Week Six – blue plate special

Monday

Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.  He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him. John 14:21

“The Problem of Sin – Part 1”

The message of the Book of John is that Jesus is God in the flesh, born to die as a sacrifice for human sin.  The Book is summarized in John 20:31: “But these things are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.”

This week we will focus on a single verse.  It is central to the Believer in order to insure a fulfilling spiritual life.  We were born into a fallen world.  No one, that’s no one who has ever walked on this earth was or is sinless except for Jesus.  You see, sin in the 18-24 month old child is usually demonstrated as rebellion against parental authority or selfishness.  Did anyone have to teach that child to sin?  No!  It’s part of the human condition.

God, in His infinite wisdom has a plan to save us from the eternal consequences of our sin.  He sent His only Son, Jesus, to die a horrible death for the sin of mankind.  His sacrifice was sufficient.  Then Jesus conquered death through His resurrection.  Sin was paid for and death was conquered ONCE FOR ALL.

If you have come to the point of acknowledging your personal sin and have repented of it (desiring to go in the other direction), then you are ready to accept God’s solution, the free gift of eternal life through Jesus.  God no longer sees your sin because it has been covered by Jesus’ blood.

Does a Believer still have to deal with sin and disobedience?  Yes – see the next devo.


Tuesday

Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.  He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him. John 14:21

“The Problem of Sin – Part 2”

As long as we are in the world, we will have to deal with sin.  Sin is anything that is contrary to God’s precepts and commandments that He has precisely elucidated in the Scripture.  You see, a Believer does not demonstrate love toward His Savior and Creator except through obedience.  Jesus said that to love me is to obey me.  Love equals obedience.

The Ten Commandments recorded in Exodus 20 teach us God’s standards.  As Paul says in Romans 7:7: “Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law.  For I would not know what coveting really was if the law had not said, ‘Do not covet.’”  Jesus gave a broad, but complete answer to the question, “How shall we live?”  His answer is recorded in Matthew 22:37-40: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

You see, we know what sin is and we know how to please God by obeying Him.  It involves choices moment by moment and day by day until we die and meet Him face to face and account for our lives.  We have the resurrection power through Jesus to make the right choices.  Will we do it?

The goal is to forsake sin and live a holy life in obedience to God.  It’s not easy – God did not design it to be easy – IT IS A CHOICE and we have a free will.  By living properly, you prove your love for God.  The question is, “Will you make the right choices?”


Wednesday

Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.  He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him. John 14:21

“The Problem of Sin – Part 3”

Everyone struggles with sin.  The Apostle Paul said, “So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.” Romans 7:21.  (Also see Romans 7:22-25).  As we discovered in the previous devo, this is not a passive approach to life.  God expects us to make the proper choices.  By choosing correctly, we obey God.  By obeying God, we demonstrate our love for Him.

Sin does not have to be an overt action.  In fact, it is probably more common in the confines of our minds.  But God knows our motives.  That’s what Jesus had in mind when He said, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28).  You see, to obey God in this area is not only not to literally do it, but also to not fantasize about it either.

It’s a similar issue with judgmental attitudes, envy, lying, cheating, etc.  No one may know except you.  But God judges the heart and these actions are sin!

Don’t verbalize that you love God, and continue to allow sin to pervade your life.  You must make choices.  To not choose is to allow sin to persist.  To allow sin to persist and not be dealt with is disobedience.

The Believer is called to fall down on his knees before God and repent of sins. Acknowledge the sin as well as the fact that the debt has been paid- past tense.   You may have to do this multiple times per day.  But, by doing so, you deal with the sin and remove any barrier there is between you and God.  This is love for God.


Thursday

Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.  He who loves me, will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and show myself to him. John 14:21

“The Problem of Sin – Part 4”

It is important to see sin for what it is on several planes.  First, sin unequivocally exists!  Oswald Chambers says, “If you refuse to agree with the fact that there is wickedness and selfishness, something downright hateful and wrong in humans beings instead of reconciling yourself to it, when it attacks your life you will compromise with it and say that there is no use to battle against it.”  Oswald Chambers goes on to say, “…men and women have no business trying to be innocent; God demands that we be pure and virtuous.  (This is not innocence).  Innocence is a characteristic of a child.  Any person is deserving of blame if he is unwilling to reconcile himself to the fact of sin.”

Secondly, realize that the majority of sin is covert.  We know about it – no one else does.  But God knows.  Covert sin is not better than overt sin.  God disdains both.  Remember Jesus’ teaching on “adultery in the heart” from the previous devo.

Thirdly, it’s a lifelong struggle.  Choices need to be made moment by moment, day by day.  Lastly, sin has consequences.  God promises forgiveness, but He does not promise to remove the consequences of sin on earth.  The Scripture is full of examples: Recall King David’s adulterous affair with Bathsheba and the lasting effects on the future generations in Israel.

Sin is “tricky.”  Satan is crafty and this world is his home.  Believers have the promise of eternity because our sins have been paid for.  Satan has lost this battle.  But, he is still battling for the here and now.  He enjoys seeing Believers who are not living by the power that is available to them.  He knows that he has lost again if Believers make proper choices, repent of sin and remove any barriers between themselves and God!


Friday

Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.  He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him. John 14:21

“The Problem of Sin – Part 5”

We have studied the problem of sin this week focusing on one verse, John 14:21.  This verse is very pivotal.  It identifies “true” love of God as obedience of His commandments.  This requires overt choice and action – not passive “lip service.”  The results of obeying this truth are awesome: “I (Jesus) will show myself to him.”  Don’t you want this type of relationship with Jesus?  This is a vibrant moment by moment relationship that makes everything pale in comparison!  The trials and tribulations of the world mean nothing when Jesus is helping you through life.

But, please get the point.  This relationship requires work on our part.  This is the work of sanctification.  You must be willing to deal with all sin and remove it as a barrier between you and the Lord.  Otherwise, Jesus will not disclose Himself to you and you will not grow and be the most that you can be for the Lord.

Remember that this is a lifelong endeavor – as long as we are on earth.  Don’t get discouraged.  The Apostle Paul struggled with this – and we do too.  The point is not to feel guilty.  This does not accomplish anything!  It involves pulling yourself up by the spiritual bootstraps and making proper choices in obedience to the commandments of God.

A fulfilling life requires perseverance.  We all want to finish well and please our Savior.  You can’t give up toward the end.  “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain!” (Philippians 1:21).  Be vulnerable to Jesus.  Allow Him to challenge your ambitions, chastise your lack of faith, denounce your pride, and refute Satan’s influence in your life.  This is what Jesus will do for you when HE SHOWS HIMSELF TO YOU!