Tag Archives: Sin

Through the Bible, January 4

Read: Genesis 6-8:19

Summary: Sin spreads until God must take drastic action

As if sin’s damage had not been enough in the family of Adam and Eve, it would only spread like a fast-growing cancer through all of humanity.  So extensive is sin’s spread that God takes drastic action to eradicate it from the earth by means of the flood. We should be duly impressed with sin’s power and pervasiveness.  It is something which God obviously takes quite seriously as should we.

The flood, like the creation account, is questioned by many people.  In addition to Jesus’ statement about what Moses wrote (John 5:46-47, which we noted on January 1st), one should also consider how Jesus viewed Noah and the flood. He unquestionably saw it as a very real, historical event to which He did not hesitate to appeal (Matt. 24:37-39).

Devotional Thought:

Sin’s Effect

The world was filled with corruption and violence. That’s what prompted God to send the flood (Gen. 6:11). Instead of “corruption,” the NET Bible says the earth was “ruined.”  This same word is used on two other occasions (Jer. 13:7; 18:4) where it refers to a loincloth that was spoiled after being buried in the earth and a clay jar that was marred on the turning wheel and reformed by the potter.

So, one sense of the corrupting effect of sin is that it ruins us.  It turns us into something far different from what God intended.

The world of Noah’s day was not what God wanted.  It began as “very good” (Gen. 1:31) and became continually evil (Gen. 6:5). Make no mistake, our sin ruins us; it spoils and it mars.

The antidote is Noah’s formula of being righteous (doing what is right and blameless); integrity (Gen. 6:9).  He’s not the only one described this way in Scripture; Job and John the Baptist’s parents are said to be the same (Job. 1:1; Luke 1:6).  But he was the only one like this among his contemporaries.

Sin will ruin us, but it doesn’t have to.  It may ruin everyone else, but it doesn’t have to ruin me.

 

Through the Bible, January 3

Read: Genesis 3-5

Summary: Sin enters creation with devastating consequences

All that God had made was good.  It could be no other way.  But one of the primary features (or conditions) of the good creation made by God was man’s capacity to exercise his own will.  God never violated the free moral agency (as it is often called) of man as a part of his place in this world.  That meant that not only could man choose to disobey God, but that he must also suffer very real consequences for that bad choice.

These chapters introduce the major conflict in the Bible’s story line: human sin placing humanity at enmity with God and thus subject to His wrath (Rom. 1:18; 5:8; Eph. 5:6).  The ultimate, eternal plan of God is evident in His response to Adam and Eve’s sin (see Gen. 3:15) to which New Testament makes reference as well (John 13:18; Gal. 3:16).

Sin’s effect extends from destroying man’s relationship to God (Adam and Even driven from the garden) to destroying the closest of human relationships (Cain kills his brother Abel) to wide scale degradation of mankind (the flood–tomorrow’s reading).

Devotional Thought:

Sin is Good

How can that be?  That is how Eve saw the fruit God had forbidden that she or Adam eat.  She observed that it was “good for food…a delight to the eyes, and…desired to make one wise” (Gen. 3:6).

It was “good” but it ruined the blessing of life in the garden.

It was “good” but it damaged the first couple’s marriage.

It was “good” but it destroyed a family.

It was “good” but it made worship worthless.

It was “good” but severed man’s intimate relationship with God.

No matter how “good” we may consider sin to be, it will have the last word and it will destroy what is genuinely good.

My Delight is the Lord, December 8

Sin and the Response

December 8, Thursday: God’s People

Scripture Reading: Revelation 2:18-29

The church at Thyatira was an admirable one with a big problem. Jesus commends their work, love, faith, service, and patient endurance. Not only that, but they were growing–nothing is said about numerical growth, but their works of late exceed earlier efforts (v. 19). Good job, Thyatira! “But, I have this against you,” notes marked change in the tone. They were tolerating someone in the church that they should not. Yes, this “Jezebel” woman was a real problem with her decidedly negative impact, even leading Christians into sexual immorality. Notice that Jesus’ issue with the church was not her influence of wickedness (He takes that up with her directly), rather it was how they dealt with her (actually, their failure to do so). Here we’re reminded that not only is sin the issue, but also how we respond to the sin of others.

