A Message of Hope

tribal-crossI wonder if many people have truly evaluated the circumstances of their milieu. Why is everything around them happening the way it is? I have spent much time in my life wondering these things and this is why I would like to spend a little time focusing upon a small word that is the very cause of all the suffering and pain you see around you everyday. It is the reason for fact that people die everyday and the grounds by which some men will spend an eternity in complete separation from God. It is the term “sin” and it is this word that I would like to center my thoughts on.

I want you to think about this term, I want you to consider the ramifications of our sins? I also want you to realize what exactly was done for sin by God and at what cost. You see before you can grasp anything about the good news of the perfect work and resurrection of Jesus Christ, you must have a good understanding of who you are and what it means to be in your sins.

In many places in North America the term “sin” is used very lightly, no one seems to want to take it seriously and many people don’t even know what it means.  People hate the mention of sin simply because this word generally makes people feel bad but that is precisely my hope; that you will feel very bad about the fact that we are the instruments by which sin is rampant upon this earth. The term “hamartia” (sin) simply means to miss a mark. An example of this is when an archer aimed for a bulls-eye but misses. We failed to hit the target that we were to hit. We have missed the mark! The bible also tells us that we are born in sin which means that every one of us is born with a sin nature. We naturally are sinners and we act upon our nature.

Another definition of what exactly sin is would simply be to say that it’s disobeying God. Adam wasn’t punished because there was something inherently wrong with eating fruit from a tree but it was the fact that God told him not and He disobeyed! It is doing what is best for you rather than obeying what is the will of God.

The bible also defines it in three different ways. It compares it to:

  • A Debt
  • A Crime
  • Enmity or      a severing from God

Let’s take a look at these three definitions.

 

A Debt:

A debt is an obligation to pay something that we owe to another. If you think about it, when we owe a debt to an individual or a financial institution, regardless of the amount, there is still a chance that we might be able to pay it with time. I know to some extent this seems strange since if I owed 10 billion dollars and only had 3 days to pay it I could say that it is impossible however in light of the debt we owe God, it is somewhat feasible. No matter what we do, whether good works, charity, you could be the greatest human rights activist in history and we could feed every individual on this earth, we could bring world peace, religious devotions and this would still not pay the debt you owe God because of sin. A good deed doesn’t cancel out a bad one.

It isn’t a financial debt we owe God due to our sin but a spiritual debt. We need our spiritual debt to be cancelled out. We read in Colossians 2 of how Christ “wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us”.  The term “handwriting of requirements” in those days meant a book that had a record of the debt owed to the lender and you would sign your name as a statement that you were borrowing this sum. You might be thinking “well I never signed my name on any document” yet when we break the law in our world we are said to “owe a debt to society” that we must “pay our debt to society”. It refers to a moral debt we owe to God. It should also be noted that the verb here is in the past tense. It is something that has already been done! Christ has “wiped it out”, He has “taken it out of the way” and has “nailed it to his cross”. What does that mean? It means the debt no longer exists for those who are in Christ!

 

A Crime:

Secondly sin is likened to a crime. You see God set His standards and delivered it to man in what it called “the law”. What I would like to focus upon regarding this particular area is the moral law. This law lays out the standard of God’s perfect will. The purpose is also to make known to us that we are sinners.  I can say with utter certainty that every human being that has ever existed throughout human history has never kept this law perfectly. The scripture tells us that all have sinned (Romans 3:23).  Each person has missed the mark at least once if not hundreds of times in his or her life. If you think about it, by breaking this law, humanity has committed a crime against God Almighty and justice must be served!

During the Second World War there were some horrendous atrocities done by men in particular those from the German army. When the Germans were defeated in Poland, in order to demonstrate that the nation was now freed, they took all the commanding officers of the occupying German army and hung them in the center of the city in which they commanded. They did that to show that no one can escape justice and that justice was served! Christ was hung on a cross to demonstrate that justice was served but not for his crimes but for ours!

We read in Romans 4:25 about how the Lord Jesus was “delivered up because of our offences”. The term “delivered” here in this portion of Romans refers to someone begin thrown into prison or even better yet brought to justice. If there is a single thought that I want you to remember it is that Christ Jesus was brought to justice “because of our offences”. The term “because of” signifies a substitution of sort, He was delivered on behalf of our offences and He was raised from the dead for our justification. Justice was served in the death of Jesus Christ for us.

 

Enmity:

Thirdly, this term “enmity” refers to having bad feeling about someone or perhaps there being hostility between two people. You could say it is a severing of a relationship. Humanity is at enmity with God because of their sins. What should be realized is that primarily God has never violated the relationship between Himself and His creation. God has always been faithful to His promises. It is us who are the ones who have severed the relationship and caused enmity with God. Another point that I would like to stress very strongly is that not only have we caused enmity with God but we still today, everyday, continuously demonstrate our enmity with God by constant disobedience.

In Romans 5:10, Paul writes that we “were” God’s enemy which is something in the past tense. Many believe that we’re all God’s children but this is not the case. The apostle Paul makes another past tense claim, one of fulfillment when he states that we “were” reconciled! To be reconciled is to be at peace with someone you have had a quarrel with or were at odds with.  Suddenly sinners are reconciled back to God but how? It is by the death of His Son. We are now seen in a favorable fashion in God’s eyes because of the death of the Son of God.

 

Ramification of Sin

I mentioned earlier about the ramifications of sin which are many.  There is a thought of suffering and pain that comes to mind.  We read in Jeremiah that Your pain is incurable. Because your iniquity is greatAnd your sins are numerous,I have done these things to you (Jeremiah 30:15).  Another ramification would be that sin leads to death, we read that “the wages of sin is death” in the book of Romans and finally we could speak of the eternal punishment as a consequence for sin. This is a tough one. It is referred to in different manners of speech, some call it the abode of the damn, others the netherworld but the bible calls it the Lake of Fire. The bible refers to it as a place of darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of the teeth, the unquenchable fire and a place of utter banishment. It is difficult for me to describe it. One author spoke these words to describe a lost eternity:

When you look forward, you shall see a long forever, a boundless duration before you, which is swallow up your thoughts, and amaze your soul; and you will absolutely despair of ever having any deliverance, any end, any mitigation, any rest at all…so indeed your punishment will indeed be infinite. Oh who can express what a soul in such circumstances it? All that we can possibly say about it, gives but a very feeble, faint representation of it; tis inexpressible and inconceivable. For who knows the power of God’s anger.

Some might be thinking, how on earth could God punish men with such animosity, with such wrath, these are just mortal sins that we have committed. The problem is with that assertion that you are judging sin from a Human level not from the perspective of a righteous and holy God. I enjoyed what Spurgeon once wrote:

When men talk of a little hell, it is because they think they have only a little sin, and they believe in a little savior. But when you get a great sense of sin, you want a great Savior, and feel tha if you do not have Him, you will fall into a great destruction, and suffer a great punishment at the hand of a great God.

 

The Good News

God has given His one and only Son as a substitute payment for the sins of all those who repent of their sin and trust in Him so that they may know their sin has been dealt with. They are declared justified before a righteous and holy God. Each person that trusts what Christ did for this sin we have been speaking of, they will possess eternal life. They will have a hope of fellowship with God and peace with the eternal creator. These believing and repenting people will not have to pay their own debt, and serve their own penalty and have to live an eternity in enmity with God Almighty. God has provided His Son and promises that all these things!

Please consider these things carefully and contact us if we can help clarify the need and importance of this wonderful message!

 

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