Tag Archives: the wages of sin

When Bad Things Happen (Jonah)

Most of us have had bad news told us, or have gone through really hard times and have asked, “Why me?” If you’ve been with me very long you know I believe the correct question to ask is, “Why NOT me?”

But here we have  a boatload of men facing death at sea for no real fault of their own. Jonah was disobeying God. Jonah was receiving God’s hand of punishment. The sailors were merely caught in the middle. They were caught in the same storm Jonah was facing as a direct result of his sin.

So let me ask you: Are there people caught in the crosshairs of God’s judgment on you because there is sin you haven’t dealt with in your own life? Is your family facing difficulty because you are running from God?

When Jonah’s sin was dealt with, God calmed the sea. The sailors were saved, both physically and spiritually. Read the book of Jonah today. It is an amazing account of God’s grace.

I wonder, on a larger scale, if our nation is facing God’s punishment on Christians who are not dealing with sin in our own lives. Is the USA going through this awful unrest because the Church is trying to exist with Satan instead of fighting him?

I think the book of Jonah tells us when bad things happen, we need to first look at whether they are God’s punishment on us for tolerating sin in our lives. Then if God points out the sin we need to confess it, repent of it, ask God to wash it away and then live in obedience. If we don’t, that stormy sea will not calm. And we just might go down with the ship.

December 17; The List

I Timothy 3-6

What is sin? Or is there such a thing? Is calling something “sin” being judgmental? Is something a sin only if it hurts someone else? Are there degrees of sin?

Well, first of all sin is anything that deviates from God’s holiness. A thought, an action, a word that isn’t absolutely holy is a sin. That’s not my definition. It’s what God has told us in His Word. And every one of us have sinned.

Sin has nothing to do with whether or not your feelings get hurt, or if you are directly effected by the wrong actions of another. But it has everything to do whether or not you’ve offended God. The Bible is clear – any time we deviate from God’s holiness, He is hurt. It grieves Him to the core.

Is it judgmental if I tell you that?

If I tell a liar his lies are a sin, am I being judgmental? If I tell an adulterer her affair is a sin, am I setting myself up as her judge?

Paul says this: “The sins of some men are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them…” (5:24)

If some sins are obvious, there must be a list somewhere that defines sin. And you would be right to think that. God has inspired men to list obvious sins repeatedly throughout the Old and New Testaments. For instance, I Corinthians 6:9-11. In fact, Paul not only gives us the list, he offers a solution. I hope you’ll read those verses today.

I would rather take the chance of hurting your feelings by pointing out a sin, than having you spend eternity separated from God. If your sin is reaching judgment ahead of you, I’d like to stop you in your tracks, and share with you how you can be transformed. You don’t have to follow your sins to hell.

Changing the definition of sin doesn’t change the reality of the sin. Calling homosexuality normal doesn’t take homosexuality off the list. Justifying an adulterous relationship by saying you can’t help who you love doesn’t take adultery off the list. Believing that spreading gossip under the guise of “you have the right to know” doesn’t take gossip or slander off the list.

And calling sin “sin” is not being judgmental. It’s reporting the obvious.

But, Paul has some good news for us sinners. He tells us, after listing some pretty obvious actions that deviate from God’s holiness, in other words “sins,” that some who have sinned have been washed, sanctified, justified in the name of Jesus!

I hope that is true for you. But if it isn’t, if you haven’t faced your sin and allowed Jesus to do His thing in your life, I pray you will do that today. Sin is sin. The wages of sin is an eternal death separated from God, more horrible than any of us can imagine.

I’m not judging you. Sin has judged you. The list is pretty self explanatory.

But there is forgiveness through Jesus! I’m praying for all of us today.

 

October 5; He’s Not Laughing

Mark 3:1-19; Matthew 12:9-14, 3:7-19, 4:23-50; Luke 6:6-16

He (Jesus) looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts…”

What is God’s take on stubbornness, disobedience, rebellion? It makes Him mad.

