Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Truth about Sin and the Redeemed

Evangelicals are fond of the ideology that everything is covered by the blood of Jesus.  There’s no sin that his sacrifice can’t atone for.  And this is a good thing, because it’s true.  We evangelicals know that the wages of sin is death; and the death of Jesus, offered once for all, is the payment accepted on our behalf.  The Scriptures abound with this truth.  What I don’t find is a sliding scale of which sin is worse than another.  I find no formula for:

Sin X requires 3 drops of the blood of the Lord, while Sin Y requires 2 whole pints. 

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.  But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation ~ Colossians 1:21-22 {emphasis mine}

I cannot find this prescription in Scripture because it is not there.  The truth is that each and every sin is first and foremost an act of rebellion against Almighty God; secondly, it is an act against His creation (self, other person, or nature) of which He has all proprietary rights.  I say this, because what follows is going to bother some people.  Some folks who have worked very hard to maintain as righteous a life as they could, sinning as absolutely little as possible; people who may truly be able to say, “follow me as I follow Christ.”*  But the truth is that no matter who you are, what you or have not done:

Each. Sin. Cost. Precisely. the Same. 

Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.  Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.  You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything. ~1 Corinthians 6:9-12 {emphasis mine}

 Each one cost the very life blood of God’s Only Son, Jesus Christ.  All of it.  Whether you’ve taken a stapler from work, or you’re the head of Enron.  Whether you’ve held anger in your heart towards your parents/spouse/child, or you’ve committed serial murder.  Whether you’ve only looked at the Sport’s Illustrated bikini models that one time, or your internet stable would be Solomon’s envy.  Whether you’ve stared at the ground trying to ignore the homeless person asking for help, or you’ve stocked piled humanitarian supplies to sell on the black market to the highest bidder.    

Any shade of sin cost Christ everything. 

And He paid it.  For Love.  For Hope.  For Healing.  For Restoration.   

If you have not accepted Christ’s sacrifice on your behalf, dearest one, I pray that you that do.  For there is nothing that you can do; no benevolence great enough to erase the sin-DNA coursing through all humanity, no deed good enough to tip the scales of righteousness in your favor.  There is only the blood of Jesus.

If you have accepted this gift, beloved, I am rejoicing for you.  For as one prone to fallenness, but for the grace of the Father, the love of the Son, and the presence of the Spirit, I am so delighted that you and I have been saved from ourselves and our sins. 

From here, followers, we must remember that every sin cost Christ the same.  So that we when look at others, we cannot call them by the label their sin mars them with.  For in Christ, there are no murders, no thieves, no fornicators, no liars, no abusers, no drunks. 

In Christ, there are only the redeemed saints. 

Saints who, while rejoicing in their new identities, must always recall from whence they came. 

Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins.  You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world.  He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God.  All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else. ~Ephesians 2:1-3 {emphasis mine}

An abortionist, forgiven by Christ, is the same as the little boy or girl who gave their lives to the Lord at 4, only  ever lying to his/her mom.  A terrorist, redeemed by Jesus, is the same as the missionary, bringing God’s Word and love to people the world over.  A pimp, a prostitute, or a john, saved by the Lord, is the same as Chuck Swindol, Beth Moore, or Billy Graham.

At the foot of the cross, we are all the same – sinners, in desperate need of our Savior.

This truth, dear friend, frees us to minister with Love.  Because we know, we are intimately familiar with, the sin ghetto in which all humanity struggles – until accepting Jesus’ rescue.  The truth of who we were, joined with the truth of who we are now lets us embody our new identity as made-righteous-in-Christ, so that we may shower His grace and love upon the lost and hurting in this dark world.  It allows us to use our hands, our words, and our hearts on behalf of God’s kingdom in the lives of the people He came to save.  The people who are the same as you and I were, not so very long ago.  The only thing that separates us now is our acceptance of the grace and love of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  May we bridge that gap with our outpouring of His love into the desperate and hopeless world, to which we have been called as ministers of Christ’s grace. 



*{Before venturing further, I will say that I am so very thankful for people who live this way.  May you continue to be a beautiful light pointing to the Christlikeness towards which each of us should strive!}



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