How God Views Sin

God views sin as a sickness and illness that needs a cure, not as a crime that needs to be punished.

Many of us have a wrong and twisted view of God, for we view him as a wrathful God who wants to punish sinners.

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Imagine a hospital room where a small child is dying of an illness sitting with her dad. What parent on planet earth would ever look at his own child dying of an illness and declare, “Shame on you!”

No parent would ever do that.

And this is exactly how some view God. This misunderstanding is a gross perversion of who God is. This is the devil at work to twist the love and character of God.

It is true that God hates sin. God hates sin because it’s killing his children. So God sent his Son to die for our sins, so that whoever should believe in him will not perish but have ever lasting life.

Sin is a disease and illness that needs a cure. That’s the gospel. That’s good news!

So, listen. Listen real good. God loves you!

You Can’t Do Anything!

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You can’t do anything.

I mean it. You can’t do anything.

I am sure you are quite competent in certain things. You might even be an “expert” in a particular field. Some of you are quite talented in the arts, fixing computers, arguing court cases, plumbing, teaching, etc.

One of the strangest stories in the Bible is Numbers 21:8-9:
The LORD said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.

The Israelites were wandering the desert. They still had decades to go before they would enter the promised land. Going around and round the desert. I get it. It would be pretty depressing. So, what do people do when they are stuck? They complain. And, the Israelites were really good at complaining! People are really good at complaining. You and I would have complained too.

“Why did God bring us out to the desert to just have us marching around in circles. There’s no water in the desert. There is no food in the desert. Oh those onions! I, so miss those sweet onions of Egypt!” (I added the onions part. I don’t even like onions. Who would ever miss onions?!?!)

God punished the Israelites by sending poisonous snakes. People were dying.

When they repented, God told Moses to make the Bronze Snake and put it on a Pole.

Snakes are always bad in the Bible. It was the serpent who messed everything up in the Garden of Eden. Why a snake? I don’t know.

But the thing that is really astonishing is that the only requirement to be saved from death was one thing: Look at the bronze snake.

  • Ouch! I’ve been bitten! I’m dying – No you’re not! Look at the snake

Check out the people who were saved that day – good people, bad people, sexually impure people, sexually pure people, old, young, smart, not so smart. There could have been rapists and murders. The only requirement to be saved was to look at the snake.

Being saved had nothing to do with people. It had everything to do with believing in God’s remedy for death – looking at the snake.

You can’t do anything.

Salvation was totally dependent on the promise of God that those who looked upon the serpent would be saved.

Now, check this out:
Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:14-16).

You can’t do anything. You can’t do anything to be saved. It’s all grace. It’s all God. The only thing you need to do is to believe in God’s promise and look at crucified one.

Look at the crucified one. His name is Jesus.

Believe in Jesus and be saved.

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Someone Has to Break the Cycle of Retaliation – Reflection on MLK Jr

Screen Shot 2017-01-13 at 2.42.50 PM.pngSomeone has to break the cycle of retaliation…

Let that sink in. Read it again.

Someone has to break the cycle of retaliation.

A week doesn’t go by without stories of hatred, bigotry, violence, rape, atrocities committed against humanity. Stories bombard us from abroad and from our own communities.

One way to respond is to build bigger and better walls. Let’s protect what we can. Better alarm systems. Better lighting. More surveillance. Bigger walls. More guns. Keep the evil out.

That’s one way to respond.

And violence and atrocities continue to march on. Nothing changes.

Someone has to break the cycle of retaliation.

The cross of Jesus Christ is the ultimate breaking of the cycle of vengeance and retaliation. The cross is God saying, “I’ll take it all. Bring it! Bring the hatred. Bring the violence. Bring the evil. Bring the violence. Bring the frustration. Bring the pain. Bring it! I’ll take it all!”

On Good Friday, Jesus bore the brunt of sin and evil. Jesus bore it all.

And by rising from the grave on resurrection Sunday, Jesus crushed hatred, violence, frustration, pain, and evil.

What our world needs is not better ways to keep people out and apart. What we need, and what our world needs is a people called and a people who will answer the call the break the cycle of evil and retaliation with the hope and love of God in Jesus Christ.

May we be such people. May this be the generation that turns the cycle of violence and retaliation.