We are living in a time when sin is continually put before us as good. We are constantly solicited to buy more goods and services than we need. We are told that consumption is the aim of life. To have and to possess is the sum total of happiness. Have more. Want more.
It doesn’t stop there of course. Do as you please. Do what you want, when you want. It’s your Right. You have Rights as a human being to live just as you please. You are the centre of your universe.
So may I ask this ? When was the last time you heard an exhortation to personal responsibility, both towards yourself [your health, both mental and physical] and to others.
Yes we hear a lot of political posturing from all sides. I’m afraid the main political parties in most democracies are blatant hypocrites. They tell us they’ll give us all we want, vote for them because the other party will screw everything up for you. That’s the underlying message we get from all of them. We’re the good guys; we’ll do x, y and z for you. But the others are bad guys; don’t vote for them.
Well, real life is not quite like that, is it.
Advertising and television programmes pump out the materialist message constantly; and it’s all hype, hype and more hype – an ever increasing stimulation hit to our brains and emotions. It’s seriously wrong, and God challenges it.
Jesus said that sin is so serious it would be better to cut off the offending limb and get to heaven, than keep it and go to hell.
We reach the latter part of chapter 9 of the Gospel according to Mark in the New Testament.
Now let me very clear. Jesus is not telling us to maim ourselves ! What Jesus does is shock us because the subject is so serious. The consequences are so serious. What he actually says is IT IS BETTER FOR YOU that you lose a limb than go to hell. He makes a comparison. At no point is he suggesting you actually do that.
Because our limbs and our senses are secondary instruments which merely respond to the wickedness in our inner being. And it is this propensity to evil within us that is the problem. Not our eyes, or hands or feet. But what activates our eyes and hands and feet.
It is that inner problem of sin within us which Jesus alone can cure. And it is for that reason that he had to die on the Cross in our place. And it is his blood alone which can cleanse us from our sins. Cutting off limbs won’t do that. Only coming to Christ in repentance and in faith, and in knowing that we cannot do it – but that he can cleanse us and make us new within.
By faith in his shed blood. By faith in Him. By faith in his Word. By faith and not by any actions on our part; that somehow out of our own ideas, and our own efforts, we can put ourselves right with God. The point is that only God can do it. Only God in Christ has done it.
But God did that because sin is so serious. Sin turns our lives into a nightmare. It ends in crime and drugs etc for the foolish and lost. For those more respectable it leads them into overworking and into over consumption and into debt. It puts unbelievable strain on our relationships so that we refuse to admit where we are wrong and that we have done harm to others.
Sin is deceitful too. It dresses itself up as Right when it is the cause of so much wrong.
In the USA this last week or more we have witnessed how serious sin is. We have witnessed a human being die as a result of sin in a uniform. The consequences have been dramatic and extensive. On top of the Covid 19 crisis the USA now has this problem too. All because of sin. Because a man did not deal with the sin in his heart, he caused another person’s death.
And countless people are suffering, and angry because this sin thing keeps on doing such wicked things.
Sin is serious. We must all manage it in our lives. Be we believers in Christ or not. But no-one can solve this sin problem for good, except Jesus Christ.
That’s his claim; that’s why he came.