The Consequences of Sin

By Kersley Fitzgerald

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These are not blatant sins. These are sins committed under the false illusion that the person is doing good — is doing what God wants. It often involves elevating a private conviction (or protection from weakness) to the status of universal law. Such sins often come from a real desire to do good. But these sins have two other characteristics.

First, they may be committed in faith, but not in trust. Abraham had faith that God would give him a son, but he didn't trust God's timing or method. We may have faith that Jesus saves and God forgives and the Holy Spirit works in our lives to guide us in what is appropriate, but we don't trust that in this moment when a friend is ordering a beer that God has the situation under control. Or that when a cousin invites us to her wedding with another woman, it is more loving for us to politely decline.

The second characteristic is that these sins are committed by hearts that are indwelt with the Holy Spirit but still young. Hearts that haven't lived long enough in faith to know how to wait on God. Until we are fully sanctified, we are still foolish.

Coming to an understanding of sin committed in an attempt to faithfully follow God actually made me relax a bit. It made me realize that I am going to mess up. Even if I have good intentions and try to get to the right place, I'm still going to sin. I'm going to say the wrong thing (often), jump ahead with the plan I think will work but is based on lack of information (often), be too hard on some people (often), and too easy on others (often).

In order to avoid such sins in the future, I have to relinquish control. I have to stop being so uptight. Stop planning and figuring and Arranging.The.Things. It's possible to arrange in faith, but it's not possible to arrange in trust.

So this is us. Sinning because we want to. Sinning because we don't trust God. Sinning in rebellion and sinning, strangely enough, in faith. And there are rare moments in our lives when we get it. When we catch a bare glimpse of who we really are and what we really deserve and what Jesus' sacrifice really means.

- His crucifixion means we can return to Eden.
- His crucifixion means we are safe from the Flood.
- His crucifixion means we can escape our own humiliating, excruciating cross.
- His crucifixion means our relationships, with God and each other, will be restored for eternity.
- His crucifixion means blessed access to the Tree of Life.

If we really understand how horrible sin is, we begin to understand the significance of the crucifixion and resurrection. On the cross, Jesus took our estrangement from God, our expulsion from home, our place in the Flood.

If our hearts are young, immature, and foolish, our brains are far more. We can't wrap our heads around it. So we either minimize our sin, or we minimize God. We convince ourselves that our sins aren't that bad and God is overreacting. Surely the child-sacrifice wasn't bad enough for God to command the Israelites to destroy the Canaanites! Surely the sacrifice of strange incense wasn't bad enough for God to strike down Aaron's sons! How does cursing your parents warrant execution? How is it fair that if you have an affair and divorce your husband, you're not eligible to remarry? How is it fair that I have to remain celibate if I'm single?

Or we minimize Jesus' sacrifice and convince ourselves that our sin is far too much for Him to carry. As if we're that powerful that our sin is outside God's authority and sovereignty. Jesus died for other people, but not for me, because in all of human history, I'm the only person who is more powerful than Christ.

Sin is powerful. Sin is so powerful that a single man's single sin altered his spiritual nature and condemned all his descendants to hell. Every lie, every lustful thought, every time you didn't trust God's timing or His method, earns you a crucifixion.

God is more powerful. God is so powerful that there is no sin great enough that Jesus can't cover it. Sin is infinitely bad, but Jesus is more than infinitely powerful.

On occasion, I get accused of a form of easy-believism. I assure you that is not my soteriology. But I follow in the experiential footsteps of Martin Luther in this regard. I am aware enough of my sin, selfishness, and foolishness to know that there is no way I could have any part in my salvation. There is nothing in the natural me that seeks after God. When I think about Christ and Him crucified, I don't think of the oh-my-goodness-sins I have to get rid of right now to assure the world I'm saved. For pete's sake, I was saved at the age of seven. Let me exult for a moment in the sacrifice of Christ who saved me from myself. Let me assure all the Luthers in the world that they can have this, as well.

Then watch as God takes that young, foolish, na´ve heart and makes it older, wiser, and more Christ-like. Watch the Holy Spirit use that appreciation as motivation for submitting to His work of sanctification because it's what my new heart wants. Trust that God will wrestle my demons, sins, and addictions in His way and His time for His purposes.

Many of us obey because of fear and anxiety and pride, but that way leads to exhaustion — and it doesn't even work. Don't let sin enslave you again, and don't let the fear of sin enslave you. God has the power, but we need to trust.

Image Credit: JKD; untitled; Creative Commons

TagsBiblical-Salvation  | Biblical-Truth  | Sin-Evil

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Published 8-9-16