[Feb 16]--Consequences

Isaiah 59:1-14

            I don’t know who it was who first presented this concept to me, but I certainly can’t claim credit: One of the surest marks of a more mature Christian versus a less mature Christian is how seriously they view sin. What’s their reaction to the ongoing sin in their own life? Do they laugh it off? Do they flirt with it like an ex-girlfriend with whom they might want to get back together someday? Or do they treat it like a mortal enemy? I’m a comic book geek, but I recognize that most people aren’t, so I won’t use examples like Superman and Lex Luthor, or Batman and the Joker.
            How’s about this one—The hardcore Israelis and the hardcore Palestinians. Think about what those two groups think of one another. Do they trade any love notes with each other? Dear reader, those guys are BFF’s with each other compared to how we’re to regard sin.
            Why? Why is this so important? Isaiah (with the Spirit directing him) gives us several reasons.
·         First and foremost, it separates us from God. If you’re not a believer in Christ, then this final separation from the Lord will be in a place called Hell. If you are a believer, then you need to know that sin will keep you from experiencing joy, peace, a sense of purpose in Christ, assurance of salvation, and a host of other wonderful benefits of being a child of God.
·         Second, sin tends to spread. I always wonder whenever I hear doctors talk about a “malignant” tumor. Is there a “benevolent” kind? I know, I know. There are good reasons they have for using that terminology.
But sin, like cancer, doesn’t keep to itself. It starts off with a separation from God, then that effect will work itself out into things like your tongue. For example, have you ever spoken a lie or a malicious rumor and think to yourself “Where did that come from?” Well, Jesus said that “the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” If there’s sin that’s not dealt with in a decisive way, then that will spread to other areas of your life.
·         Third, the spreading doesn’t stop with individuals. It never ceases to amaze me when people lament about the state of society. Certainly there’s injustice in this world. There’s racism, legal injustice, crime and other horrible things which people do to one another. But they’re just symptoms of a much greater and deadlier disease. People are separated from God, and this state will work itself out into public injustice. If people aren’t right with the Lord, then of course eventually that will be demonstrated publically.
·         And finally it ends in darkness. People stumble around and trip over things and hurt themselves and others because they can’t see what’s right in front of them. And that darkness—if the sin issue is not solved—will become eternal. As in never ending. Ever.

But thank God, the message of the Bible doesn’t end on this sour note. The One who created us and who revealed himself to Abraham didn’t leave us in this sorry state. We could never do anything about this, but he did. And that’s what we’ll talk about tomorrow.

Lord Jesus, you could have left us in this mess. We deserve it, and we put ourselves here in the first place. But you didn’t. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

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