Tag Archives: sin

High-Def Sins – Hebrews 4:13-16

A few months ago while I was in Seoul, I noticed a peculiar form of censorship on the Korean TV programs. All cigarette smoking was blurred out. You could see a person move their hand up to their mouth. You could see the smoke when they exhaled. The only thing you could not see was a clear image of the actual cigarette held between their fingers. I would imagine that every Korean child over the age of 5 can tell you what the person on TV is doing despite the blurred image. I failed to see the benefit in altering the television programs in this way.

blurred_cigaretteIt did get me to thinking that how we try to hide our personal sins is probably akin to Korean TV censorship of cigarette smoking. We like to think that we are successfully hiding our sins. And, sometimes we are able to hide them—but only from other people.

And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account (Hebrews 4:13).

God sees past our vain attempts to hide our sins. Our attempts at hiding them are far less effective than even the ridiculous pixelating of Korean TV. Our sins are not hidden or even slightly blurred. Rather we are left naked and exposed to the judge of the universe in all of our ultra-high definition wretchedness. In the book of Revelation, those who do not have their sins forgiven are described as calling on the mountains to fall on them and hide them from the all-knowing God.

Thankfully, for those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins, our sins are not merely blurred out, but removed as far as the east is from the west. The very next verses in Hebrews chapter 4 provide the comfort we so desperately need after reading verse 13.

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:14-16).

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Goatheads Near Our Path – Proverbs 22:5

Thorns and snares are in the way of the crooked; whoever guards his soul will keep far from them (Proverbs 22:5).

goatheadsOn a recent stroll with my wife and our two youngest children, I was pushing the stroller and at one point moved too close to the edge of the sidewalk. Instantly the stroller tire closest to the edge of the sidewalk was punctured by about 20 goathead thorns from a vine that had grown over onto the sidewalk. If you do not have goatheads in the area you live, consider yourself very lucky. It is no surprise that these evil weeds are also known as devil’s thorn.

Proverbs 22:5 warns us to protect our souls by keeping far away from the thorns of the crooked and perverse. Like those dastardly goatheads, it only takes one small slip to have our souls punctured when we cross the line into the evil of this world. Unfortunately, so many professing Christians want to wander up as close to that line as possible. Whether it is spending too much time with a member of the opposite sex who is not your spouse, becoming too intimate outside of marriage, or spending too much time with people who revel in their sin and lies. If we stay far away from these types of things, our soul is less likely to be harmed by a minor lapse in judgment. If we mingle near these sins, all it takes is a momentary lapse for our souls to be punctured by these spiritual thorns. And, if we are choosing to mingle near the crooked and perverse, perhaps we are already sinning in our desires and actions.

Our path through this world is rife with opportunities to be led astray—by our sinful desires, by our sin-filled world, and by the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. So we must guard our souls by keeping as far from them as possible and by keeping our eyes focused on Jesus Christ. And when we fail, we must again turn to him in repentance and faith for there is salvation in no one else.

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Make Your Friends a Footstool for Your Feet? – Hebrews 1:13

Everywhere I turn lately it seems I am confronted with the writings of another “Christian” who proclaims that everyone is going to heaven because Jesus loves everyone just the way they are. Apparently this must be the blond-haired, blue-eyed, non-judgmental surfer Jesus. It is clearly not the Jesus described in the Bible. For example, Hebrews chapter 1 borrows liberally from the Old Testament in its description of the real, Biblical Jesus:

“Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”? (Hebrews 1:13).

If Jesus loves everyone just the way they are, then he cannot really have enemies. Therefore, he must be making his friends a footstool for his feet. I really love my wife. I wonder if she would like to be a footstool for my feet? Yeah, probably not. This imagery of Jesus as the conquering king is incompatible with the surfer Jesus. Also, earlier in Hebrews, Jesus is said to hate wickedness:

You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness (Hebrews 1:9).

It is because Jesus hates the wickedness of sin that he will judge. And we do not have to look very hard in this sinful world to see people who are clearly the enemies of Christ Jesus. Yet, so many people want to try to convince you that Jesus loves everyone unconditionally; even his most vocal enemies. There is no reasonable way to align the teachings of these “Christian” universalists with the clear teachings of the book of Hebrews or the rest of the Bible. They have crafted a false god whom they may call Jesus, but he is not the true Jesus of the Bible.

