You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘sin’ tag.

“Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. ‘Never, Lord’, he said. ‘This shall never happen to You!'” Matthew 16:22

“‘Lord if it is You,’ Peter replied, ‘tell me to come to you on the water.'” Matthew 14:28

“So Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, ‘Ask Him which one He means.'” John 13:24

“Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting of his ear.” John 18:10

“But he began to call down curses and he swore, ‘I don’t know this man you are talking about!'” Mark 14:71

“Then Peter said, ‘Silver and gold, I do not have, but what I do have, I give you. In the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.'” Acts 3:6

Again, as in Part I, we are taking a look at Peter, one of Jesus’s closest disciples and leader of the group in all his humaneness. Additionally as stated in the last post, this is not about judging Peter by his actions, but seeing ways and learning from aspects of Peter and his actions and how they impact our spiritual journey with our Lord Jesus Christ.

Taking Action With the Best of Intentions – It has been said: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”; according to Google first printed in Handbook of Proverbs published in 1855 by Henry G. Bohn. In Peter’s case, just a few hours earlier; Peter had declared that, even if the rest of the disciples deserted Jesus, he was ready to fight and die for Jesus. Now in the Garden of Gethsemane, it was time to put his words to the test. The mob, led by Judas had come to arrest Jesus. In the melee that ensued in taking Jesus, Peter draws his sword to defend Jesus and strikes the High Priest’s servant and cuts off his ear. Peter was doing exactly what he said he would do. Peter is acting with the best of intentions. Peter is not seeking glory for himself, nor does he have some private grievance with the servant that he is trying to get even about. Peter is defending Jesus, hoping to keep Jesus from being arrested. The only problem was, God’s perfect plan called for Jesus to be arrested. Peter was seeing things from only his perspective. Even though Jesus had stated to them, on several occasions, that He was to be turned over to His enemies and killed. For Peter, no matter what had been said, the arrest of Jesus was wrong and come HELL or high water, Peter was going to stop it. Again there is no judgement of Peter here. In a very real sense, this was very brave. Yet Peter is acting against the Will of God and Jesus lets him know it, in no uncertain terms. What we can learn from this is that we all have our own perspective and judgement as well. We may diligently read the bible, listen to our pastor or maybe even visit a blog ūüėä. What we have to be open to is, even with all our efforts, we may still get it wrong. We may be acting in a way that is contrary to God’s Will. When that happens, again if we’re open to it, God will let us know. First if we are acting in misalignment to God’s Will, our actions will not lead to the outcomes we were expecting or hoping for. Additionally, when our actions are out of alignment with God’s Will, He will tell us through our spirit. Even though we think our actions are justified and righteous, within our spirit there will be no peace from His Spirit. We will feel conflicted and feel led in a different direction. To fulfill God’s plan and scripture; Jesus had to be arrested and all the disciples needed to flee. And that’s exactly what happened. Today, let us be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit as we think, say and do, seeking out the peace that will come from knowing we’re abiding in Christ and in alignment with God.

Failure – We just covered how we can find ourselves doing things for what we believe to be righteous intentions but the acts are indeed wrong. However, sometimes we have no doubt; what we are doing is wrong for the wrong reasons. Peter had claimed that he would die for Jesus Christ. Peter had acted to try and defend Jesus Christ. Then Peter finds himself in a lonely dangerous situation. If Jesus Christ, the Son of God, could be arrested by mere men and hauled off for judgement; what power did Peter have against a same or worse fate. Peter had fled, but whether it was curiosity to see what was going to happen to Jesus or love of Jesus or some of both, Peter couldn’t stay away. He followed the mob to the High Priest’s house, where they were interrogating Jesus to see what would happen. Peter was staying outside in the courtyard, gathered with others around a fire to stay warm. Suddenly, the situation turns. Peter is found out, a servant girl recognizes Peter as having been a close follower of Jesus and points that out to the other bystanders. Peter is caught off guard. Peter wanted to know what was going to happen to Jesus, but he knew if he declared he was a follower of Jesus, he could be in great peril; so Peter denies knowing Jesus. Peter knows it is wrong, knows it is a betrayal to claim not to know Jesus, but he does it anyway. Yet Peter is given the opportunity to make amends. For the servant girl brushes off Peter’s denial and again accuses Peter of being a follower of Jesus. More people are taking notice; Peter still doesn’t want to leave but doesn’t want to put himself in the danger that would come from acknowledging his relationship with Jesus; thus Peter denies Him a second time. But this second denial doesn’t end the torment. Now others are openly suspicious of Peter, one noting that Peter must be a follower of Jesus because Peter is a fellow Galilean and that is why Peter must be there to help a fellow Galilean Jesus. This is too much for Peter, the danger is too high; Peter starts to call down curses upon himself and the group to cause his denial to have more validity. Suddenly a rooster crows and the harsh light of truth and reality hit Peter square on in the cold light of truth. He; Peter, the man who claimed he would die with and for Jesus, had just knowingly and with purpose, three times denied he even knew his master Jesus. Peter now leaves, weeping bitterly. Dear Sisters and Brothers, we are told, we all sin. We all give into temptation and become sinners. Sometimes our sins are born our of fear of the world, sometimes they are born out of desires of the world. But we know what we are doing, and know what we are doing is wrong. Those times should affect us. We are acting against God. We shouldn’t be of a mind, well Christ died for my sins so no big deal. Actually they are a big deal. They should cause us the kind of sorrow and pain as they did Peter that brings us to confess and repent of the sin. Yet there is a bigger deal. Jesus Christ knows of our sins, just as he knew Peter would deny Him three times. Jesus Christ died for our sins, paying the price so we do not have to die for our sins. Sin should matter enough, to try to avoid it at all costs. But when we fail (not if), what should matter more is Grace, Forgiveness, Mercy and Love provided in Jesus Christ that leads to our ultimate restoration and reconciliation with our Heavenly Father.