Questions to Ponder:

  • How is the author of this letter identified? (v. 18)
  • Upon what basis does Jesus analyze a church? (v. 19)
  • What is Jesus threat to the Jezebel woman? (vv. 22-23)
  • What are the faithful Christians at Thyatira to do?

My Delight is the Lord, November 2

What’s Next?

November 2, Wednesday: Knowing God’s Son

Scripture Reading: Matthew 27:3-10, 27-31

There is not a better confession that one can make (well, outside of a confession of faith in Jesus as God’s Son) than, “I have sinned.” Coming to that realization is a major milestone on the road to spiritual healing and forgiveness. It is also turns out to be a major crossroads as well. What a person does immediately after having come to that understanding is of supreme importance. There are, honestly, many options. Even Judas said, “I have sinned” (v. 4). He, of course, did not then choose the right option. Recognizing one has a problem (sin) is all well and good, but unless the correct course of action is taken that can actually remedy it, what, truly, has been accomplished? The path that leads to redemption involves repentance and obedience. Do you acknowledge your sin? If yes, then that’s good. Now, you have a critical decision to make next. Make that a good one too!

Questions to Ponder:

  • What prompted Judas’ change of mind? (v. 3)
  • What is revealed about the chief priests in v. 6?
  • Who was the governor? (v. 27)
  • What is your emotional response to vv. 28-31?

My Delight is the Lord, September 29

Sin is Sin

September 29, Thursday: God’s People

Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 9:1-37

I like to feel good. I prefer the pleasant to the distasteful, the enjoyable to the painful, and the beautiful to the hideous. But, the reality of life and the world we occupy is that the distasteful, painful, and hideous are as real as are the niceties. Though we don’t pursue and embrace those negatives, neither should we attempt to sanitize our lives of them completely. The Bible doesn’t do that. Enter Jehu. Though hardly an upstanding character, he was an instrument of God’s judgment against Israel and Judah. The accounts of his exploits are far from pleasant. That’s because God, through him, was addressing sin. The Bible just doesn’t allow for sin to be seen as anything than its awful self. It is, at best, distasteful, painful, and hideous.

Questions to Ponder:

  • With what job was Jehu tasked? (v. 7)
  • Where did Jehu and Joram meet? (v. 21)
  • What was the reason there was no peace? (v. 22)
  • What was left of Jezebel when they went to bury her? (v. 35)

My Delight is the Lord, September 2

Secret Sin

September 2, Friday: God’s Story (1)

Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 17:6-23

That Israel messed up big-time is without question. Having been given so much, they failed so miserably. As far as the sins of a nation go, they committed all the “biggies.” They “walked in the customs of the nations” (v. 8), built high places, set up pillars, and made offerings (vv. 9-11). They “did wicked things” and “served idols” (vv. 11-12). How could they possibly have been any more rebellious, disobedient, and flagrant than this? But wait a minute. In the middle of all this obvious and egregious sinning, it says they “did secretly against the Lord their God things that were not right” (v. 9). I’m not sure what these secret things were. What I do know is that God isn’t only concerned for the visible, outward, public manifestations of my faith. He’s just as concerned for the very private, personal, secret things as well; a strong motivation for us to pause and reflect.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What can be learned about “fearing” God from Israel’s failures? (v. 7)
  • What are “pillars”? (v. 10)
  • What was the result of their having pursued “false idols”? (v. 15)
  • Who is charged with instigating the great sinfulness of Israel? (v. 21)