I think sometimes we picture God like a dad who tells his child, “No,” then giggles when the child does it anyway. We might hear the dad say something like: “I was the same way when I was a kid.” Or “The nut doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

When I read God’s Word, I am aware that God never giggles at sin. He was never like us as a kid. And we nuts have fallen so far from the tree it isn’t funny.

All of us need to understand that our sin – in thought, word, or deed – angers and deeply distresses our Heavenly Father. The price for each one of our sins is death, separated from God forever.

Just the idea of us being separated from Him angers God. We need to understand that when we sin, He’s not laughing.

August 20; Sin’s Debt

Jeremiah 52; Psalms 74, 79, 85

Today’s Scriptures continue with the Babylonian captivity, and the destruction of Solomon’s Temple. God’s disobedient children were being punished. The psalmists asked God for mercy because the hand of God was heavy on them.

God will always punish disobedience. There has never been a time, nor will there be a time, when God gives His creation a free pass. Every disobedient thought or action, every sin committed comes with a death sentence. Every sin.

I think sometimes people think that when a person becomes a Christian, God cancels our sin debt, somehow erases the ledger so we stand before Him guilt-less, just as if we’d never sinned. But I don’t think that’s the case.

When I look at the cross I know my sin debt wasn’t just canceled. It was paid for by the Savior who painfully shed His blood, and died to pay the price my sins deserve.

I love Psalm 85. God forgave us and covered our sins, but He did it with Jesus’ blood. He set aside His anger toward us and directed it to His Son instead. His unfailing love granted salvation – but it cost Him a great deal.

His peace is ours, but not because we are sinless. It’s ours because we are forgiven. The sin I committed yesterday doesn’t just disappear when I ask God to forgive it. It’s a sin that nailed Jesus to the cross.

If I can tell myself God simply erases my sins when I ask for forgiveness, I don’t feel quite as bad about sinning. I mean, I use erasers all the time. No big deal.

But if I remember that sin cost Jesus great physical suffering and death, that lie or that jealousy or that dirty thought takes on a different meaning. It becomes a very big deal. It makes me ashamed to have contributed to Jesus’ suffering, and I don’t want to be a part of it any more.

Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other. Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven. (Ps 85:10-11)

Show us your unfailing love, O Lord, and grant us your salvation. (verse 7)

But may we never forget what that salvation cost Jesus, may we never take for granted that our sin debt was paid for us on the cruel cross of Calvary by Someone who wasn’t guilty.

I pray you know Him and have accepted what Jesus died to give you. He took the punishment you deserve for every sin you’ve ever committed. You sin debt is paid in full. Please accept it.

 

June 21; That’s Harsh

2 Kings 9:1-11:3; 2 Chronicles 22:7-12

Jehu obeyed God, as hard as it might have been. Every person in Ahab’s family from the oldest to the youngest was executed. All the priests of Baal were also killed. These were enemies of God, and they had to be eliminated. Sin had to be removed at all cost.

It’s tempting to think God through Jehu is too harsh, the penalty for being related to Ahab too severe. But that’s because we don’t understand how much God hates sin, no matter how small or how innocent we think the sin may be.

God abhors sin. God cannot exist where sin is; not in a nation, or a heart. Until we see sin through God’s eyes we will allow God’s enemy to live.

I’m certainly not talking about killing people. Jesus died so sin can be eliminated through His own blood, so no one ever has to die for sin ever again. But in order to receive the forgiveness Jesus bought there on the cross, we have to make that choice and accept it.

We have to put sin to death in our own lives, sever relationships if necessary, turn off the TV and computers, put down that glass or that bag of chips, forgive…

Hear God say to us that He is deathly serious about sin in all shapes and sizes. Hear Him say He will not tolerate your sin or mine. Hear Him as He shows us in His Word how He views sin, and how He deals with sin. His own Son died, took the penalty for every sin we’ve ever committed. God is that serious about sin.

It is harsh. You might think it’s too harsh. But you aren’t God. And the truth of the matter is, that harsh penalty was paid by Jesus on your behalf. I pray you accept it, embrace Him, and look at sin through His eyes.

