Tag Archives: Sin

R.P.G.

Some of my favorite video games I’ve ever played were RPG’s, or “role playing games.” The reason I liked them so much is because you could play any type of character you wanted. You could be a dashing hero always there to save the day, a villainous raider taking whatever you want by force, or somewhere in between. Another great aspect of RPG’s is that if you didn’t like your character or a decision you had made, all you have to do is erase it and start over or load a previous save where your actions had not yet taken place. This works only in the realm of video games. When we try to apply this same logic in our real lives, we can find ourselves in a loop of regret, disappointment, frustration, guilt, and may even fall into depression. We don’t have the option of loading a previous save in the real world, or simply erasing our past mistakes. We don’t have that kind of power, but God does.

“What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT.

God has the power to change our characters. He can take us from villainous raider to dashing hero. He can hit the reset button. But how? The bible says, “…those who become Christians become new persons.” So how do we do this? How does someone become a Christian? Much like an epic main quest from one of my favorite RPG’s, a person can travel down “Romans Road.”

Romans Road is a journey through the book of Romans in the bible that lays out a path to salvation through Jesus Christ. As you travel along Romans Road you will discover who needs salvation (Romans 3:23), why we need salvation (Romans 6:23), how God provides us with salvation (Romans 5:8), how we can receive salvation (Romans 10:9), and the results of our salvation (Romans 5:1).

The amazing thing about this is the fact that once you walk Romans Road, it isn’t the end of the story but the beginning. This is when your epic tale of salvation, your trust in Christ truly starts. You are free then to explore the side quests of Christianity.

If you have never walked down Romans Road, if you are still living in your past mistakes, still living with the shackles of sin in your life, I urge you to trust in Jesus. Let God remove the guilt, the shame, and the regret. We can’t do this on our own, only God, through faith in Jesus Christ can. Let Him hit the “reset” button on your life, and start anew!

 

What is Love

Baby, don’t hurt me! Sorry, I couldn’t help it. When we think of love, often a song or movie will pop into our heads. We may think of our spouse or children, our dogs and cats, or pizza. But what is love? The bible talks a great deal about love. 1 John 4 says that, “God IS love.” We think of love as in two people who love each other. I love you, you love me, we’re a happy family! But God’s love is different. His love is unconditional. Most people know John 3:16, even if you don’t believe in God or have any church background, you have probably seen it on a sign at a sporting event. John 3:16 NLT says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” This is a verse that I have heard and read so many times that I just tend to gloss over it. But here lately, God has been trying to open my eyes to what love truly is, His love. John 3:16 has a couple words that really stand out to me. It says, “God so loved the WORLD,” it also says, “EVERYONE”. WORLD, EVERYONE, those words are powerful when you think about it in the sense of God’s love. 1 John 4:10 NLT says, “It is not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” It’s not that we loved God, but He first loved us. Before we loved Him, He loved us. When we were still lost to sin, He loved us. Before we acknowledged Him as Lord, He loved us. When we didn’t even believe that He existed, He loved us. Even when we are actively rebelling against Him, He loves us. God loves the worst sinner just as much as the He loves the most evangelical preacher. Hates the sin, loves the sinner. That’s what the Good News is, God’s love. Before Jesus Christ, we were dead to sin. Doomed. But God loved us. He SO LOVED us that He sent His Son, Jesus, to take our place. Instead of us being nailed to a cross bleeding and humiliated, God sent His only Son so that we could have life and have it abundantly! He did this not only for the “good people” of the world, as if there were any, but He did this for EVERYONE. The drug addicts, the liars, the drunks, the sexually immoral, murderers, and thieves….everyone. God sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins, not just the “acceptable” sins, all sins, so that we may have eternal life in Him. That is the Good News. God offers a gift, a gift of love, true love, all you have to do is accept it.

The Weight of Sin

“Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel ,saying: ‘If a person sins unintentionally against any of the commandments of the Lord in anything which ought not be done, and does any of them, if the anointed priest sins, bringing guilt on the people, then let him offer to the Lord for his sin which he has sinned a young bull without blemish as a sin offering. He shall bring the bull to the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the Lord, lay his hand on the bull’s head, and kill the bull before the Lord.” Leviticus 4:1-4 NKJV.

After reading through the beginning of Leviticus, one thing is for sure, everyday sin simply does not have the same weight it did back in the day. Think about it, we sin today, whether it be an innocent white lie, a lustful thought, or something as simple as spreading gossip and we don’t really give it a second thought. We may stop ourselves and think, “oh man, I really shouldn’t be thinking this” or “maybe I shouldn’t have said that” and that’s it! Everyday sin has been downplayed in today’s world. Think about the people that lived in the days of Moses, if they sinned they had to sacrifice their livestock! Even if their sin was unintentional, they still had to bring in a prized bull for the slaughter. I guarantee that if every time I sinned, even if unintentionally, I had to kill a bull I would look at sin in a whole new light. Sin would have real life consequences. What if every time you sinned, you had to sacrifice $100? I bet we would look at sin differently then!