My Delight is the Lord, July 26

Never Be a Cause for Sin

July 26, Tuesday: Following God’s Way

Scripture Reading: Mark 9:42-50

Sin is bad. We really don’t understand how bad it is; it separates us from God, it stains our soul, it ruthlessly destroys, and it requires nothing less that Jesus’ own blood to remedy. Jesus brings to our attention concern for sin’s cause. What prompts it? What serves as an influence that results in sin? Jesus’ warning is chilling. Do not, at any cost, be the cause for “one of these little ones” to sin (v. 42). Further, you would be better off to purposefully maim and disfigure your own body if some part of it were the reason for sin (vv. 43-47). That’s strong language. What in your own life serves as an entry point for sin? Think about it; a person, an activity, a habit, an event, a technology device? It could be anything. No measure would be too extreme to eliminate this avenue for sin, especially if it is something much loved and cherished. The price of failure here, is just far too high.

Questions to Ponder:

  • Who are “these little ones”? (v. 42)
  • How is hell described? (v. 44)
  • To what does “kingdom of God” refer? (v. 47)
  • What does it mean to be “salted with fire”? (v. 49)

My Delight is the Lord, May 8

Why Should God Care? 

May 8, Sunday: Praise God

 Scripture Reading: Psalm 41

Why should God care? Why should God bless us? Why should God offer to us anything good? Why would He be merciful and forgive? These questions are fair and appropriate. We know that He does care, He does bless, He is good to us, and He mercifully forgives. But, why? Our answer is critically important. How we answer has serious implications for how (and why) we serve Him. Notice here that the petition is offered that God be gracious and heal (v. 4). That’s what we want! Notice also the basis for the appeal, “for I have sinned against you.” It’s not because I am good or obedient or better than everybody (or most everybody) else. It’s those who know and acknowledge their spiritual need to whom God responds. Just as in Jesus’ parable of the two men praying. One focused on his own goodness, the other on his unworthiness (Lk. 18:9-4). We appeal to God because He is good and we are not.

Questions to Ponder:

  • Who is blessed? (v. 1)
  • What’s the worst kind of foe? (v. 9)
  • What is the ultimate blessing from God? (v. 12)
  • Why does this Psalm end in this way? (v. 13)

My Delight is the Lord, May 7

It Could Happen

May 7, Saturday: God’s Story (2)

 Scripture Reading: Numbers 25:1-18

Is it a desire to be accepted? Is it a wish to fit in? Why do we tend to act like people around us; do what they do, value what they value, and practice what they practice? Israel’s sin at Baal-Peor is among their most infamous. Twenty-four thousand died because of it. Phinehas is immortalized for his drastic response to this sin’s public display (vv. 8, 12-13).  Some might think it overkill (sorry, I really did not intend that pun), but God said that had he not so acted with godly jealousy, that the entire nation might have died (v. 11).  How very easy it is for us to move so very far away from God in such a very short time. This wasn’t a gradual slide, it was a nearly immediate rebellion. Don’t say, “It could never happen to me.” Be on your guard; always and earnestly.

Questions to Ponder:

  • How is the sin described in v. 1?
  • What did Israel do? (v. 3)
  • What did Moses instruct the judges of Israel to do? (v. 5)
  • How are Phinehas’ motives described? (v. 11)

My Delight is the Lord, May 1

Am I Sick?

May 1, Sunday: Praise God

Scripture Reading: Psalm 38

A doctor who gives a clean bill of health to an obviously ill, diseased person is beyond contemptible. It is no less true with sin and spiritual health. Society and culture have ceased calling sin, sin. An astonishing array of verbal, theological, and logical gymnastics are used to proclaim the sick, healthy. Not so in Scripture. Sin’s effect is graphically described in terms of illness. “There is no soundness in my flesh…no health in my bones…my wounds stink and fester…I am utterly bowed down and prostrate…my sides are filled with burning…I am feeble and crushed; I groan…my heart throbs, my strength fails me, and the light of my eyes–it has also gone from me” (vv. 3-10). It’s all because of my sin. If I’m sick, I want to know. The world lies; God tells it just as it is.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What are God’s arrows? (v. 2)
  • Should we hide our despair from God? (v. 9)
  • How far gone is this person? (v. 17)
  • What must happen for sin to be remedied? (18)