to convey a message that is not always apparent to the reader. Within the body of this work are elements of the Prophets Ezekiel, Isaiah, Daniel and certainly the Gospels; which should reinforce the need for everyone to examine themselves and ask, when the Lord returns, will they be ready to meet Him?