Religion

The Tragedy of Sin

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I’m not sure there is a more tragic portion of Scripture than what we have in 2 Samuel 11. Most of us, even if we don’t spend a lot of time in the Bible know this story. David, one of the most loved and celebrated men in the history of Israel committed one of the most disgusting acts that we can imagine. This act I am referring to is his sin with Bathsheba, and the ensuing murder of her husband to cover up his sin.

The Bible says that, “In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel. And they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.” This is an important detail that we might be quick to just pass over. As the stage is set for the Bible to relay the story of David and Bathsheba to us, we see that David should have never been in position to commit this sin, he was supposed to be out in battle with his men. David however has grown complacent, and instead is at home while his men go out and fight his battles.

This is an important detail for us, and the point in which I want to make. I’m writing today, not so much to talk about the tragic case of David and his sin, but I want to write about the nature of sin, and the danger of sin. I’m not writing just about David’s sin, but our sin as well.

Sin tends to snowball. One sin leads to another sin. In order to avoid the consequences of one sin we have to commit another sin to cover it up. Our sin ends up not simply impacting us, but the people around us. Very often, it isn’t only ourselves that suffer for sin, but those around us as well.

David’s very first sin in this scenario, is as I said slothfulness. He was supposed to be in battle with his men, yet he stayed behind. The next sin we see David committing is lust. David takes a stroll on his roof and he sees Bathsheba, a beautiful woman bathing. David then sent and inquired about the woman and discovered that she was the wife of Uriah the Hittite. One would think that a righteous man such as David, in whom we’ve seen God work so mightily throughout the Bible up to this point would then back away from the situation. Certainly an upstanding man such as King David wouldn’t pursue this relationship any further.

Sadly, this isn’t the case. David sends for Bathsheba and he commits adultery with her. Sometime later, Bathsheba informs David that she is with child. In order to cover up his sin, David sends for Uriah and makes several attempts to get the husband of Bathsheba to sleep with his wife. Uriah, being more righteous than David refuses to do so. He refuses to eat and drink and lie with his wife while the other soldiers are in battle. When David can think of no other way to cover up his sin, he sends word to put Uriah on the front lines of battle, then for the other men to fall back. To put it plainly, David has Uriah murdered. David then takes Bathsheba as his own wife.

Usually when we talk about the heroes of the Bible, we don’t associate a sequence of events like this with their lives. If we had only studied the life of David up to this point, and knew nothing of this story before now…we would be in utter shock!

But the Bible is very clear about sin, even the sins of those whom God in his providence chose to use in mighty ways. The Bible is very clear about the nature of sin. Sin is dangerous, sin is evil, and even the best of us are not immune to its disastrous effects and consequences. This window into the life of David is a powerful reminder for us all. When we crack the door, even a little bit and let sin into our lives we have no idea how tragic the results can be.

In David’s own life, what started out as sloth and complacence gave way to lust, which gave way to adultery, which gave way to murder. As a result of David’s sin a righteous man died. But not only did David’s sin cost Uriah his life, but several other of David’s men died. We know from further reading in 2 Samuel that the child whom was conceived as a result of David’s sin also died.

Again, David’s sin had tragic consequences that were far reaching. The depths of sin and the consequences of sin were far beyond anything that David could have imagined.

Truthfully though, this isn’t just true of David’s sin, it is also true of our sin. It is very rare that our sin impacts only us. Very often when we allow sin to take root in our lives, the end results are far reaching. As parents our sin affects our children. As husbands our sin affects our wives, and vice versa. The sins of children affect their parents – and we could keep going, but I think we get the idea. Sin is indeed tragic, and left to itself it kills and leaves a path of destruction in its wake.

But God in his grace has given us the remedy for sin. God offers mercy and forgiveness, for even the most tragic cases of sin. What is that remedy you might ask? Repentance. When we come face to face with our sin, when we see it for what it is God calls us to repent – to humble ourselves, admit our sin, and turn away from it and throw ourselves upon the mercy of God. We know that this is what David did. (2 Samuel 12, Psalm 51)

God’s forgiveness ultimately comes through Jesus Christ, the “Son of David” who willingly took upon himself the tragic consequences of our sin so that we wouldn’t have to. This is good news for us all. Again, if David can fall victim to the tragedy of sin, no one is immune. So, no matter where you are today, no matter what you’ve done, you have hope in Christ. Turn to him today and ask him to take your sins away and to pour out his mercy upon you.

