Posts Tagged ‘sin’

Edit: After I made this post, it came to light that Josh Duggar had not, in fact, changed his heart and gotten free from his sinful past. I am extremely disappointed in him. However, it is still no reason to be anything but sympathetic to his wife, parents, siblings, children, etc. Everything else in this post still stands, however, insofar as it applies to people and Christianity in general.

Original Post: I don’t watch 19 Kids and Counting for various reasons, but as a Christian I’m gonna put my two cents worth out there. A man did something awful when he was 14. Twelve years later, people – mainly non-Christians, but definitely some believers too – are using that as a reason to tear him and his parents down.

First of all, how many perfect fourteen-year-olds do you know? For that matter, how many perfect adults? Sure, he in particular messed up REALLY BAD, but from what I can tell his behaviour was properly dealt with and punished. No parent can entirely prevent their children from sinning, but they CAN treat the aftermath appropriately. Lots and lots of people are really, really stupid when they’re 14. Then they learn from their mistakes and they grow up! It’s life, that’s how it works!

Secondly, anyone who thinks everyone who is a Christian must have always lived a spotless life is dead wrong. I’ve had no less than two pastors who used drugs as a teenager, and turned their life around. People change, especially when they have God in their hearts. If we as believers are portraying the image that we’re absolutely spotless in our own power, then we’re doing a terrible job of sharing the Gospel. No wonder people call us hypocrites! They think our message is “to follow God, you must never have sinned”. And with that, we alienate 100% of the population.

Which brings me to my final point. Forgiveness. It’s at the very core of Christianity. We don’t have to offer lambs and bulls and turtledoves as sacrifices – payments – for our sins anymore, because Jesus’ death has covered all that. We can accept the blood of the new covenant, the promise between God and humankind, and we can be forgiven. If God can forgive Suzy-from-the-suburbs’ gossip and lies, then He can forgive Josh Duggar’s sins too, because His blood is enough for all of humanity’s sins, forever.

Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?”
“No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!” (Matthew 18:21-22)

Thanks for reading!
~Another Jesus Freak

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Justice & Mercy

Posted: March 25, 2015 in Christianity, Non-fiction
Tags: , , ,

It’s been a long time since I wrote a post on this blog. Years. But it’s only been because I haven’t had much to say. For the last few months, I’ve been using my radio show, Joyful Noise, as a public platform for the kinds of things I used to say on here. But, the topic on my mind today has too many words and not enough songs to make a good radio show.

A long time ago in a Facebook discussion, I mentioned why I’m a Christian. There’s two main reasons: I was raised to believe, and I want to believe. It occurred to me last night that I want to follow God because of two things: His justice and His mercy. They’re almost like opposites: justice is giving to each person exactly what they deserve, while mercy is being kind to someone who deserves punishment.

I love God because He is just. He knows a person’s heart, so He knows their intent, and He knows exactly what they did. There’s no he-said-she-said, subjective jury, or benefit of the doubt with God. He can choose exactly the right punishment for every crime. I love that because it means there are eternal repercussions for earthly wrongdoing. Earthly consequences are great and all, but there’s all kinds of people who do terrible things their whole lives, and because it’s technically legal they feel no remorse, and they die rich and happy. But God knows everything you’ve done and everything you will choose do, and He makes sure that in the end every villain will get their comeuppance.

Unfortunately, though, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23). Seriously, when was the last time you met a perfect person? Never, that’s when. You’ve done bad things too, and if you tell me you haven’t, you’re lying and there’s a bad thing right there! So does that mean God is going to punish you and there’s no escaping it?

Nope.

God is merciful, because we are His creation and He loves all of us. Mercy means He isn’t going to punish someone who is truly sorry. He forgives you when you ask. This is available to anyone, at any time, since Jesus died on the cross to take our punishment for us. I mean, it’s not going to take away those earthly consequences, because that’s between you and other humans. But, you don’t have to feel guilty in God’s eyes, or afraid of Him. If you say to God, “I’ve done something wrong, I wish I hadn’t, and I’m not going to do it again,” you can accept the forgiveness He offers, and your spiritual record is wiped clean.

Justice for the guilty, mercy for the repentant, and love for all humankind. That’s the God I want to serve, and that’s the God in the Bible.

