Saturday, May 21, 2016

O: Offense of Sin

Oh boy. This part of the series is a doozy. This is the part of the story that no one wants to hear. Society as a whole (and honestly modern churches) kinda skim over this and "get to the good stuff". If the Bible was a movie, the "sin" scene would be when you got up to refill your popcorn. But the truth is that its real and its the only way to indeed "get to the good stuff", so here we go.

A long time ago in a land far far away God made the heavens and the Earth and people. He loved the people and he gave all he had to the people. The people loved him and obeyed him out of love and respect, knowing he only lovingly walked with them. However, a voice kept talking to the people, convincing them with dripping deceit that they had been deceived by this God, that they weren't truly loved by Him. The voice told them he can't be trusted, that his ways were unfair, that he didn't want their minds to be open to everything that the world had to offer them (oh, how we hear this same voice every day in so many different forms). And so the people made the single worst decision in human history and listened to a worldly voice instead of an out-of-this-world God. They sinned against God.

This action- this sin- told God that they thought they knew better than Him. That they had this thing in the bag and he could just mosey on off and keep ruling the universe and stuff. They told him in essence that they didn't trust him, that they were questioning his love for them, that they didn't need his guidance or compassion. On this day, mankind partnered with Satan and tried to kill the very essence and character of the Almighty Creator. And you and I do the same thing every single day.

I think that this article is crucial. I think that as Christians, you and I must come face to face with who we really are underneath the getup that we put on. I think to be on right terms with God and to fully get the gospel, we have to understand the facts. So here goes nothing.

You and I are sinners. Our very being hates God. He makes our worldly skin crawl. Almost every natural instinct we have tells us to go against his guidance, to give into what we want no matter who it affects. Our feet hit the floor and we commit a dozen offenses against God before we even go to work. We separate ourselves from protection, perfection, immeasurable love, humility, grace, mercy, and guidance and sometimes we even have the audacity to be proud of it. And that only means one thing.

We deserve eternal damnation. We deserve an eternity away from true love because every minute we deny that God is God. I'm going to discuss S: Sufficiency of Christ next week in great detail, however we are faced with 2 and ONLY two options: Accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and know that he died on the cross and endured all of God's wrath for the very sins that you and I committed yesterday and today and tomorrow or spend an eternity away from God.

The reason that the gospel message is so important is because of that very reality. There is no other way around it. Good works won't get you to heaven. Being a "nice guy" will not land you a spot in front of those pearly gates. If you donate a day of your life every single week to volunteering or some form of charity, that still isn't cutting it. No other religion or "savior" gets you there either. There is but ONE way to escape the inevitable fate of mankind and that is through accepting JESUS CHRIST.  

What does "forever" in hell look like?

I don't know. I can not imagine a place where God's love cannot be seen neither here nor there. I can not imagine a place where pain and suffering exclusively exist together for stretches of time that literally never end. I can not imagine a place that is void of all goodness, all hope, all joy for forever and ever and ever and then some. All suffering, all work, all wrath and pain and agony. I don't want to know what the looks like.

 But it makes me cry.

And the reality is that every single human being who has ever stepped foot on Earth has fallen far short of what he/she was created to be and have slapped the face of the very same creator who crafted the universe and we deserve that terrible, awful place that makes me cry. And like a brand new iPhone, our factory settings are set to "hell". The reality is that every single person who does not accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior are automatically sent to this place. Any person who hasn't even heard of Jesus has the same fate.

That is why the Gospel message is so urgent. That is why your very essence must positively ooze Jesus. It is that crucial. It is of immediate, 911, need to do right now importance. Because it's up to you. Imagine your own very near and dear loved ones who may or may not have the Gospel message a little mixed up and your heart absolutely shatters and you realize just how urgent that this message is. Next week I get to tell you of the immense love and mercy and grace that was and is extended to you every single day and that story is the most important story you will ever hear in your entire existence and it is absolutely vital that you know it and believe it and tell it to anyone who will listen, no matter the cost because the alternative is absolutely unbearable to consider.

Francis Schaffer, when asked how he would disciple to someone who has never heard the gospel before in just one hour, replied:

"I would spend 45-50 minutes on the negative, to really 
show him his dilemma- that he is morally dead- then
take 10-15 minutes to preach the Gospel. I believe that
much of our evangelistic and personal work today is not 
clear simply because we are too anxious to get to the answer
 without having a man realize the real cause of his sickness, which 
is true moral guilt (and not just psychological guilt feelings)
in the presence of God."

This message is so vital that we should spend about 4/5ths of our evangelistic time addressing the problem. And I agree. People are falling apart today because society has deemed sin offensive (as they should) and in return "feel good" churches kinda sweep it up under a rug. Don't get me wrong, I am a far cry from a "fire and brimstone" kinda gal, but as a logical and mathematical person I understand that before a solution can be found, the problem must be clearly stated and understood. 

We can not make a person whole by starting the Gospel message in Matthew. 

I do not want anyone to experience an endless amount of time in suffering, where even the sweet relief of death is nowhere to be found. Therefore I am not hesitant to clearly state that that is reality if steps are not taken. 

This is not a fun topic, no, but it is perhaps the most necessary one. It's scary without a doubt, but how blessed and grateful am I that after O comes S, the sufficiency of Christ. In the time being, meditate over the idea that we do not have to experience an eternity away from God because Christ already endured it for us. Not once, but for every single person who has ever and will ever live. I don't know how to express this joy any better than the below verse from "It is Well With My Soul". 

"My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!"

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