Humility and where our True Power Comes From – This is a trait of humaneness I wish I would use much more myself and see much more around me. Jesus Christ has forgiven and restored Peter, after Peter’s denial of Him. Peter and the other disciples (except Judas) have been given the Holy Spirit. On the one hand, the following of Jesus Christ is growing by literally thousands daily, thanks in part to Peter’s leadership. People are selling all their possessions and giving them to the disciples to administer. On the other hand, Peter is being threatened, arrested, beaten and worse by the religious leaders because of his preaching of Jesus Christ, risen from the grave. Their ill treatment doesn’t stop Peter one moment. Then Peter comes across a lame beggar. Now, while Peter may not have had any money on him at the time, Peter may very well have had the resources from donations to help this man out. Peter might have told a follower to go back to where they were staying and get some money to support this man with. But Peter doesn’t look to earthly riches to share with the man; Peter has something more valuable, more powerful, Peter has Jesus Christ. Peter tells the man he has no silver of gold to share. However, Peter is not content to leave this man empty handed. Peter has the Power of Jesus Christ within him and he knows it. Peter does not call great attention to himself as some righteous, wonderful miracle worker. No, Peter is very clear, the Power of the gift comes from Jesus Christ and this is the power to heal the man. Peter commands the man to walk and the man does just that. For Peter, it is not about his greatness, but about bringing the Power of the gift of Jesus Christ to all who are in need, that Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father might be praised and worshiped. It’s not just Peter, Jesus Christ declared that all who believe in Him and abide in Him have His Power to do great things. Yet, like Peter we must understand, it is not our greatness that allows us to have this Power. The Power comes as a precious gift, of much greater value than any earthly gift, given freely by and through the Grace of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ, looking at Peter’s life is not about trying to copy him or be like him. Jesus Christ was also clear when He met Peter and the other disciples on a beach for breakfast after His resurrection. Christ took Peter aside and was foretelling him what an aspect of his life would be like. Peter feels the need to ask Christ, if these things were going to be happening to Peter, what was John’s life going to be like. To which Christ responds; what does that have to do with you. In essence Christ is letting us all know, we have an individual plan with our Heavenly Father. We were not created to be identical. We are created to be equal but not identical. Thus, it is learning about Peter and aspects of Peter’s life and his interactions with Christ and the outcomes that we can use to reflect on our interactions, on our behaviors and their motivations; to learn from the challenges and triumphs to aid us in our journey. By the Grace of God, I hope to meet Peter some day and hear about the so many amazing aspects of his journey that no chapter or book could adequately capture.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, we are so grateful that, after creating us, You have not abandoned us to try and figure out how to live and how to interact with You on our own. We are so thankful for the Your Word and the people who populate it which give us such wonderfully constructive lessons on how to receive Your Love and Blessings, You so long to give. Forgive us we pray when we are tempted, or worse yet actually act out on our own without considering Your lessons for us. Through Your Spirit, guide us back to You and how to stay abiding in You so that our lives can lessons for others which brings praise to Your Glorious Name. We pray in the Name of our Great Teacher and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

“God looks down from heaven upon the children of men to see if there are any who understand, who seek God. ¬†Everyone has turned away…There is none who does good. No, not one” ¬†Psalm 53:2,3

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” ¬†Romans 3:23

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us” ¬†2 Corinthians 5:21

“Their sins and lawless deeds I will remember no more.”¬† ¬†Hebrews 10:17

Strange title? Possibly. ¬†In fact, there are some who might follow this site or who will come across this post who will skip reading it just because of that one word “sin” in the title. ¬†The reason I fashioned the title the way I did is I find that this word and the concepts that accompany it are filled with confusion and conflict in our world today. ¬†In fact, depending on the perspective we are coming from, even if we are going to use the word at all, the additional words that we would use after it, the fill in the blank if you will, may be amazingly different and contradictory. ¬†Sadly, this is true not only in the world but among those of faith as well.

