Guilty of Sin

“If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin.  But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father.  But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law:  ‘They hated me without reason.’ ”  John 15:24, 25.

I wonder sometimes how Jesus would fare in today’s society as a miracle working, prophetic Messiah.  You know there would be those who would immediately call Him a charlatan, while others would try to figure out how He performed the miracles, using equipment and going all scientific.  From what I know of the NT I don’t think our Master would submit to any of it—at least not as a guinea pig or lab rat.  I think He’d be amused by the artificial tests and philosophical analysis of His mission.

On the other hand, some fanatical sect would probably assassinate Him to silence His voice…Oh, wait, they already did that, sorry.

It’s revealing when Jesus refers to the Psalms as “their law” how little we really understand how the OT was viewed by the Jews. We have so many fickle opinions shouting down legalism or liberalism that we get overwhelmed by the tumult. So the OT is many times relegated to a backdrop at best for the NT church in modern times, at least, whereas for the early church, before the NT was written, it was the only Scriptures in existence.  But what I wanted to point out in this text is the fact that Jesus referred to the Psalms as part of the Law, which most of us wouldn’t expect.  For the NT church the first five books of Moses make up the extent of the Law and the rest is either history, prophecy or instruction.

Jesus quoted Psalm 35:19; 64:4 loosely but accurately enough for the disciples to know what His reference happened to be.  The Jews did hate Jesus without reason and set out to ambush Him by using one of His disciples.

The same people remained guilty of their sin precisely because they saw the miracles, heard and, for the most part, understood the teachings and experienced the unquestionable power of Jesus.  They ran out of excuses the moment they began plotting His death after Lazarus’ resurrection—doubly guilty of murderous intentions when they decided to kill Lazarus as well.  There’s no way around it for they set out to silence and squash the blinding truth in a dead man raised to life—irrefutable evidence of the power and claims of Christ.

We can learn something from their mistake, I believe, that’s invaluable.

Truth is truth no matter what the source.  This is an important understanding and humbling or humiliating experience (depending on one’s pride) when we encounter obnoxious people wielding facts like a bludgeon.  Still, denying what is truth puts us squarely in the Jews camp in their reaction to Jesus.  Sometimes We to lay the obnoxious out in the dust or seek to mollify their effect, sure, but in doing so we should be merciful, gracious and forgiving where it’s possible to extend such.  The history of the church based on Jesus is replete with outbreaks of violence and sheer nonsense where people struggle over who gets control.  It’s pretty sad since the gospel turns into a means of beating someone else up rather than salvation.

The problem facing most leaders is how to handle the voices of truth rather than truth itself.  God used some pretty bizarre methods to get people’s attention in Bible times so we need to tread carefully when facing someone we just want to call a freak, a fanatic or even a  zealot.  Sometimes God uses the weirdos simply because no person with any amount of commonsense would take on such an enterprise.  But leadership should show themselves wise by actually meeting with the man or woman, assessing their content and allowing the body of Christ to be in on the discussions.  Leadership should view themselves as referees in these situations where we guide people back to the main point and keep the discussion on track with Biblical fact rather than merely resisting or mollifying the voice of public conscience.

If we were willing to challenge our own understanding and methods constantly through the Word, we wouldn’t need those wacko voices to shake us out.

The unfortunate side effect of these bizarre and often times misguided voices is that they gather a following and the church splits.  To be sure, it’s an unavoidable side effect of the problem.  In any altercation where twisted minds run with light and darkness in both hands we’re going to find collateral damage.  Jesus warned if try to pull of up the weeds before the harvest (the Day of judgment), we will lose good wheat.  Yet there are multiple illustrations in Acts and other NT books where this had to happen to save the church as a whole.  We cannot tolerate unsound doctrine but there is a way of confronting it that is the most effective for those in the church who simply want truth.

The best way is to acknowledge the truth and expose the lie; which might sound simple but has to be handled with careful, gracious and firm hands.  If something doesn’t match up with Scripture, it has to be exposed, yet the attitude with which we approach the messenger will determine the fallout.  No matter how we handle it, however, fallout will occur.

Revelation 21:27; 22:15 both declare there will be those who love lies and plenty of liars to supply them.  Yet Nothing impure will ever enter it (the New Jerusalem), nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. And “Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.”

Tough words, I know, and it convicts me because I lie to myself on occasion so I don’t have to face my own pride or sin.  So do you.  John’s words shouldn’t cause despair, however, for his point isn’t that sinless people will enter the City but those who have washed their robes white in the blood of the Lamb.  There is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved and no other gate into eternal life by which to enter. In another letter to the church John declared  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  If claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.  1 John 1:9, 10.  So we see it is not our sin which keeps us out of eternal dwellings but our refusal to acknowledge it and turn to Him in submission.  By our act of turning to Jesus we automatically show repentance, which means we have turned our eyes from our sin to our Savior.

I confess freely I am a sinner saved by grace.  I wash my life daily in the blood of the Lamb.  I am sexually immoral at times, have lied to myself and others, been resentful, bitter, angry to the point of rage, faithless, fault-finding and gluttonous.  In all these things I have acknowledged both my sin and inability to conquer my own nature without the presence the Holy Spirit to renew my mind.  I confess freely, also, that my way of thinking about sin is changing constantly to resemble my Master.  I will not live in a lie by the grace of God.  I will not depend on anything but the blood of Jesus for either my salvation or life here on earth.  And though He slay me, I will still serve Him.

Refusing to acknowledge Christ as Lord, especially after ample evidence, puts the guilt of our sin square on our won shoulders.  By declaring Jesus our Lord our guilt is washed away and He bears the guilt for us.

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4 Responses to “Guilty of Sin”

  1. tlc4women Says:

    So as we see the day approaching do you notice that there seems to be two camps who are entrenching themselves deeply in their beliefs?

    One camp seems to, in my opinion, deceive themselves into thinking God’s grace will overshadow their continued sin.

    And those who have suffered greatly due to their sin and its effects on themselves and others, know what it means to really be forgiven and even though they fail daily they fall on their face before God?

    For me, I keep hearing messages that overflow with the grace of God and his mercy. While that’s true, there is also a point at which that mercy and grace ends and we stand before the King with our name written in the book or blotted out. Only I don’t much hear about that and it concerns me, not only for the sinner but the teacher as well.

  2. jonnysoundsketch2 Says:

    I so agree. It’s what Bonhoffer called “Cheap Grace” where the sin and the sinner are excused and forgiven but not asked to change.

    I am still struggling to hate lust, but I don’t deny it’s sin nor do I think I’m clear to go ahead doing it. This is the truth about sin: it’s a trap. Talk about addiction all they want but sin is invasive, addictive and mainly what we want when we want it without anyone able to set boundaries for us.

    That’s why the message of the gospel is so appropriate because it calls us sinners in need of forgiveness and change.

  3. tlc4women Says:

    Change being the operative word.

  4. jonnysoundsketch2 Says:

    Absolutely!

    I see so many trying to explain their sin away by making it an addiction or genetic trait, or whatever. I don’t care how many times a person falls in their attempts to look like Jesus, as long as they know their sin doesn’t.

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