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Your Relationship With God

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God desires to have a relationship with you. God loves you, and so desires to be in a relationship with you that he sent his Son Jesus Christ to die for you and to make it possible. (John 3:16, Romans 5:6) I could write pages upon page about the lengths that God went to in order to draw you into a relationship with him, but that isn’t why I’m writing this. My purpose for writing today is that I want to pause and contemplate the unbelievable reality that the God of the universe desires a relationship with you and to think through the implications of that truth.

I’m sure you have heard the phrase, “Christianity isn’t a religion it’s a relationship.” Normally that statement makes me cringe because I believe it to be too simplistic. That being said, there is an element of truth there that we would be wise to take notice of. Christianity is indeed a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, and since it is a relationship there are some things that we need to understand.

Relationships take work. Anyone who has ever been in a relationship understands this. It doesn’t matter if you are speaking of romantic relationships, parent/child relationships, friendships, or work relationships, it takes work. If you want a relationship to work you have to put in time and effort. If this is true of human relationships, why would we think it isn’t also true of our relationship with God?

How often do you talk to God? How often do you take time to listen for what God might be trying to tell you? Do you make time to just be in the presence of God? Do you enjoy being with him? Do you want to get to know him better? What are you doing to try to make this happen? What do you hope to get out of your relationship with God? And here is a big one: Do you love God simply for who he is, or because of what you hope he can give you?

How successful will a marriage be if there is no communication? Not very. If children aren’t listening to their parents, or speaking to them, that relationship is in trouble. How happy would a wife be if her husband never came home? Husbands would be crushed if their wives never wanted to spend time with them. When couples begin dating, they do everything they can to learn what the other person enjoys. The parent is hurt when their child only calls when they need something, and not just so say “I love you.”

It’s not hard to see the parallels that I’m making here. It’s easy to see the correlation between what makes human relationships work and what we ought to be doing to cultivate our relationship with God. If we aren’t spending time in prayer communicating with God, if we aren’t spending time in his presence and listening for him, and learning more about him as we spend time in the Bible, then our relationship with God will suffer. Are your prayers always about what you can get from God instead of simply praising God for who he is? Do you ever simply tell God you love him? Do you thank him for the many blessings he has given you?

The wonderful thing about God is that he takes the initiative in our relationship with him. He made the first move, and even in spite of our failures to do what it is we should be doing, if we have truly entered into a relationship with him, he won’t ever let go of us. He loves us in spite of our many failures. But this isn’t an excuse to try less, it is motivation to try harder to love a God who has loved us so much. Even though we can rest assured that God will never turn his back on us, we are robbing ourselves of so much joy by not seeking him as we should. If you are missing time in prayer or bible study, you are missing more pleasure than you can imagine. If you are neglecting times of worship, both personal and corporate, you are missing one of the greatest blessings the Christian life has to offer and your growth in grace is suffering.

All relationships take work and must be intentional, I think we all know this. We also know that successful healthy relationships are a beautiful thing, and are worth every ounce of effort we put into them. This is infinitely true as it relates to our relationship with God, for there is no greater joy, no greater pleasure, and no more beautiful relationship than this. There is no one more worthy of your love and affection, and certainly no one more worthy of the effort you’ll put in.

You’ll never give God more than he’s already given you.

Christ Our Holiness

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If we were to put together a list of God’s attributes certainly Holiness would rank amongst the top. This is good as it is very important that we understand that God is a Holy God. It is even more important however that we understand what exactly Holiness means, and what it means to say that God is Holy, and how that relates to each of us as Christians.

The first time we see the word Holy used in Scripture is in Genesis 2:3. In this verse Holy is used to describe the Sabbath. The Sabbath was a day set apart and blessed by God. Blessed by God for the purpose of rest.  The next instance we see the word Holy used is in Exodus 3:5 to describe the ground on which Moses stood as he spoke with God at the burning bush. Moses was commanded, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” Moses was so afraid to look at God that the scriptures tell us, he hid his face. Moses had good reason of course, for we find out in Exodus 33:20 that no man can see the face of God and live. Then, in Leviticus 11:43-45 God commands his people, “You shall not make yourselves detestable with any swarming thing that swarms, and you shall not defile yourselves with them and become unclean through them. For I am the LORD your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy.” In 19:2 he says, “You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.”

In just a few verses we can gather rather quickly that the word Holy as it relates to God means, set apart, sacred, undefiled, and pure. To say that something is Holy is also to say that it is perfect in every way. Certainly this definition can be applied to God.