Thankfully, Jesus Christ came down to Earth to die on the cross as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. We no longer have to do these bloody, brutal rituals when we sin because Jesus came as the perfect sacrifice. We have been washed clean by the blood of the lamb, the blood of Jesus Christ. But that doesn’t downplay the severity of sin itself. Sin still weighs the same now as it did in the days of Moses. I encourage you to read through the book of Leviticus if haven’t already. I’m still reading it myself and it’s a very brutal book, but, for me at least, it has put sin back in perspective. I’m thankful for Jesus, I’m thankful that God, in His infinite wisdom and mercy, chose to send His one and only Son down to earth to die on the cross for you and for me, so that we no longer have to do these brutal rituals to wash away our sins. We often take for granted the ability to simply ask for forgiveness today, that’s why I recommend reading through this book, so that you may see the true weight that sin has.

B.I.B.L.E. (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth)

“For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people.” Titus 2:11 NLT

The book of Titus is a short one, but a really good one. While I was reading it, something just kind of popped in my head, we spend so much time pushing people to “get saved” that we often forget to teach what we should do after. Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing people truly give their lives to God, that’s the main reason we’re all here isn’t it? To become “fishers of men”. But I don’t think we spend enough time teaching what we should do after. I heard the preacher say something that stuck in my head a little while back, “Salvation isn’t the finish line, it’s the starting line.” After we accept God as our savior, that’s when our journey truly begins. Paul says in Titus 2:11-14 NLT, “For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with self-control, right conduct, and devotion to God, while we look forward to that wonderful event when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. He gave His life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us His very own people, totally committed to doing what is right.” Being totally committed to doing what is right. I’ll admit, I struggle from time to time with certain sins, we all do. Some of us have things we battle with on a daily basis, be it drugs, alcohol, lust, or envy, we all have our struggles. We’re only human, right? Paul wrote a few verses in the book of Titus that tells us of our “human nature” and God’s unending mercy. Titus 3:3-8 NLT, “Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled by others and became slaves to many wicked desires and evil pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy. We hated others, and they hated us.” I think whether we want to admit it or not, this verse describes most of us at some point or another. It’s easy to get misled in this evil world we live in. I know all too well the destructive nature of living a life of sin can have on you. But what Paul writes next is truly inspiring. “But then God our Savior showed us His kindness and love. He saved us, not because of the good things we did, but because of His mercy. He washed away our sins and gave us a new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us because of what Jesus Christ our Savior did. He declared us not guilty because of His great kindness. And now we know that we will inherit eternal life. These things I have told you are true. I want you to insist on them so that everyone who trusts in God will be careful to do good deeds all the time. These things are good and beneficial for everyone.” Once we decide to give our lives over to God, the best thing for us to do is to really dig into the word of God. Read the gospels, what better way to find out what Jesus was all about than to read how He lived His life. Instead of just modeling our lives off the past examples of Christians, we should focus on the life of Christ Himself. We need to get this cookie cutter image of how a Christian looks and acts out of our heads and really read the bible for ourselves and pray that God would show you the way. “Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober minded, in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.” Titus 2:6-8 NKJV.

Carry On My Wayward Son

Most of us have probably heard the story of the prodigal son. If you haven’t, the story is in Luke 15:11-32. It’s basically about a guy with two sons. The youngest of the two asks for his share of the inheritance and sets out to see the world. Not long after he leaves home he has blown through all his cash in “prodigal living” which basically means he partied all his money away. After working for a while feeding pigs, he realized that even the servants on his fathers land had it better than he did at this point. So, he decided that he would go home and beg for his fathers forgiveness. As he was traveling home he prepared this speech that he would say to his father in hopes that his father would allow him to return. The bible says that his father saw him when he was still a great way off and ran to him. Before the son could get halfway through his prepared speech his father cut him off and told the servants to bring out a robe, and start a feast, his son has returned! Now, the other brother heard the music and asked one of the servants what was up, the servant told him that his brother has returned. The older brother got mad because his dad never gave him a party for always being faithful, but as soon as his younger brother returned from blowing all his money on parties and harlots, they have a feast. The father says in Luke 15:32 NKJV, “It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.” I really like this story because it reminds me of my own, except for the older brother part. I was dead in sin and lost to the world. I’ve done my fair share of “prodigal living” that’s for sure, but when I started on my way back home, my Father welcomed me with open arms. The Lord doesn’t care where you have been, He cares where you are going. It doesn’t matter how far away you have traveled from home, your Father will always welcome you back. Luke 15:10 NKJV, “Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Nobody Is Perfect

