Forgiving Our Sins is Brutal

“If the offering to the LORD is a burnt offering of birds, you are to offer a dove or a young pigeon. The priest shall bring it to the altar, wring off the head and burn it on the altar; its blood shall be drained out on the side of the altar. He is the remove the crop and the feathers and throw them down east of the altar where the ashes are. He shall tear it open by the wings, not dividing it completely, and then the priest shall burn it on the wood that is burning on the altar. It is a burn offering, a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the LORD” (Leviticus 1:14-17).

At least once a year, I read through the entire Bible. Every time I do this, I get to sections of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and think…what? Why is this even here?

So, I confess, I don’t get big chunks of the Old Testament. I don’t understand why it’s important for us to know the exact dimensions of the tabernacle, how to make the garments for the priests, what metals were used to make the lamp stand, the dimensions of the holy place.

And then there are the instructions for the sacrifices. The description of the sacrifices is brutal!

Every day, animals were sacrificed. They were butchered, torn apart. Blood of the animals were sprinkled on the altar, on the priests, on the people.

Yuck!

I can only imagine the smell. I’ve smelled some rancid smells traveling in the unrefrigerated meat markets of developing countries. In the summer time, you can smell them from miles away.

The entire butchering, tearing the birds apart at the wings, burning, sprinkling of blood. It’s just so darn bloody, smelly, and brutal. Most modern persons seeing an animal sacrifice would be so offended by the grisly scene.

And, I think that’s the point. Forgiving our sins is not easy. It’s messy. It’s stinky. It’s brutal.

What happened to Jesus was not pretty. It was messy. It was brutal.

When we find ourselves offended by the animal sacrifices, it’s because we don’t take seriously enough the offense of sin against God. God is telling us through the sacrifices and the sacrifice of his Son on the cross that the business of forgiving sins is brutal, costly, and painful. But Jesus did it. Because it was, and still is the only way to transform sinners into children of God.

Thank you Jesus. Thank you God.

Kyrios

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete” (Luke 6:46-49).

Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?

The Greek word for Lord is kyrios. It means “Lord,” “Master,” “Owner,” “A person with absolute ownership rights.”

So, if you know Jesus as Lord, as one who is the Lord and Master, one who is Owner, one who has absolute ownership rights to us, why do we call him Lord and not do what he says?

If you didn’t know the full understanding of the word Lord, now you do. If you call Jesus Lord and do not do what he says, it’s ludicrous.

And, what’s crazy is that if we were to do what the Lord commands, it works out not only to further God’s kingdom, but we end up doing what’s best for us. So, why aren’t we obeying?

I know. Even as I write this, I too struggle to obey all the time. And it puzzles me too.

You see, fully submitting our lives, our trust, our hopes, our dreams to the Lord is not radical Christianity. It’s the most basic Christianity there is.

The very reason that we would see a submitted life to God’s word as a radical discipleship demonstrates how far from basic Christianity we have strayed.

So, will you join me in submitting to Christ and his Lordship? Will you join me in obeying God’s word?

God knows we won’t be perfect. But he does desire and delights in our best effort to obey him. Let’s give it our best!

We’re All Screw Ups…That’s Why Forgiveness is a Must

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).

Anne Lamott writes, “Not only is everyone screwed up, but everyone screws up.”

Yup. That pretty much sums it up.

The reason why compassion, understanding, and forgiveness is a necessity is because we’re all screw ups. Not only that, the forecast for screwing up doesn’t have an end date. Everyone of us is going to keep screwing up.

Gee.

So, God tells us, “You guys want to do this church thing? You want to do this Christianity thing? You won’t make it without forgiveness. You will need to be forgiven, and you will need to keep forgiving.”

That we will mess things up is not a matter of if mess ups happen but a matter of when. It’s bound to happen. And without forgiveness and compassion, we have no hope of community.

That’s why God makes forgiveness a non-negotiable item for Christians. And there can’t be an end to forgiveness. It is to be an everlasting well of forgiveness. Jesus tells us, “Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them'” (Luke 17:4).

We’re all screw ups and that’s why we all need forgiveness.