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Friday, January 28, 2011

Sin: When the Cross Isn't Enough

This post has been on my heart for a while. I don't ever want to be a finger-pointer or pretend that I know so much that I'm able to judge people. That's not my job and that's not what I'm doing here. But sometimes the truth is just so amazingly clear that it has to be spoken aloud. This is my way of doing that.

Yesterday I watched an interview on CNN.com by Piers Morgan with Pastor Joel Osteen and his wife. Most everyone knows who Joel is and has probably seen him on TV preaching at his megachurch in Houston. The topic of sin came up in the interview. Specifically the sin of homosexuality. (For my views on the subject see "Homosexuality" under the labels.) I thought Pastor Osteen did a good job answering, although Piers accused him of judging others.

That's what started me thinking.

About sin.

About all sin.

What is sin?

In 1 John 3:4, the Bible defines sin as "lawlessness" or "the transgression of the law." Who's law? God's law! 1 John 5:17 says that "All wrongdoing (or "all unrighteousness" in the KJV) is sin." Who decides something is wrong or unrighteous? God! If God says something is wrong and you do it, that's sin!

But is "lawlessness" or "unrighteousness" really clear enough for everyone to understand? Apparently not. I give Piers Morgan's interview with Joel Osteen as evidence.

Knowing us and knowing how we humans think, God practically has to draw a picture in the end. In Revelation 21 He gives us a glimpse of eternal life in the new Jerusalem, which He describes as 'the bride being beautifully prepared for her husband'. Take special notice of verses 7-8:

"He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. BUT the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars--their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur."

Folks, it don't get any clearer than that! A sinner is one who is doing the things that will keep him out of heaven, a/k/a... "lawlessness" and "unrighteousness."

But thank God we don't have to die in our sin!

Jesus paid the price for our sin! He is the One who will help us "overcome" as verse 7 describes! Yet here is the point of the title I chose for this post:

When we continue to live in sin--doing all those things listed in Revelation 6:7 and more--yet call ourselves Christians, we are basically telling Jesus the cross was not enough! His blood was not enough. We're saying that our sin is too important to let go. Oswald Chambers put it this way:

"Obstinacy and self-will will always stab Jesus Christ. It may hurt no one else, but it wounds His Spirit. Whenever we are obstinate and self-willed and set upon our own ambitions, we are hurting Jesus. Every time we stand on our rights and insist that this is what we intend to do, we are persecuting Jesus."

Your sin may not hurt anyone else. It may be perfectly acceptable by the world's standards. Yet you are only fooling yourself. Your sin will separate you from God, perhaps for all eternity. It doesn't matter if you call yourself a Christian. It doesn't matter if you pretend you aren't sinning. It doesn't matter if the world tells you that what you're doing is just fine.

You only need to ask yourself one question:

Was Jesus' death on the cross enough?

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