June 23, 2016

The sorrow of God

When Jesus wept at the death of Lazarus, He was not weeping because His friend died, at least not as we would weep; He knew He would raise Lazarus from the dead. He was weeping with grief over the fact of sin, sin so deeply terrible that it kills us. It brought death to Lazarus — and brings death to all humanity.

“He (Jesus) was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” (Isaiah 53:3)

Jesus knew grief like none of us know grief. As Chambers says, our view of sin usually begins lightly. When we learn to hate it, we still think we can control it, if not by our best efforts then at least with the help of God. Yet as life goes on, we realize that sin is more than a flaw in human character; it is a wild, irrational mutiny against God. And as Chambers says, either God or sin will rule our lives. There are no alternatives.

Pick up the newspaper, go online to the daily events, just look around. Evidence of the reality and awfulness of sin is everywhere. If I cannot see it in my own heart at the moment, it can certainly be seen in today’s events. I shake my head and say silly things like, “Why would anyone do that?” but I know the answer. Sin has ruined us. It is at the root of murder, adultery, meanness, even gossip.

Sin also keeps me from going out and serving others, from generosity, from thoughtfulness. Sin produces a world than cares more about money than much of anything else, more about animals and trees than fellow man, more about having comfort and luxury than thousands who are dying of starvation.

How awful is sin? It is the reason God left the glory of perfection, entered this sewer called earth as a helpless baby, grew to manhood, and died on a cross. It is the reason human beings who fear death and long to live forever reject the only way God has offered them victory over sin and death and the promised of eternal life. Sin makes us reject the only cure for it; that is the awfulness of sin.

Sin is the reason Jesus came. Sin is the reason for all my grief and sorrow, yet I can invent thousands of ways to avoid grief or mask it. I have tried to fix my own sorrows, to make myself look young when I know I am dying. Sin keeps me from prayer to God who answers prayer, from obedience to God who knows what is most excellent for my life. Sin keeps me from the abundance He promises to those who abide in Him.

“This is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.” (John 3:19)

“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

“He was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.” (Romans 4:25)

“He was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)
And from (Revelation 22:17, the Message)  
“Come!” say the Spirit and the Bride. Whoever hears, echo, “Come!” Is anyone thirsty? Come! All who will, come and drink, Drink freely of the Water of Life!” 

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