God does not just say that he is Holy though. God also commands his people to be Holy. Anyone with eyes to see can see that there is a problem here. Ever since that fateful day in the Garden in which Adam and his wife Eve partook of the forbidden fruit, holiness has not been a word that can be used to describe humanity. Certainly the Prophet Isaiah saw a problem:

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said, “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts! (Isaiah 6:1-5).    

As Isaiah was confronted with the unimaginable holiness of God, all he could do was shout out, “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips…”.

Isaiah was stunned by the awesome Holiness of God, as he should have been. Isaiah’s response is the correct response to the God who is perfect and holy in every way. The fact that God is so holy, and we are so unholy means that there is a problem. We as unholy people cannot approach this perfectly holy God. Since Adam and Eve were cast from the garden, holiness has not been able to dwell in the midst of unholiness. That is of course, unless God does something.

Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with thongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for” (Isaiah 6:6-7).

In order for Isaiah to stand in the presence of God, his guilt had to be taken away, and his sin had to be atoned for by God. You and I are no different.

This same holiness that we have been talking about that is attributed to God here in the Old Testament is also applied to Jesus in the New. Let’s look at just a few verses to illustrate this point.

In Mark 1:24 even the unclean Spirit cries out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.”

Hebrews 7:26 uses the following words to describe Jesus, “holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.”

1 John 3:5 says, “…in him there is no sin.”

In Luke 5:8, Simon Peter takes our minds back to our Isaiah 6 passage earlier as he responds to Jesus with these words, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” Again, as we are confronted with holiness, we shrink back in fear, for we know deep in our hearts that unholiness cannot dwell in the same place as holiness.

Now some folks see an issue with this. They think that yes, God is Holy, but he is also love. Therefore, if God loves us, then he can just look past our sins. This attitude however is a mistake. When we take this line of thinking, what we are actually doing is elevating God’s attribute of love above his attribute of Holiness. God is love, perfect love in fact. God is also holy, perfect holiness. To think that God simply looks past sin is a dangerous mistake. It leads straight to a path of licentiousness because we begin to think that sin is not a big deal. But the bible tells a much different story. Sin is a really big deal. So big in fact that God had to send his son to die on a Roman cross for it. The love of God and the holiness of God are not in opposition. Within God, and within Christ who is the “image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15). Holiness and Love dwells perfectly together. At the cross of Christ we see love and Holiness at work all at once. Certainly love put Christ on the cross, but if it were not for the Holiness of God, there would have been no need for him to be there. The Holiness of God demands Holiness in return from his people (1 Peter 1:15-16). Yet, we cannot attain that Holiness on our own. Therefore, Christ had to attain it for us. That was the purpose for which he died. 2 Corinthians 5:21,

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” The entire purpose of Jesus’ ministry is that, “…he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she (the Church) might be holy and without blemish.”

It is here that we find peace and rest. Often as we are confronted with the Holiness of God, we respond in ways similar to that of Moses, Isaiah, and Peter. We cower in fear. We hide our face from God. We ask Him to flee from us, for we are sinful people indeed. But in Jesus, these sins are removed from us. In Jesus, we are holy and without blemish. In Jesus, we are the righteousness of God. We no longer need to be fearful of the Holiness of God. Now, we get to embrace it, for it is ours.

Blogging Through The Bible(Intro):Genesis 1

I want to begin blogging through the bible. This is something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time, and I really hope I can keep it up. I don’t know how fast or slow it will go, but I think it could be a blessing to many, including myself. I don’t make any claims to be a great biblical scholar, but I do spend much time studying the Scriptures and I pray the knowledge I’ve gained and will continue to gain can be of benefit to others and I hope that folks might use this as a springboard to study the Bible for themselves.

One of the goals of my ministry, whether it be preaching or writing, is to help others fall in love with the Bible. Obviously the major goal is to help them fall in love with Jesus, but I think this happens fully, when we fall in love with the Scriptures that speak of Him from beginning to end. Also, it is important to note I don’t intend to pull out every single detail of the Scripture. This would indeed take more than a lifetime. I simply intend to pull out the major points that I see as I go through the Bible myself, and I hope to give this to the reader in bite size and easy to understand chunks.

