I recently heard of a dietary program where you get a certain amount of ‘sins’. You’re allowed a few scrumptious treats, but not too many. I’m not sure what they are - maybe a piece of luscious chocolate cake, or a certain amount of barbeque glaze baby back ribs, with the meat falling of the bone... I’m sure it was successful advertising for the diet program, because let’s face it (says the world) sin is quite nice really, just don’t have too much of it. We all like a bit of sin here and there, but everything in moderation!
God’s word tells us the heart of sin is rebellion against God. I enjoyed watching the first Avengers movie a while back. There’s a great scene where bad-guy Loki is tyrannically making lots of ordinary citizens kneel, boldly proclaiming “isn’t this your natural state!”. Cue Iron Man. AC/DC comes on, that great music of rebellion, and the bullets follow. It’s awesome. Isn’t rebellion great! Iron Man is probably right, people who ask us to kneel are evil. Because kneeling is bad, and rebellion is good, says the world.
But against everyone? What about with Jesus? Plenty of people would put him in the same box as Loki.
God’s word takes sin a tad more seriously than our surroundings. Right back at the beginning, shortly after creation, the end of Genesis 2 says original man and woman were naked, and felt no shame. I look around me and I see shame and people putting on fake masks, everywhere. What happened?! Lots of us know the story – God had commanded them not to eat the fruit off one tree, and after a bit of egging on by satan, they both went for it. It’s no wonder Jesus called him the deceiver, the father of lies – he promised them they would be like God, but actually what happened is that death was introduced into the world, and their lives. The rebellion against God ended in terrible shame, a terrible covering up, and a blame game. God takes sin very seriously. It says in Genesis 6:6 that it causes His heart to be filled with pain. I can’t imagine how it must have felt to watch those He loves so dearly, rebel against Him, and in turn cause themselves immeasurable shame, and ultimately death.
What does God do about their shame? He gives them animal skin to cover up. That would have meant a dead animal, and that same theme of sacrifice continues throughout the bible until God finally says “it is finished”. He said that on the cross, the ultimate sacrifice. Paul’s letter to the Romans says that the wages of sin are death, Jesus knows that better than anyone. He takes our relationship with Him, and our sinful state so seriously, that He gave His life for it. And He rose again to become supreme King of everything, Paul says in Philippians that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
I’ve spent hours of my life messing about tinkling with my motorbike, trying to fix it. It has hammered something unto my head- unless we know the extent of the problem, we can’t properly work out the extent of the cure. Sin is not something to be messed about with, it is a great problem, but because of that, we know how much greater our Saviour Jesus is.
Sin, the rebellion against God, is not just a nice thing that we should enjoy every now and again, it’s something that Jesus died to defeat. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying rebellion is always bad- some of the greatest heroes of the Bible were praised for rebelling, but against the world’s attempts to be like God. Only God is God, only He is worthy of us dropping to our knees. Let’s rebel against the world, and take sin seriously- not to drown in our sorrows but to realise how great our Saviour is. Let’s realise how much a repentant life, lived for Him, is a life lived to the full.