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THROW-AWAY SINS (published in The North Weld Herald/Voice 3/ /13)

posted Sep 7, 2013, 1:18 PM by Fccea Webmaster
A high school religion exam included the following question: "What is a sin of omission?" One student had a classic reply: "A sin I should have committed but didn't."

I suppose that reflects a society that has learned to accept a little naughtiness as par for the course. "Boys will be boys." "I need to sow my wild oats before I settle down."

I heard in a lecture recently that former Oregon Senator Mark Hatfield was seriously considered for Vice-President by Richard Nixon in 1968. According to the lecturer Hatfield was eventually passed over because he was too straight -- didn't drink with the boys or join in their story-telling.

Clearly we have lost touch with God's holiness. Jesus says, "For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matt 5:20). His point was, "Perfection is required. There are no "throw away" sins. Eternity with God demands perfection."

To those who think they qualify on merit Paul says, "For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, 'Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them'" (Gal 3:10). His point is, if you are going to get to heaven by your good works, good luck. All you have to do is be perfect!

That brings us to the wonderful truth of "substitutionary atonement." It's a doctrine that has fallen on hard times. Jesus' death is treated by most today as a tragic example of non-violent response to enemies.

God's perspective differs dramatically: "For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures" (I Cor 15:3-4).

Jesus gave His life willingly, to pay a penalty that we can't pay. He died as a substitute for those who will believe in Him.

The movie Titanic portrays sailors firing handguns into the air to warn away well-to-do men shoving women and children aside to get a place in the lifeboats. That's a distortion of history.

The opposite happened. John Jacob Astor, the Bill Gates of 1912, got his wife to the boat, and when others pleaded, "You get in too, sir," he said, "No, this is for women and children," and he stepped back and drowned. Others did the same thing.

Why the distortion? A New York Times review claims it was because no one would have believed the truth! Our jaded culture is immune to the idea of Christian self-denial for the sake of others. Perhaps that is partly why we no longer accept that Jesus could and did willingly die for the sins of others.

But against that denial stands the affirmation of God's eternal Word: "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." Perfection comes from Him, not us!

Jesus was mocked on the cross: "He saved others; he cannot save himself" (Matt 27:42). The truth was He could only save others by not saving Himself.

The proof is -- His resurrection! The question is -- have you allowed Him to save you? There are no "throw-away" sins, but there is one who can throw away every sin. You need only ask.

By His Grace,
Pastor Dave