Sin, not a downer, a revelation of glory

“The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.”

I am preparing to head back home from the pastor’s conference that I have been to for the last 3 days.  Wow, what an encouragement to marvel at the wonder of God!  The subject of the conference was sin.  Yes, sin.  It isn’t exactly a word we think of when we use the word encouragement, is it? When we want to encourage people, we usually focus on their worth in God’s eyes.  We emphasize their intrinsic value and how much God loves them.  In fact, we are tempted to run completely away from the topic of sin when we want to think about the love of God.  We might be afraid of making people (or ourselves) feel guilty and worthless. Yet, in our fear of guilt, don’t we run the risk of noticing the marvelous depth of the love of God?

Let me give you a human picture: a mommy or daddy has been telling their child that they are loved. They smile at them, they take them fun places, and they hug them every night as they tuck them into bed. At first, everything is wonderful.  Then comes the terrible teens.  The child is now disrespectful, resentful, and disobedient.  They are willful, selfish, and hurtful.  Yet, mommy and daddy still show love and affection.  There are still smiles.  They still go with them to fun places.  They go to the child’s concerts, science fairs, ball games, etc.  The parents even seek to continue to give hugs and affection (as much as the teen will let them!)  Their love is constant.  Then, one day, the teen wakes up.  They are now 23 years old.  As they have come out of their adolescent stupor, they look back on the years of their parents love.  They don’t just see their parents love, do they?  There is a context.  That context shows them what love means. That context shows them how much they begged for their parents to stop loving them, and their parents refused the offer.  The love came anyway.  Knowing that, they now know what kind of love to give in return.  They know what kind of love to give their own spouse and children.  They know how to love.

This is what I realize as I look at what the Bible says about sin.  It isn’t a description of how bad we are primarilly (isn’t it just like our adolescent spirits to make it all about us?).  It is about God!  God’s love.  God’s willingness to reach out when we reject Him.  God’s unending call to the world that ignores Him – I love you.  I died for you.  I smile on you.  I call you my own.

So, next time you read about or hear a sermon on sin, remember these words:
What wondrous love is this
O my soul, O my soul
Would cause the King of bliss
O my soul, O my soul
To shed His own blood
For my soul.

Something to think about,
Pastor John

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