"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
(Romans 6:23 NIV)
Over the years of pastoral ministry I have found one of the most unpopular topics to address is the topic of sin. In general, people don't like to think about sin, talk about sin, or admit to sin. We really would rather have the topic of sin just ignored.
I have found the topic of sin can make some uncomfortable, some angry, and some thankful. It generally, however, is not the favorite topic to address. Because the Bible addresses sin head on I feel a responsibility as a pastor to do the same. The Bible doesn't skirt the issue or soften its reality. It calls sin for what it is "sin!" As a matter of fact, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is all about "sin." The message surrounding the birth of Christ was clear "He shall save his people from their sin."
I am glad the good news of the Gospel is about sin. Part of the reason it is good news is that it is not silent concerning sin. We are told that sin produces eternal death and damnation and that all of us are sinners. The reason it is good news is because it lets us know our condition whether we want to hear it or not. The Bible is honest with us even if we don't like what we are being told.
I have sat in a doctor's office and been told news I did not want to hear. I was told I had cancer. As upset as I was about what he said, I would have been angry if he had kept silent. If I was going to do anything about my condition I had to know about it. I am thankful I am cancer -ree today. If my doctor, or any doctor, decided not to tell patients when they had a life threatening disease they wouldn't be a doctor very long. It doesn't matter if there seem to be no symptoms or obvious indications, we want to know. The only way to address the problem is to know about it.
We want the doctor to be honest with us, why would we want God to be any different?
Often times the treatment isn't something we prefer either. We are treated for our illness and then given instructions to address some personal issues. These issues often involve a change of lifestyle to address the problem to keep it from creating more problems. We are told to stop eating foods we really like to eat and to exercise whether we like doing it or not. It's for our own good. It's interesting; I have never met anyone who was glad they found out too late the changes they needed to implement.
The treatment the Bible prescribes for sin is similar. God is honest with us about our sin and lets us know the sin issue in our life can be addressed. It's not too late no matter how long we have ignored it. God lets us know He has dealt with sin before and has an antidote that has been paid for by Jesus.
Our sin is forgiven and the sentence of eternal death and damnation is lifted from us by faith in Jesus' sacrifice on the cross. His sacrifice is the only answer to the issue of sin in our life. We are then told to change our lifestyle. A lifestyle change is not to remedy the problem, but so the issue of sin that God has already remedied will not become an issue between us and Him again. It will require discipline and giving up things that you may not want to give up right now.
But the good news is, you will receive the gift of eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
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