Tuesday, November 11, 2014

I Hate Talking About Sin! But . . .

Genesis 3:4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die; 5 for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate.

Humans have not changed since the beginning.  In the very first book of the Bible there is the very first story of the very first humans committing the very first sin.  And it is one that modern humans are still so unable to grasp.

I don't like to talk about sin much, but the pesky thing about the subject is that it is in the Bible quite a lot.  So as a follower of Jesus and as one who loves the Scriptures, I suppose I should address it on occasion.

God has put parameters on human behavior for our own good, so that our relationship with God and the quality of our life on earth remains as God designed.  But we have other plans. 

The description of the tree of knowledge of good and evil is fascinating when you think about how we justify our most cherished sins today. 

The tree of knowledge was created by God. It was good.  It was in the Garden.  Its fruit was created so that the taste was something humans would desire, bringing great pleasure to their taste buds.  It was attractive and would allow them to know things they did not know.

How could something so wonderful, so well suited for human consumption, bringing  so much physical and intellectual enjoyment to the humans be death to their souls?  Surely that’s not what God ‘s words meant.  If it is good, and if God created it, and if it is so well suited for us physically and emotionally and intellectually, surely it is a gift from God – a spiritual blessing.  It is heaven sent.

Except that it’s not.

Misplaced and mismanaged human desire lies to us in the same ways today that it lied to the first humans in the beginning through the serpent.   “That supposed ‘word from God’ is a not really true.  This thing that you desire – that looks so good and tastes so good and holds so much promise – surely will not lead to any harmful consequences at all.  In fact it is a good thing.” 

From the very first story of the very first human beings, the Bible has perfectly understood human nature.  Too bad so many of us in the church still do not.  We still want what we want, and demand or insist that God blesses it, and then react with shock when we are called on it.  At least the first humans were somewhat contrite.  We have long since outgrown that.

Are we really that obtuse?  Yes we are.  But thanks be to God through our Lord, Jesus Christ, we do not have to be.

The one good thing about dealing with sin is this: every time there is a word of condemnation or judgement in the Scriptures, there is also a word of grace in close proximity that accompanies it.  For Adam and Eve it was God making clothing for them from animal skins which would have required that God shed the blood of those animals.  God shedding blood to cover the sins of the first humans.  A little foreshadowing there maybe?

May you have the courage to call out the lies that would do harm and rob us of life.  May you be wise and discerning enough to lean on grace rather than appetite and misplaced or mismanaged desire.  And may you discover the abundantly good life God has for you as you trust and follow both the commands of Scripture and the Holy Spirit to which they bear witness.  

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