Serious business

OIP-8

Well here I am late again because the subject matter of these Catches is like Nathan pointing his finger at me like he did to David, saying “You’re the one who has sinned.” I started out this Catch with a statement of sin being underrated among Christians. Well I can truly say I am in that group.

By underrated I mean it’s treated way too casually, as if it wasn’t really a problem. Yes, we fall now and then and screw up a little bit here and there, but we’re already forgiven, so no big deal. Sin plays a big role in leading us to Christ, but once we’re saved, it’s hardly worth mentioning. We’re all too busy living the victorious Christian life to notice. 

But sin continues to be a huge problem because it is so deeply rooted in us. There are “sins” we commit — acts of selfishness and disobedience to God — but then there is S-I-N that is rooted in our human nature which isn’t going anywhere until we are free of these bodies. This is the sin that colors everything we do.

How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of Dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, I will ascend to heaven, I will raise my throne on high above the stars of God… But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit. Isaiah 14:12, 13- 14

This is the invisible world of the spirit behind the earthly kingdom of Babylon called “the fall of Satan.” Lucifer, the brightest and most beautiful of the angels of God, the nearest to His throne, became so entranced with his own beauty that he rebelled against the government of God and thus became the adversary, Satan. 

Here he is seen as brought, at last, to the bottomless pit. We are clearly looking beyond the events of earth to that spiritual world which governs those events. 

We do not wrestle with flesh and blood, but with wicked spirits in high places. (Ephesians 6:12) 

The great king of evil is behind all human wrong. This is why the nations rage, why we cannot achieve peace among men at the level of human counsel. And why we can’t play with fire without getting burned. We must reckon with these supernatural beings who are behind the mistaken deeds of men, yes, even our own. Evil is present in us.

You may be an ambassador to England or France

You may like to gamble, you might like to dance

You may be the heavyweight champion of the world

You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls

 

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes

Indeed you’re gonna have to serve somebody

Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody – Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan, America’s unclaimed prophet, speaks the truth here when he confirms that it doesn’t matter what your status is here on earth — what you may have accomplished or may not have accomplished, if you a human being, someone else is calling the shots. You might think you’re in charge, but you are not. We are weak at best. When it comes to who’s ultimately in charge, we are servants, choosing whether we want to serve God or the fallen angel. 

The origin and the nature of sin is self-occupation. 

  • Looking out for myself
  • My rights, my desires, my plans. 
  • What’s in it for me?

It is the nature of sin is to play God in your own little world. It does not matter whether you are a believer or an unbeliever, what constitutes sin is to feel you are in control of your own destiny, that you have all it takes to handle life.

“Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. (1 John 3:8, ESV) Playing God is the nature of sin. It gives us a high. We love thinking we are in control. 

Pride makes me independent of God. It’s appealing to feel I am the master of my fate. I run my own life, I call my own shots, I go it alone. And if I fail, I can always blame someone else.

“I did it my way.” – Frank Sinatra

But that feeling is my basic dishonesty. I can’t go it alone. I have to get help from somewhere. I can’t ultimately rely on myself. I’m dependent on God for my very next breath. It’s dishonest of me to pretend that I’m anything but a man; small, weak and limited. Living independent of God is self-delusion. 

There is no “playing around with sin.” There is only serving the Lord or serving the devil. 

It’s not just a matter of pride being an unfortunate little trait and humility being an attractive little virtue. It’s my inner psychological integrity that’s at stake. When I am conceited I’m lying to myself about who I am. I am pretending to be God and not man. My pride is the idolatrous worship of myself; and that is the national religion of hell.

There is much at stake here. We’re not talking about “white lies” and “little sins.” Sin is sin; it is against the law of God and he who sins continually is of the devil.

Why are we choosing to live in darkness or deception when the source and secret of our identity as people who believe in Christ has been given to us in the Spirit?

“I’m not going to leave you orphans; I’m not going to abandon you. I will come to you.” (John 14:18)

This entry was posted in Dealing with sin, discipleship and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Serious business

  1. Andrew P. says:

    “We’re all too busy living the victorious Christian life to notice [sin].” Indeed. And for far too many of us, that “victorious Christian life” barely looks anything different from all the “nones” we have as neighbors!

  2. John A Fagliano says:

    As a music lover, I like how you often quote from songs. Here’s a few observations: “My Way” should be attributed to Paul Anka, not Sinatra. I actually find not much wrong with the song except the lyric, “regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again too few to mention” There’s the downplaying of sin you speak of. It’s as if there is this universal lie people believe which says that you can’t love yourself and admit short-commings at the same time. How you love yourself is reflected in how you love others.

    The song Whitney Houston made famous, “Greatest Love of All” also promotes love of self but for a different reason, “if I fail, if I succeed, at least I’ll live as I believe” (- Linda Creed) That really asks the question, is it OK to be proud of faith in Jesus? Only as long as it’s Christ we’re proud of and not ourselves for choosing Him. According to scriptures, that isn’t even are own doing.

    One final song which comes to mind as I’ve been reading your sin themed catches. It comes from the song, “Closer to Fine” by the Indigo Girls “The darkness has a hunger that’s insatiable, and the Lightness has a call that’s hard to hear” That the human tragedy. Our fallen ears hear temptation louder. Only when we recognize it as such and decide we want nothing more to do with it, will God make his voice clearly heard. More I’d like to say but I’m running out of time.

    • jwfisch says:

      There is another objectional line where he says he is “not one who kneels.” The whole song basically says “I will meet God on my own terms.” Yes, I found out about the Paul Anka part. But I also was encouraged to find out Frank never really liked the song. He only kept singing it because his fans wanted it. His daughter said he thought it was too self-serving. Well give him credit for that.

  3. Mark Dennis Seguin says:

    Absolutely love the way you ended Today’s Catch Pastor John with a GREAT verse: ““I’m not going to leave you orphans; I’m not going to abandon you. I will come to you.” (John 14:18)” Amen and as one one of my favorite Apostles John wrote, (and Mark’s paraphrase) Even so Lord Jesus come!

  4. Toni Petrella says:

    I can remember years ago a famous comedian making the statement the Devil made me do it. Well, even when someone uses the devil as a scapegoat for sin its still a sin we committed. The last verse is quite the message of God coming to us and not leaving us. We all try to do better and that in itself is a life long battle. Like i have said the last few days Amazing Grace.

  5. TimC in Oregon says:

    Dwelling on my sin gets to be so depressing. Unfortunately, dwelling on my sin is sin, because Jesus gave his life to forgive me. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive me my sin and to cleanse me from all unrighteousness. Depression lifted.

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