December 8, 2013

The worst bad hair day . . .

The Bible says God knows the number of hairs on my head. That may be incredible, but He also knows each time I sin, even when I and those around me are oblivious to sinful nature of my actions and motivations.

When a new Christian, a dear mentor had me look up every verse in the Bible that defined sin. It was devastating but an important exercise for me. I remember two verses that really got to the heart of things, and to my heart also. The first one came from Isaiah . . .

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:6)

Sin isn’t necessarily doing that which is overtly evil, like murder or stealing, nor is it just cursing or making idols. While those things make a huge mess, sin is also simply going my own way, doing my own thing, not heeding God in the slightest. God created me to mirror His image, meaning I am nothing and can do nothing apart from the One whom I am to reflect. Sin ignores that and the reflection does its own thing.

Imagine looking in a mirror and the image is not looking back at you, but doing something else, even something you have no intention of doing. This is a depiction of sin. God’s image, which is what I am, decides to be something else. It may not be overtly bad, but nevertheless has gone its own way.

Another verse deeply convicts me too. It is defines the motivation for going my own way . . .

But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. (Romans 14:23)

Biblical faith means that I believe in whatever God says and because I truly believe Him, I trust His Word as the guide for my life. That is, God says I should forgive those who sin against me. Because I believe Him, I will do that, not because it makes sense to me, or because it is easy (for it is not), but because God is right and true, and going my own way demonstrates lack of faith, and is sinful.

The logic of living by faith is easy to write on paper or post on a blog. Doing it is another thing, as anyone who takes sin seriously will discover. Besides all the challenges of trying to live by faith today, there are a pile of sins from the past that are countless, far more than the hairs on my head and far more difficult to deal with than a bad hair day. Sin messes up my life and the lives of those around me. It is a tangle that cannot be untangled, like hair matted around bubble gum, or to use another image, like feathers thrown into the wind. Yet God, who loves us with an everlasting love, provided the solution for the miserable past, and the helpless present. He sent His Son to rescue us . . .

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. (John 3:17)

Salvation through faith in Christ means many things. It means the forgiveness of past sin, the cleansing of old motivations, a change of heart and life that gives new reasons for action, and it means having that ability to believe God that was not there before. Faith is “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). It is having blind eyes opened to the truth of sin, the reality of my need, and the genuine power of the Savior.

When I first saw Him as He is, my response was much like that of John the Baptist . . .  

The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29)

Notice that he says Jesus takes away “the sin of the world.” Not “sins,” but “sin” and not my sin, but all sin. Only God can see that deep into the darkness of the human soul, only God can count that high, and only God the Son, Jesus Christ can remove sin.

“Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4). The law of God may have multitudes of commandments, but there is only one principle, love Him as He created us in His image to do, realizing that this image can be restored and like the Creator only through a saving faith relationship with the One He sent to take away our sin. 

No comments: