Thursday, December 10, 2009

Understanding sin (and with it, the grace of God toward sinners)

One of the things God has made me attuned to when I am in His Word is the great disconnect (in different areas) between what I/we (in the Church) believe and what His word teaches, and between what He loves (and calls us to love) and then what we actually often times love.

The next thing for me to do when I am struck with a disconnect like this is to analyze it, analyze it, attempt to solve it in my brain from different directions, etc. and figure out what makes it so hard to fully believe and grasp certain things in the Word of God--so that we can finally align ourselves properly.

We can grasp theological facts and in a sense "agree" with the Bible, but what does that mean if we can't honestly see our theology worked out in everyday life? What good is our theology if we can't feel in our souls the weight of human sin and of the immense horror of hell, along with the glory of the Gospel, of the incredible value of being justified and the otherworldly hope of the resurrection of the dead and eternal life? And as a seal and affirmation and taste of those things, the powerful and glorious work of the Holy Spirit in our lives?

The following is not a comprehensive answer, but a list of some of the barriers I believe we must get past, and truths we must embrace, en route to reality. That reality is the grossness of sin; the fact that before Christ all people are "by nature objects of wrath", that God is incredibly serious and angry about sin (our generation tragically prefers not to be). This is the reality that we honestly have a hard time with, that makes us wonder if hell is really fair and softens up our pursuit of sanctification because we adopt our own 'progressive' definitions of sin.

-We believe we are more important than God. We believe His greatest concern is our happiness, when in fact it is His glory.

-We must recognize that God owns everything. He's not some god who decided to show up on the scene and reward the behavior He likes and punish the behavior He does not like. All things are about Him, and from Him, and to Him.

-We believe that stealing and adultery are wrong only because the Bible tells us not to do those things. Now, the Bible is inerrant and infallible and does tell us accurately what is true, BUT those things were wrong even before there was a Bible. Stealing, murder, lieing are all wrong because they violate the nature and character of the eternal and holy God. Which means that the worst possible offense (and the only offense) is to violate the character of God.

-We apply principles like the one above this one as we see fit, rather than agonizing over the sacred text and finding out from God what God finds offensive.

-We live in a self-exalting secular humanistic culture.

-We live in a basically prosperous nation where we go untested by many of the horrors of the world. Though, even in our great prosperity we (our country) are ungrateful and whiny.

-We probably aren't going to die anytime soon. So we often don't live with the sobering reality of death around us.

Feel free to add something or to contradict me.


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