I keep seeing these posts saying that Christians are homophobic, racist, ignorant, an all sorts of other derogatory terms. I think that the problem with most people today is that they think they have an idea of Christianity, Christians, and Jesus Christ but they really have no clue. They don’t know of His saving grace or His unending mercy. What they know is people. People are homophobic, racist, ignorant and everything else. Just because you follow Jesus doesn’t mean you are going to start walking on water. Christians are still human, we’re not perfect. We still have our own opinions and ideas of others. I have faith in God and Jesus Christ because I have felt His power. I have felt the Lord’s presence in my life. I spend a fair amount of time in my youth looking into other religions but never felt anything close to the power and grace that is Jesus Christ. Classifying Christians as hate mongers, homophobic, racists because of one persons actions that says they are a Christian, is like someone saying you are a Nazi because you are German, it just doesn’t make any sense. Everyone is so quick to judge. We as Christians have to set the example, we have to take the high road. What I have learned over the years is that if you stand for something, no matter what it is, someone is going to disagree with you. We Christians have to keep the faith, and not get angry at these people that would love nothing more than to stir up strife and make us question our beliefs. I know in my heart that Jesus Christ is as real as you and me, and He loves you. He doesn’t care if you are black, white, rich, poor, gay, straight, healthy, sick, a sinner, or a saint, Jesus Christ loves you. Luke 7:50 NKJV, “Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.” You see that? It doesn’t say, “God Hates Fags!” it says, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.” Jesus Christ said those words, go in peace. Is Homosexuality a sin? Yes. Do I believe you will burn in Hell for it? No. It’s a sin just like getting drunk, sex outside of marriage, gossiping, and gluttony. Will you burn in hell for one sin and not the other? I don’t think so. Instead of focusing on the sins of others, we need to take a look at our own lives. Nobody is perfect.

Fruit Bearers

When I think of John the Baptist, I can’t help but to think of Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty. He lived in the wilderness and preached the word of God. He wore camel skin and ate locusts and wild honey. I think it’s safe to say, he was a pretty burly dude. Chapter 3 in the book of Luke talks mainly about how John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus Christ to come and begin His ministry. Luke 3:2-3 NKJV, “while Annas and Caiaphas were high priests, the word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. And he went into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins,”. He was one of the first people to preach what we believe today, that you can be forgiven of your sins if you ask Jesus Christ to come into your heart. What I like about this chapter is that it’s a call to action. John says in verse 8, “Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance,”. We have to do more than just recite a verse, we have to bear fruit. Luke 3:9 NKJV, “And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” To me, this is a pretty intense verse. So, how does someone bear good fruit and avoid the fire? Luke 3:10-14 NKJV, “So the people asked him, saying, “What shall we do then?” He answered and said to them, “He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise.” Then the tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Collect no more than what is appointed to you.” Likewise the soldiers asked him, saying, “And what shall we do?” So he said to them, “Do not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages.” Being a good fruit bearer doesn’t mean you have to get up in front of the church and start preaching, bearing good fruit basically means being a decent person. Give to people in need if you have the means, don’t cheat people out of money or anything for that matter, don’t be a bully or a liar, and be happy with what God has given you is basically all this verse is saying. It doesn’t take much to be a good fruit bearer. John must have been a pretty extraordinary guy because the people that heard him speak started to question if he was Jesus Christ. Luke 3:15-16 NKJV, “Now as the people were in expectation, and all reasoned in their hearts about John, whether he was the Christ or not, John answered, saying to all, “I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Jesus Christ is about to hit the scene! John said, “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” For me, when I got saved, it was a lot like this. I felt the Holy Spirit and it started a fire in my heart like nothing I have ever felt before. I’m 28 years old and just now gave my life to God, verse 23 says that Jesus was about 30 years of age when He began His ministry. I know the saying is often, “You’re never too old!” but I have learned that you’re never too young either. Just because you may not know everything the bible says or you can’t quote verses off the top of your head, doesn’t mean you can’t get out there and spread the Good News. Jesus’ ministry lasted about 3 years and look at the impact He had! Granted He was Jesus Christ, but still. I spoke of Phil Robertson at the beginning of this post. Phil was 28, my age, when he gave his life to God and although he may have looked like John the Baptist, he definitely wasn’t living like it. It doesn’t matter what type of life you lived before, what matters is the life you choose to live now, today and tomorrow.