For there are some who have a humanist view that would say that sin does not exist. ¬†They do not believe in a concept of fallen humanity. ¬†Quite to the contrary, they believe that all human beings are innately good and circumstances and errors in judgement are where difficulties ¬†come from but not from evil intentions. ¬†Sin they would tell us is a concept devised by one sect of human beings to exert control and power over other human beings. ¬†Additionally there is the worldly concept summed up in the lyrics of a song that says “I’d rather laugh with the sinners then die with the saints”. ¬†That is to say what is the problem with a little sin. ¬†Sinners are the ones having all the fun. ¬†It is the saints who have all the hangups; who have the miserable life.

In our faith communities there seems to be a great division about the use of the word sin. ¬†For some it is an anachronistic term used to describe an archaic concept that is too judgemental and driving many from the church today. ¬†They fear the use of the term and would use terms like problems, challenges, obstacles and the like in it’s place. ¬†Others have no fear of the term and wield it like a formidable weapon pointing at others saying: “I know sin when I see it and I see it in you, and you; in this group and that group!” ¬†Interestingly enough though, the finger they spend so much time pointing outward, never makes it around to pointing at themselves or anyone within their own organization.

Thus sin, across the whole of the human, spectrum, if it exists at all, is a highly enigmatic principle.  Well let there be no doubt Dear Sisters and Brothers, sin exists.  God knows sin exists.

You see for those that doubt sin’s existence and to a certain extent for those who seem to think sin is the fun and successful way to go; ¬†I can’t see where the world bears their point of view out. ¬†If we are basically good people, how can circumstances be so far out of our control to allow for the amount of war, violence against the innocent, corruption, greed, terrorism, rape, murder, hatred, suicide, abuse-especially of children and I could continue this list for many pages? ¬†As to those who would extol the virtues of sin as the preferred lifestyle, for those who actually seem to be living into that notion, I don’t often see a lot of laughter. ¬†What I do see is broken relationships, substance abuse, multiple health problems, litigation against them, fear of losing what they have, a constant striving to have more, hatred from others, hatred from themselves; death.

For people of faith; God knows, sin exits. ¬†Please don’t take my word for it; look to the source; God’s word. ¬†Depending on the translation your using, the word appears upwards of 500 times. ¬†If you add onto that, the concept of the fallen nature of man, then the count rises into the thousands. ¬†And Jesus Christ makes two things abundantly clear; first, we are all sinners. ¬†Secondly, that sin comes from within, it comes from our hearts. ¬†It is in our hearts that we finds ourselves getting angry enough to do harm, it is in our hearts where the lust resides that causes us to want to lay with another. ¬†Covetousness, selfishness, greed and countless other manifestations of sin originate from our hearts. ¬†Thus we have right to judge another.

Then is that where we are left? Sin exits and we are all sinners? ¬†Satan would want it left there. ¬†Either with idea that there is no sin or our sin is so devastating, we should be so gilt ridden as to separate from God and go our own way. ¬†You see that is the impact of sin, separation from God and from each other. ¬†Leaving us alone, isolated, hopeless, helpless. ¬†Please I implore you, DON’T STOP READING!

