Friday, June 26, 2015

My Sin's Better Than Your Sin?

I have tried so hard not to write this all day long, but I suppose it's one of those things that until I do it - the itch in my fingers won't go away.... sigh.... I've been hearing the title to this post all day in my head (sung to the tune of the old Oscar Mayer hot dog commercial). 

One thing I have seen recently several times is the justification that one shouldn't throw stones at someone for a particular sin (or insert lifestyle here), if they have another particular sin in their life. Kind of a "you can't judge my sin, because you sin, too" statement. For those who have posted that and are waiting for me to come up with a marvelously spiritual rationalization...sorry...but you are right. When the Pharisees wanted to stone the woman caught in adultery in John 8:1-11, Jesus said to them "let whoever is without sin cast the first stone". No stones were thrown that day, but we will come back to this story in a minute.

The simple fact of the matter is this: we have ALL sinned. Romans 3:23 says clearly that "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." In our simple, finite human minds, we rank sin. Murder is worse than adultery. One receives a death penalty and one gets a slap on the hand these days. In God's view, though, sin is sin. Anything that does not measure up with His holiness separates us from Him - no matter how large or small that sin might seem. Romans 6:23 tells us that the wages of sin (not particular sins, but the state of being in sin) is death. We all get the death penalty in God's eyes. No sin gets special treatment. God is the ultimate fair judge and there is only one way to escape the death penalty.

Back to the story of the adulterous woman: Most like to end that story with the lack of stone casting, but it doesn't end there. After her accusers have left, Jesus tells her, without condemning her, to go and sin no more. Here's the rub - it doesn't matter what the sin IS, what matters is whether you continue to live in it, whether you repent of it, whether you ask the God of heaven to forgive you for it. 

John 3:16 tells us that God doesn't just want to sit on His throne judging and condemning us. He LOVES us. He loved the WORLD so much that He was willing to give His one and only Son, Jesus Christ to die for every sin. He didn't want us to be separated from Him, so He gave us a pass on the death penalty, but only if we REPENT and accept the forgiveness that He offers to us freely. Romans 8:1 says "there is NO condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus." The King James Version adds the statement in this verse "who walk not after the flesh".

How do you come to belong to Christ?
Romans 10:9-10 "If you declare with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved."

Acts 2:38 in Peter's sermon at Pentecost he told the people, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins..."

God loves you. 1 Timothy 2:4 says that God wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 2 Peter 3:9 tells us that God is not slow in keeping His promise (that He will return), as some understand slowness. Instead, He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish (the death penalty), but everyone to come to repentance.

Is my sin better? Nope. No better, no worse. Sin is sin and the consequences are the same for everyone short of belief in Jesus Christ. His message is still the same. He still loves the world. He wants you to belong to Him.

Being a Christ follower doesn't make me sinless, it makes me forgiven. It doesn't make me a judge, but it does tell me in James 5 that whoever turns a sinner for the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sin. I think the following quote from atheist comedian Penn Jillette sums it up 

“I’ve always said that I don’t respect people who don’t proselytize. I don’t respect that at all. If you believe that there’s a heaven and a hell, and people could be going to hell or not getting eternal life, and you think that it’s not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward—and atheists who think people shouldn’t proselytize and who say just leave me along and keep your religion to yourself—how much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that? 
“I mean, if I believed, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that a truck was coming at you, and you didn’t believe that truck was bearing down on you, there is a certain point where I tackle you. And this is more important than that.”

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