To the vast majority of Americans, one of the most offensive words in the English vocabulary does NOT have four letters, only three. This tiny little monosyllabic word has kept more people out of church and created more heated arguments than racism, bigotry, and gender inequality combined. What is this devastatingly divisive word? SIN. What gives this small word so much power to induce argument? Human Nature. You see, our human nature, the sin nature we all inherited from Adam, makes us naturally inclined to pride and pride tells us that we should get to behave any way we see fit and that others have no right to regulate our behavior. Simply put, we want to be in control and decide for ourselves right and wrong.
I believe that one of the greatest misconceptions people harbor about sin is that there is a “list of do’s and don’ts” which constitute sin. Most people would tell you that violating the Ten Commandments is what followers of Jesus define as sin. In truth, many Christians share that definition. However, the real truth is that sin is anything which separates a person from God. God has a perfect plan for each person’s life and when we allow anything to prevent us from doing God’s will, it is sin to us. What that means is that sin is not one size fits all. You may enjoy an activity in your life, such as following professional football, which is not in and of itself immoral or harmful to others. However, if you allow your love for football to become more important than your love for God, it is sin to you. If you allow football to keep you from attending Worship services or Bible studies, it is likely that you have a new god in the form of pigskin. If you are truly a follower of Christ, He has become your Lord and Master and serving Him will be the top priority in your life. Does that mean that you can’t watch football? Of course not! It simply means that our faith will be shown by our actions. As one wise preacher put it, “Show me your checkbook and your calendar and I’ll show you who you worship.”
We should never believe that we can simply “not sin.” Romans 3:23 is very clear that “All have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God.” The Greek word from which we derive the word sin came from the world of archery and meant “missing the bullseye.” The bullseye in this case is God’s perfect righteousness and NONE of us are going to hit that in this lifetime. Nevertheless, that is the standard to which God holds us accountable. Before you throw up your hands in despair and say, “why even try if I can’t succeed,” allow me to share some good news with you. God already KNOWS we can’t succeed on our own and, in His abundant mercy and grace, provided The Way for us to achieve righteousness – through the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross. Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:1 that we were “dead in our trespasses,” then goes on to say that, “God made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” John 3:16 tells us that God loved us so much He sent Jesus to die for us as our substitute to pay the penalty of our sins and that all we need to do is believe in and follow Him and we will be declared righteous and all our sins forgiven forever.
If you are tired of always missing the mark and feeling like your future is out of control, now is the time to take action. Release yourself from the bondage of sin and know the joy of eternal righteousness and eternal life with God. He is pursuing you right now – all you need do is turn around and run to His loving arms. That is, indeed, the Good News!
-Pastor Dave Jones