Thanks for reading,
~Another Jesus Freak

P.S. See also the song Justice And Mercy by Flyleaf.

You convince them
Their lifestyle is fine
When we can both see
They’re hurting themselves.
Of course you know,
This means war.

Cheap reflections,
Facets of you,
Twisted shadows of me,
Take hold of the world.
Of course you know,
This means war.

They say to me,
“Stay out of our schools.
Our kids should be free
To go their own way.”
Of course you know,
This means war.

Then you kill them,
Rip the little ones
From mothers’ wombs.
Their infant screams haunt me.
Of course you know,
This means war.

The fight between
Your soldiers and mine
Has cost many lives.
One life is too much.
Of course you know,
This is war.

You’re thrown from your throne
To the outer dark,
With weeping, wailing,
And gnashing of teeth.
I think you know,
That was the end of war.

Thanks for reading!
~AnotherJesusFreak

I just spent a month at a program called Shad Valley (which I hope to tell you about in another post soon), and I had some… interesting… conversations with a guy named Mohammad from Saudi Arabia. As you might be able to tell from the name, he’s a Muslim. If you know me or have read any of my posts before, you probably know I’m a Christian. So of course Mo and I discussed what it is we believe. He pointed out how odd it is that God only forgives someone after their sin has been paid for by blood. It’s even weirder that, since Jesus and God are the same guy, God had to harm himself to forgive us. And you know what, when explained like that, it is really weird. But you know what, Mo? This one’s for you.

Let’s take a look at human judicial systems, shall we? First of all, while we’re on the topic, I want to answer a question that many others have posed to me: if it’s a sin for humans to judge, why is it ok for God to judge? Well, in our justice system, the public does not issue fines to each other or sentence each other to jail. That’s for an authority figure, like a judge, to do in a courtroom. So, when it come to much bigger matters like where the soul is going to end up, it’s not a job for another human, but for the supreme authority, God.

What was I talking about? Oh yeah, justice. Well,  in human justice systems, if you do something wrong, there’s some sort of punishment  or retribution that the offender has to suffer because of what they’ve done. It only makes sense, right? If there was no consequences, what’s there to stop a person from doing wrong? Now imagine that somebody was allowed to voluntarily take the punishment for a criminal. Actually, I think that’s legal in some places (not that it’s often done). The “price” of the crime, if you will, would still be paid, but the offender himself or herself would be let off scott free.

Let’s translate this into a spiritual sense. According to the Bible, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.” (Romans 6:23) So instead of a fine or jail time, the Supreme Judge says that all criminals – that is, sinners – deserve the death penalty. Harsh, I know, since “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) But, luckily, there’s that thing that allows someone else to die instead. A couple thousand years ago, before the death and resurrection of Christ, people would sacrifice animals in their place. However, since animal lives are not equal to human lives, each animal that died only covered a couple of sins, and people had to kill a lot of lambs and goats and bulls and doves and stuff.

Then, along come these religious leaders called Pharisees. They took the God’s Law, which listed what was a sin and what wasn’t, as well as the proper punishment for each, and added their own ideas to it, so that people were being oppressed to the point of not seeing what God wanted through all the Pharisees’ traditions and opinions they sold as just as important as the Law. So, the Supreme Judge decided to fulfill the Law once and for all, by sending His own Son, Jesus, to be a final sacrifice, worth enough to cover the infinite sins of humanity throughout the ages.

God could have saved Jesus from death on the cross, but in doing so would have abandoned humanity to the Law, which was becoming more corrupt all the time, and it would have become nearly impossible for a person to remain righteous in the eyes of the Law. He still did save Jesus, though. When Jesus had been dead for three days, He came back to life! The implications of the resurrection are many, and a good topic for a post on another day, perhaps. But the point is, because of His death and then victory over death, all a person has to do now is believe, repent, and  accept forgiveness, and their sins are wiped clean off the record. Repentance doesn’t just mean saying sorry (although that’s a part of it), it has more to do with actually, truly, deep down, being sorry, which only God and you can know for sure. In that way, forgiveness is free, but it doesn’t excuse sin.

See Mo? Does it make a bit more sense now?
To Mo and everyone else, thanks for reading!
~Another Jesus Freak