January 20; Disgusting and Dirty

Genesis 19-21; 25:12-18; I Chronicles 1:28-31

This was tough reading today. The blatant sin in Sodom and Gomorrah, Lots’ willingness to allow his own daughters to be abused by sexual deviants, the strong hold sin had over Lot’s wife that led to her death, God’s fierce judgment on the inhabitants of the two cities, and the unimaginable sin of daughters seducing their father. It’s disgusting and dirty.

And familiar.

I am reminded that I should be appalled at the things I read in these verses in Genesis. I need to be appalled at what I see on TV and FB, read in the news, see in the lives of my family and friends. I need to be appalled at sin in my own life.

I need to see sin like God sees it: disgusting and dirty, and deserving damnation. I need to recognize sin, repent of it, resist it, flee from it at all cost. Because, even, if society has softened toward sin, God has not.

God, give me Your eyes to see sin like you see it. May I stop rationalizing it, ignoring it, and participating in it. I repent, Lord. Forgive me. I don’t want to be disgusting or dirty in Your sight. Make me clean through the blood of Your Son. And give me the desire and the strength to encourage others to do the same.

Jeremiah 30-31; Freedom

The United States of America is celebrating our independence today. A relatively young nation compared to others in the world, we have had our share of successes and failures. We’ve done some things really well. We’ve also made some major mistakes. But this nation, founded as a nation under God, is still the greatest nation in the world. Our freedom, bought at great sacrifice, is nothing to take for granted.

Jeremiah speaks of another freedom not to be taken for granted. As he was writing about Israel’s enemy, the fact that Israel’s allies had forgotten them, and the realization that their enemy had delivered an incurable wound, I am reminded the same is true for us.

Satan has declared war on our souls, and would inflict injury beyond healing (30:12). In fact, left to our own devices, that wound is fatal. (the wages of sin is death, Romans 6:23) But God, through Jesus, has set us free from the bondage of sin and death!

Jeremiah goes on to tell Israel how God will rescue them, and in doing so tells us the spiritual victory we have over Satan. If you have a few minutes, look up these verses which reinforce the freedom we have in Christ Jesus:

John 8:36; Galatians 5:1; 2 Corinthians 3:17; John 8:32; Romans 8:2; Romans 6:16; Romans 6:6-7.

Don’t these verses thrill your soul and cause you to want to celebrate your freedom in Christ with fireworks? Remember, the freedom we enjoy in the USA was anything but free. Countless man and women have shed their precious blood so that we can enjoy life in the US as free citizens. And remember, the freedom from the power of sin was bought with the precious blood of Jesus, once and for all.

It would be silly to live in the US and reject the freedom that being a citizen affords us. It’s tragic to live in the world and reject the freedom that accepting Jesus’ work on the cross affords all who believe.

Happy Fourth of July. God bless America. God bless you!

 

Esther; An Edict Not Revoked

Whenever I read this book I wonder, when I get to the part where the king who condemned all Jews to death, why he doesn’t just rescind his order and let them live once he discovers the truth. Why doesn’t he send out an updated edict and let the Jews off the hook? Instead, he gives the Jews a way to survive the death sentence.

Today Warren Wiresbe (With the Word Bible Handbook) put a light on the subject that helps me see things a bit more clearly. If you have read other posts of mine you know my strong conviction that all Scripture is given us by our loving Heavenly Father for the expressed purpose of revealing Himself to us. So what can a book that doesn’t even mention His Name teach us about God?

His Sovereignty. His dealing with prideful people. The fact He blesses obedience. And this:

JESUS!

Dr. Wiresbe reminded me God, from the time of Adam and Eve, has proclaimed an edict: Sin requires a death penalty. ALL sin, every sin comes with a deadly price tag whether we think that’s fair or not. And God is not going to revoke that edict.

Every impure thought, every vulgar word, every unkind action, all disobedience condemns you. You’re not going to talk God out of it, either.

Just like the Jews in Esther’s day were condemned to die, we are condemned to an eternity of death, separated from God.  But God provided a way for us to survive. He didn’t revoke the edict – He FULFILLED it! Jesus died so we don’t have to. That was our death sentence Jesus took on Himself.

Now here’s the other thing: The king didn’t write the new edict allowing the Jews to be saved, then lock the paper up in a vault. He sent couriers out into the land to tell the good news to everyone!

We need to be doing that, too. Your neighbor, your brother-in-law, your co-worker might need to know that they have a death sentence hanging over their heads, and that salvation is their’s for the asking! Jesus paid what they cannot pay. And they can have eternal life through the precious blood of their Savior.

Our Holy God cannot rescind the edict. Sin=Death. But Praise God that He Himself provided a way of salvation from the penalty of death my sin requires. I live because Jesus died. Praise God.

He did the same for you!

Judges 9; What Will People Say?

Abimelech was not a nice guy. Not only did he weasel his way into become king, he hired some low-lifes to be his muscle. I guess he gave them an offer they couldn’t refuse.

Then to top it off, he killed his seventy brothers, one at a time, gruesomely, and very publicly. You didn’t mess with Abimelech. Violence accompanied his “reign.” They were into idol worship, leaving God entirely out of their lives.

Now here’s what spoke to me today: When Abimelech was dying, his only thought was, “What will people say about me?” The most important thing to him as he entered eternity was that no one could say he’d been killed by a girl. No regret for an evil life. No repentance. Just what will people say?

Sometimes I think we give too much thought about what people think about us. We have to be politically correct, we want to blend in, we don’t point out sin for fear someone won’t like us. And there are some who live like Abimelech, as though they have no eternal souls, as though there is no God to whom they will be accountable.

Abimelech’s story is tragic. And right this minute, he is living a horrible consequence for his choices made thousands of years ago. He now knows that living a sinful, ego driven life isn’t worth it. Oh, he believes in a Holy God right now. But it’s too late.

Friend, where are your priorities? Are they made with an eye on people, or position, or lifestyle? Or are they made with an eye on eternity?

Because in eternity it won’t matter what people are saying about you. It will only matter what God says about your relationship with Him.

Black and White

Saul meant well. He didn’t want to go into battle without going to the LORD first, but Samuel wasn’t there at the time. (I Samuel 13). What would be the harm in making the sacrifice himself? After all, he was king, wasn’t he?

Saul’s reign over Israel was blessed by God for only two years before Saul tried to go around God’s rules, rules that Saul knew and understood. After only two years, God announced that he had given the kingdom to someone else as a direct result of Saul’s disobedience.

But wasn’t Saul’s heart in the right place? It’s not like he was sacrificing to an idol. What should it matter who lit the fire on the altar? Wasn’t God a bit harsh?

Here’s what I believe God would have us understand: You’ll never hear him say, “I’ll go ahead and overlook that sin because you meant well,” or “because you were sincere,” or “because you’re a good person.” God’s law is black and white, and he’s very honest about that.

In fact, God’s black and white consideration of sin in the only fair way. His demands aren’t one thing for you and something different for me. Sin is no different today than it was fifty, or a thousand years ago. We never have to guess at what is and isn’t considered sin.

And the wages of sin is death every time. (Romans 6:23). Every sin comes with a death penalty price tag no matter who you are or how sincere you are or how nice you are. Hear God tell us that EVERY sin requires the shedding of blood. (Hebrews 9:22)

And here’s the good news: Jesus shed his own blood to pay that price tag for you. The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Don’t try to get around it. There is no other way under heaven that can save a soul. No matter how special you think you are, you need Jesus.

Jesus promises to forgive you, to give you what his blood bought for you IF you ask him. Read his Word. It’s there in black and white.

Dear Jesus, thank you for shedding your blood for the forgiveness of sin. I pray for those reading this blog today who know you as Savior. May we be convinced of your Truth. And may you give us the strength and commitment to stand for what you have inspired men to write in your Holy Word. I pray for any reading this who have not asked you to forgive them. I pray that they will realize their need, and turn to you according to your Word. Thank you for being fair, for requiring the same of all of us. And thank you for being that requirement for us all.