How serious is God about sin in our lives?

17 12 2009

Last night I had one of those nights in Youth Ministry where you just want to give up! And it was my fault.  First of all I failed to set up my media presentations until after service had started (while the students where eating)! Secondly, and most important, I totally neglected to pray for and give credible attention to studying my message.  Needless to say it all felt like a train wreck.

When I woke up this morning I begin to think about Joshua and the Israelites.  After the fall of Jericho Joshua had his sights set on the city of Ai, a smaller and weaker city than Jericho.  The men of Israel told Joshua they would only need a small force to defeat the men of Ai, but instead the Isrealites were embarrassed and their hearts were like water as they fled Ai defeated. When Joshua sought God’s face it was revelaed to him that there was sin in the camp as Achan had disobeyed God’s command and took some spoil from the fall of Jericho.

How serious is God about sin? Look at Joshua 7:24-25

24And Joshua and all Israel with him took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver and the cloak and the bar of gold, and his sons and daughters and his oxen and donkeys and sheep and his tent and all that he had. And they brought them up to the Valley of Achor. 25And Joshua said, “Why did you bring trouble on us? The LORD brings trouble on you today.” And all Israel stoned him with stones. They burned them with fire and stoned them with stones.

I needed to be reminded last night about how foolish it is for a child of God to do something apart from God’s will.  How could I think that my words alone had enough power to make a difference in my students’ lives?  In all facets of ministry and life for that matter, there is temptation to take the reings from God and think that we can keep things under control… How quickly that plan unravels for us! Thankfully this morning I am also reminded of 1 John 1:9:

9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Because of God’s grace we don’t have to be stoned to death and burned for our sin! But, we don’t need to think that God is less serious about sin than He was in the days of Joshua.  He is still the same God, yesterday, today, and forever…

How serious is God about sin? Isaiah 53:5-6

5But he was wounded for our transgressions;
   he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
   and with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
   we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
   the iniquity of us all.

God is still serious about sin in our lives, but today, if you are a Christian, you have an advocate before the Father.  God’s wrath was poured out on Jesus for your sins, all of them.

There’s a twofold application to get out of this.  First, we do not need to neglect the seriousness of sin in our lives and how it effects everything that we do.  If you’ve been living a double life then you must understand your sin will catch up to you. Secondly, we need to know and be reminded that God laid our sin on His Son.  We don’t have to carry around our guilt and shame because it’s already been paid for! For the Christian this means: LIVE IN VICTORY! This means confess your sins before God and repent. Don’t keep returning to your former self! And if you are not a Christian there is time for you today, right now, to come to the Cross.  Ask the Lord for forgiveness of your failures and sins and to be the God of your heart.

I hear so many times how God is a loving and forgiving God.  Amen! BUT, this cannot be separated from His other attributes of Holiness, Righteousness, and Justice…. Let us not forget this Christmas the payment made on our behalf for our rebellion.  Let us not answer lightly the question, “How Serious is God about sin in our lives?”