“This is my blood, shed for you, for the forgiveness of sin.”
“Friend, your sins are forgiven.”
“Neither do I condemn you, now go and sin no more.”
Jesus never met a dead body that he did not raise to new life, and Jesus never met a sinner that he did not forgive. Grace, grace, grace—God’s grace is sufficient for me.
The problem with sin does not lie in eternal suffering, the punishment of a God who seeks a pound of flesh from weak humans. The problem with sin does not lie with God at all. The problem with sin, is quite simple: though we are forgiven by God, we will live with the consequences of our sin. We live daily with the consequences of our own sin, or the sin of those we live with.
Forgiveness does not spare us the natural consequences of our sin. In fact, the Bible says, “the sins of the parents will be visited upon the third and fourth generation of those who follow.” This Biblical truth is not prescriptive. In other words, it is not a form of punishment from God on generations yet unborn. The Biblical truth is descriptive, it describes reality. It is just the way it is and there is no escaping it.
I went to the dentist this week. I have been blessed with very healthy teeth. The only problem I have is a reoccurring one with a particular tooth that I broke some 45 years ago; the result of a self-inflicted accident. No one cares or even remembers that accident, but I am still living with the consequences of a moment in time 45 years ago.
Football, soccer, skiing, wake boarding, dirt bike riding, and a variety of other fun activities take a toll on our bodies. When we are young we bounce right back, but later in life we are visited by arthritis, and our knees and shoulders need to be replaced. This is not the judgement of God. It is just the way it is. Yes, there are consequences for every action in life.
The problem with sin is not God. God forgives us over and over again. “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”
The problem with sin is that it destroys relationships. It shakes the foundation of families; sin leaves lots of collateral damage in its wake. Trust that is built up over years can be broken in an instant, and the consequences of that self-centered or careless moment is sometimes visited on the third and fourth generation of those who follow.
“Friend, your sins are forgiven, now go and sin no more.” The only thing that God desires for us is ABUNDANT LIFE. Sin is the enemy of abundant life. So, put yourself in the path of the Gospel in 2018. Hear words of forgiveness and grace. Worship side by side with real people, broken people, people who are trying to come to grips with a painful past, so that they can live into a Gospel future.
Put yourself in the path of the Gospel, make choices that are healthy for you and for those who count on you. The problem of sin is the result of freewill. That means that we are free to choose life.
Choose life in 2018. Put yourself in the path of the Gospel!
See you in Church!