The demons know of the real Jesus and shudder! Why? Because they are his enemies and know his power and of the judgment to come. Read your Bible for yourself and learn about the real Jesus, before it is too late lest you die as one of his enemies.

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Who are you fooling? – Luke 12:2

Last week I was out walking around my neighborhood with my little kids while they rode their bikes. At one clearing I could see to the next street where two police officers were walking a young man to their patrol car. The young man’s two arms were pulled awkwardly behind him with a shirt hanging between his two hands. Now, the shirt prevented me from seeing the handcuffs, but clearly he was being led away in handcuffs.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow trying to cover up that fact you are being arrested by draping a shirt over your handcuffs would be as futile as trying to hide our sins from the Lord. Imagine that young man thinking, “Well, I am so glad the neighbors cannot see the handcuffs so they will not think I am being arrested. This t-shirt sure saved the day!  They probably will not even notice that these nice officers are stuffing  me into backseat of their patrol car with my hands behind my back.” Ridiculous, right.

Similarly, Jesus addressed the hypocrisy of the Pharisees in Luke 2 trying to hide their sins from God. These Pharisees tried to make everything look good on the outside, but were inwardly full of sin. But, Jesus could easily see past the outward covering and warned:

Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.  Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops. (Luke 12:2-3).

Your secret sins and my secret sins may be hidden from the neighbors, but God sees them all. Even the ones that never escape our hearts and our minds.

Now, for those who are in Christ Jesus, that is actually good news. All of my sins are forgiven. None of them will be a surprise to God on the day of my judgment. All my sins were nailed to that cross and all my sins are forgiven:

And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross (Colossians 2:13-14).

So, the question is not whether or not God can see your sin. The question is, will you be judged on account of them? Or will you be forgiven despite them because you have repented and put your trust in Jesus Christ for forgiveness?

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But that doesn’t seem fair – James 2:10

In the Vacation Bible School class last night, my wife asked the kids to give examples of small versus big sins. While we may not all agree where to draw the line separating small from big, we all do draw this line. The eventual point of the discussion was that any sin, big or small, is a violation of God’s holiness and, therefore, deserving of judgment. As the Bible clearly teaches us:

For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it (James 2:10).

However, we tend to fall into the habit of comparing ourselves to other people and think we are doing OK. The problem is that we are comparing ourselves to other people rather than to God and his standards. God’s requirement is that we keep 100% of his laws perfectly, all the time. Murder means failure just as a little lie means failure.

I think this is another of examples of those Bible concepts we can understand with our minds, but have a difficult time grasping with our hearts. Which is, again, why we have to believe what God’s Word says, rather than how we feel things perhaps should be.

Ultimately, looking at God’s law and the impossibility of keeping it perfectly should clearly remind us of our desperate need for a Savior.

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What was right in his own eyes – Judges 21:25

As our world, our nation, and our churches continue to celebrate sin, I am reminded again today of the fateful message that closes the book of Judges:

Everyone did what was right in his own eyes (Judges 21:25).

A large portion of the blame lies at our liberal churches and their lying prophets with their false message of peace:

 They have misled my people, saying, ‘Peace,’ when there is no peace (Ezekiel 13:10).

They preach peace with God when there is none. Their lying lips are an abomination. Their judgment may be delayed, but it is assured.

 

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Recognizing our spiritual poverty, beggary, and slavery

A man must feel himself in misery, before he will go about to find a remedy; be sick before he will seek a physician; be in prison before he will seek a pardon. A sinner must be weary of his former wicked ways before he will recourse to Jesus Christ for refreshing. He must be sensible of his spiritual poverty, beggary and slavery under the devil, before he thirst kindly for heavenly righteousness, and willingly take up Christ’s sweet and easy yoke. He must be cast down, confounded, condemned, cast away, and lost in himself before he will look about for a Savior (Robert Bolton, Instructions for a Right Comforting Afflicted Consciences, 1640).

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