God knows sin exists. ¬†God knows we are all sinners. ¬†God can not have an eternal relationship with sinners. ¬†God could have stripped us bare and flogged us for each of our sins until we promised to stop. ¬†God could have hung us on a tree with nails until we pledged to never sin again. ¬†God knows neither of those would have worked. ¬†And here’s where I apologize for I have neither the wisdom or understanding to truly communicate the length and breadth of God’s love. ¬†I don’t believe that the vocabulary exists to adequately describe the Grace, Mercy and Love of God’s redemptive plan. ¬†For God loves His creation, loves you and I so much that He was not going to allow sin to separate us for eternity. ¬†God was not going to leave us to the wiles and power of Satan. ¬†So God did what we could not. ¬†He sent Jesus Christ to earth, to a human existence. ¬†Human and God, knowing no sin Jesus Christ took upon himself every sin we will ever commit. ¬†Please try to understand. ¬†We’re not just paroled, our record had been made clean, all sin washed away in the and through the blood of Jesus Christ. ¬†When God see us now, He does not see a sin riddled, fallen person, He sees a redeemed person made perfect by His son. ¬†So you see things don’t end with sin, they begin with the new life in Jesus Christ. ¬†A life filled with togetherness, ¬†not isolation. ¬†A life of hope and love, an eternal life of victory over sin, not by our own strength, but God’s grace. ¬†Accept that sin exists. ¬†Accept that you and I are sinners. ¬†Then accept the redemption offered through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ becoming a new person and braking the bonds of sin forever.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, we ask for the aid of the Holy Spirit for we do not have the words to adequately express our gratitude for the wonderful love which you manifested to us through the life and sacrifice of Your Son Jesus Christ.  Forgive us when we choose to allow earthly temptations  to lead us to sin and separation from You.  In Your Mercy, lead us to resist the temptation and turn away from the sin that we may return to a loving, eternal relationship with You.  That the world might see the path to redemption and sing praises to Your Holy Name.  We pray in the name of Jesus Christ Our Lord.

 

All we like sheep have gone astray, We have turned, everyone, to his own way and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.  Isaiah 53:6

Who, Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sin, might live by righteousness    1 Peter 2:24

What shall we say then?  Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?  Certainly not!  Romans 6:1

Think¬†of a time you were either falsely accused, actually went through some aspect of a trial (legal or informal) and at the end of the process, you were vindicated.¬† What you said or did was deemed to be appropriate and you were cleared of any offense.¬† Think of how that felt?¬† In those cases what was the impact on your future behavior?¬† Because you were deemed innocent did you find that you repeated that behavior over again?¬† And why wouldn’t you.¬† You were found innocent.

Contrast that with a time that you did something that indeed was wrong.  Especially a time when you knew what you were doing was wrong and did it anyway.  The wrong that you had done, was uncovered and your deeds were exposed to others.  Then think about what it felt like (or might feel like if you have not been lucky enough to experience this) when the person (or people) who were impacted by the wrong, completely forgave you for the wrong.  What was the difference between that feeling and the feeling of being vindicated?  Did it impact the way that you would behave next time?

This is one of the areas where theology versus psychology versus sociology come into conflict.¬† For I (we) as a Christian, know that all our sins are forgiven; whether a sin I have committed, am committing right now, or commit in the future.¬† All sins are forgiven, through the Grace of Jesus Christ.¬† So knowing that all my sins are forgiven, what incentive do I have to change my behavior?¬† Don’t I have a free pass?

I guess we have to understand the concept of forgiven.¬† First, I have to understand that to be forgiven, there must be sin.¬† And sin is intentional.¬† So I knowingly, to use a legal phrase I really don’t have the right to throw around but I am any way, with malice of forethought, I behave in a way contrary to God’s commandments.¬† It is vitally important to understand, Jesus Christ did not abolish the law, in His own words, He came to fulfill the law.¬† Second, having understood that I sinned I have to intentionally repent of that sin.¬† We see the impact of lack of intention when John the Baptist warns the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to him to be baptized, “Brood of vipers!¬† Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come.¬† Therefore bare fruits worthy of repentance”¬† Matthew 3:7¬† The fruits are not just the thoughts of remorse about the act but also the changing of behavior from repeating the act.¬† Also, we have to be clear that sin still has consequences.¬† The Heavenly Father will forgive me for my sin of stealing, but that does not mean I’ll escape the jail time or financial burden of making restitution.¬† Finally, I need to be filled with praise for the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the Grace of the plan from our Heavenly Father.

Yet since the bible tells me that I am fallen in nature and will sin, doesn’t that mean that I can have no joy in life?¬† The enemy would have you believe that.¬† Satan would have us convinced that our sinful nature is a permanent barrier between ourselves and God which nothing can breach, not even the cross.¬† In this world there is a sense that if there is nothing we can do about something, we should treat it as if it doesn’t exist and go about our lives no thinking about it.¬† I am going to sin, oh well.¬† Yet Jesus Christ teaches something completely different.¬† He does not tell us to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps.¬† Cowboy up and be stronger.¬† It’s all up to us.¬† Conversely, Jesus teaches us to abide in Him.¬† Apart from Him we can do nothing.¬† With Him and through Him all things are possible.¬† We can behave better.¬† We can change.¬† We need to change and there are immediate and eternal rewards for that change.

So if I am innocent I have no need to change.  If I am forgiven then I know I need to change and should want to change.  Therein lies the basic difference.

May it be that I (we), first confess our sins, then look to improve our behavior through Jesus Christ.

Amen

%d bloggers like this: