The View From Here

Sin, What Is It?

My 7-year-old said, “It is something that you do wrong… disobeying God.” 

How would you answer? Is sin just an act of wrong doing? Where does it come from? Why do I need to know this?

Looking at what the Bible says about sin is worth the time and it helps in several ways.  It is convicting, strengthens faith, clarifies some gray-areas, and refreshes our view of the cross and the importance of an empty tomb. 

Sin is Separation from God.

Sin is not just an act of wrong doing, but a state of alienation from God.  You feel the reality of this when you come before a holy God.  David felt this when  Nathan confronted his hidden sin of adultery and murder.  You can see what this sin did to David when you read Psalm 51.  David wanted his sin removed.  “For I know my transgressions, And my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned And done what is evil in Your sight…” (v.3-4).  Of course David sinned against others, but He realizes that all sin is against God.  Your relationship with God does not depend on others forgiving you, it only depends on the forgiveness God gives. Separation from God is a life and death matter.  Sin must be dealt with. 

Sin is a Fatal Sickness

Sinful action is the outward sign of an inward reality.  "The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” (Jer 17:9 NAU)  “…there is one fate for all men. Furthermore, the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil and insanity is in their hearts throughout their lives. Afterward they go to the dead” (Ecc. 9:3). 

This heart condition is the source of all the evil that you think, say and do.  You don’t catch this sickness, you are born with it. David again says, “I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me” (Psa 51:5 NAU).  He isn’t commenting on his mom’s sin, but on the origins of his own sin-sickness. 

All of us are born selfish, sinners, separated from God by the sickness of sin—spiritually dead.  We are born in need of a cure.

Sin is War Against God

In wartime, aiding the enemy in any fashion is treason.  There is no such thing as a “white lie.”  The smallest lie, taking a pencil that isn’t yours or cutting corners is as offensive to God any other sin.  God does not “turn a blind eye” to anything you do.

“Once you were alienated and hostile in your minds because of your evil actions (Col. 1:21 CSB). But, “while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by His life!“ (Rom 5:10).

Sin is what Jesus Became

Jesus interrupts your open rebellion against God by stepping in to mediate.  Jesus didn’t come for a “peace summit,” but for a bloodbath.  Jesus took your place on the battle field against God.  You would die on that battlefield, but Jesus, who had no sin of his own, became sin on your behalf.  He died your death, on the battle field of your rebellion.

In this moment, Jesus took on your fatal heart-sickness. “He Himself bore our sicknesses, and He carried our pains” (Isa 53:1 CSB). And it was on the cross that Jesus took the ultimate penalty for your sin: separation from God.  The pain of it crushed Jesus as he cried from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me (Mark 15:34).

As Good Friday nears, take time to reflect on what Jesus became for you.  He became sin.  This means he became God’s enemy for you, bore the sickness of sin for you and was separated from God for you.  Jesus rose from the grave, leaving you sin behind.  In Jesus we have healing, reconciliation and relationship with God.  The Jesus who now lives wants to be an active part of your life.

Posted by Joshua Holland with
in Faith

How Do I Trust God?

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It is easy to tell someone in a tough situation to "trust God."  But how can I keep these words from becoming a trite pat on the back? Can you describe what that looks like?  Can you tell someone "how" to trust God in a given situation?    Let's take a moment and explore what God says trusting Him looks like, and what He says will happen if you trust Him.  Allowing God to tell you what "trusting in Him" looks like will both encourage and challenge you.  

 Famous verses for trusting God include Proverbs 3:5-6:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. (Pro 3:5-6 NAU)

 But, if you are an obtuse brick like me, you might need some more specifics.  So take a moment to read all of Proverbs three.                      

 In Proverbs 3, there are several “do not…” statements.  In the struggle to trust, I need guideposts and guardrails.  Guideposts point me in the right direction.  Guardrails keep me from wandering off the path.  By looking at these “do not…” statements, these guardrails, we will see what walking in the path of trusting in God looks like and they will become guideposts to follow.

1.) Don’t forget God’s teaching (Prov. 3:1, 21).

 Read your Bible.  We forget God because we don’t read the Bible.  The Bible is what God chose to communicate his truth to you.  “It is the flashlight by which you can explore any field.”  It is God’s yard stick.  Faith fails because we forget God and forget who we are.  Faith fails when you live by your own ideas instead of by God’s. Trusting God can be difficult when we are at a loss, confused or uncertain.  The Bible is full of God’s knowledge for your life.  Keep reading it, and you will have what you need for those difficult times—they won’t seem so difficult when you know what to do and whom to trust.

 2.) Don’t let love and truth leave you (Prov. 3:3).

Trusting God requires being faithful but not forceful.  The word “love” used in this verse is the same word God uses to describe his love for you.  It is loyal, and does not give up.  At the same time, it is kind and compassionate.  Trusting God with people can be difficult.  Sometimes the truth must be spoken, but it can be rendered useless without kindness and love. 

 3.) Don’t depend on you (Prov. 3:5, 7).

 Faith fails because I think I can handle it.  Faith in self is the beginning of many troubles.  There is only one God, and turning to him in EVERY situation is vital.  God is in the business of making crooked paths straight.  Verse six says to “know” him in all your ways.  One translation says “think” about him in all your ways, while another says “submit”.  Peter did not walk on water because he focused on himself.  The storm did not refine him or give him power.  It distracted him.  Only Jesus saves and empowers. 

 4.) Don’t reject God’s discipline and training (v.11).

Trusting God involves a new way of seeing every event in life. We understand that nothing is out of God’s control.  We also understand that a loving parent trains his or her kids.  It is the same with God.  You understand that every difficulty is used by God for your good.  God might be growing your faith, training your ability, or he may be confronting a sin in your life. 

 5.) Don’t fear when bad things suddenly happen (v.25).

Trusting in God, learning from the Bible, and understanding that God is in control for your good, teaches us not to be surprised when bad things happen.  You are able to explain why evil exists in the world, that it is the result of sin and rebellion.  When evil does happen, your knowledge and understanding of God become a foundation that keeps you from being shaken. You understand why the Bible calls God your Rock, your Strong Tower, your Refuge and Shelter.

6.) Don’t withhold good from whom it is due, when you are able (Prov. 3:27-28).

Trusting God might involve giving what you have to others.  It might involve doing something for others.  God doesn’t ask the impossible, but that you believe he can do the impossible.  Difficult times tempt us to hold onto what we have a little tighter, but God challenges our grip on this world.  Eyes of faith see possessions and abilities as being God’s.  He gives to you so you might give to others.  We trust in God, not in stuff or in our abilities.  Are you willing to give?

7.) Don’t be envious of others (Prov. 3:29-30, 31).

Seek to be content with what God has given you.  When you find yourself looking at your neighbor’s stuff or situation in life, you may be tempted to feel sorry for yourself.  The next temptation will be to chase after stuff God has not given you.  Your heart may be filled with jealous resentment against your neighbor.  It only gets worse.  Trusting in God in hard times requires being on guard against envy.  Take some time to remember what God has done for you, and then thank Him for it.  It is so easy to forget!

We need guardrails and guardposts in this walk of faith.  When you are told to “trust God” in any given situation, remember that it is not just a trite statement.  It is your life.  And when you have the opportunity to encourage someone else to “trust God,” communicate this truth in a loving way.  Spend some time and listen, and then gently point him or her to the One who loves us so much, at all times, and in all circumstances.

Posted by Joshua Holland with

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