So, as we begin this journey, I beg you for your prayers. I will need them to stay faithful in this blogging journey. Also, please pray for those who read, that they will be blessed and pointed to Jesus. Also, if you have friends or loved ones who are seeking, send them to the blog. Perhaps God would use this to help them learn more about the Bible, and through that learn about God and what He’s doing in the world. I also ask that you would ask questions if you have them, or even just offer encouragement as you feel lead. Few things inspire like a kind word or to know that people are reading and thinking about what you are saying.

So now that we have the introduction out of the way, let us turn our attention to the Scriptures.

People approach Genesis 1 in many different ways. Obviously, there are those who view it as nothing more than a myth. I don’t really have anything to say to those folks, because nothing I write here will make them see any differently. There are also those who believe Genesis 1 is completely true…these are my people. But even among these folks you will have many differing views as to how we should read Genesis 1, and what we should believe about creation.

Here we have the first major point…Genesis 1 is about creation. That’s the point Moses(the author of Genesis) is trying to make in Genesis 1. Where did everything come from? When Moses penned the book, there were many different creation stories going around. Moses wanted his people to know the truth of their own origins, and the origin of all the created universe. Everything we see (and can’t see) came from God. God spoke all things into existence simply by speaking.

Some want to view Genesis 1 from a scientific point of view, and view the order in which God created things and show how it lines up perfectly with the way we know science “works.” I suppose there are good points to be made here, but I don’t want to dwell here for our current purposes. Others want to talk about the age of the earth, and what exactly is the length of a “day” as it is used here…since in Hebrew the word “yom” that is translated as “day” in the text can either mean 24 hours as we know it, but it can also mean other lengths of time…Unfortunately, we can’t “know” how the word is used here…So, there is room for discussion here.

On this previous issue, hinges the debate of the different issues related to evolution. And the origins of man.

But ultimately, this isn’t the point Moses is making.

Genesis 1 isn’t a science book, nor does it intend to be(nor do I believe it is opposition to science as some erroneously declare)…If we want to boil Genesis 1 down to it’s main points, I believe these are the things we must see:

*God is the creator of all things.

*God created all things from nothing.

*God was already present “In the beginning” therefore God is eternal and has no creator…from eternity past to eternity future God simply “is”…This is certainly one of the most important and foundational truths that we have to get and apply to our lives, “In the beginning God…” Indeed God is the creator and is sovereign over ALL things, and upon this truth everything in Scripture is based…and if more of us could wrap our minds around it, it would truly change everything and  how we view the world.

*Man is the highlight and jewel of God’s creation, for he was “created in the image of God.”

*When God created all things he looked around and said it was “very good”

There are of course other “theological” issues we can address here in Genesis 1…

*The Trinity was present at creation…There is the plurality of the hebrew Word “Elohim” used for God..There is also the fact that in Genesis 1:2, it references the “Spirit of God” hovering over the waters…Then we look to John 1 as he puts Jesus in Genesis 1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…The Word became flesh.” So, I believe we see the trinity in Genesis 1.

*Also, as I stated, Man was the jewel of creation. He was to rule over the fish, the birds, and the livestock, and over all the earth…We also see that God provided for man everything he needed, Genesis 1:29-30. And, God as I said earlier, created all things “very good.”

We will see in just a bit that, things didn’t stay “very good” but we can’t place the blame for that on God.

Kindle Deals 11/5

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The MacArthur Bible Handbook $4.99

Exciting News

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Exciting News!
One of the dreams of any writer is to complete a book, and then to see that book published. It’s hard to explain the feeling of seeing a book with your name on the cover. Another dream, is to have someone actually buy your book. For someone to actually want to buy a book you have written, and to actually give you money for your words…that too is an amazing feeling.

Perhaps one of the greatest feelings a writer can experience is to see your book in a real brick and mortar bookstore. Today, that dream became a reality for me. Two of my books are now available locally in a real honest-to-goodness brick and mortar bookstore. Seeing a dream become a reality, even on a small scare is pretty amazing. I’m very thankful.

Just thought I’d share.

Click here to learn more about “Ruminations.

Click here to learn more about “Gazing At Grace.”

Thank you

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It was very exciting seeing several of you guys buying my book, Gazing At Grace, and helping me climb Amazons best sellers list. Thanks for your support. Not only were you guys buying Gazing At Grace, but a couple of my other titles started moving as well. Truly humbled.

Today is a new day though. Gazing At Grace is still only $1 in the kindle store, and my goal is to get this book in as many hands as possible. Help me spread the word, and if you haven’t picked it up yet go get it today! I really think you will be blessed by it.

-Chris

To buy Gazing At Grace, click here!