Friday, March 07, 2008

The Seriousness of Sin

At the beginning of the year, I pledged to read the Bible through during 2008. I chose a reading chart to follow in which I read 3 chapters of the Old Testament and a bit of Proverbs every day, and two or three chapters of Psalms on Sunday. I am now in the book of Numbers. This is the book where most people get bogged down and groan as they plod through endless names, tribes and geneologies and lots of numbers. I am no exception.

However, in reading today's chapter in Numbers 25, I was impressed with two people that God gave as an example of the seriousness of open sin in His eyes--Zimri and Cozbi. God had warned the Israelites to remain true to Him alone and not to follow after other gods of neighboring cities and countries. They did not heed his warning and began to "indulge in sexual immorality" with neighboring Moabite women. This stirred up God's anger and God ordered Moses to kill the leaders of all the tribes who openly disregarded his orders. 24,000 men were killed in one day. Zimri was named specifically as an Israelite who brought Cozbi, a Moabite woman, openly into the Israelite camp. Phinehas, as a priest, took immediate action and drove a spear through them killing them instantly, and thus atonement for the sins of all the Israelites was paid and the killing spree ended. God made a covenant of peace with Phinehas that day and verse 23 says, "He and his descendants will have a covenant of a lasting priesthood because he was zealous for the honor of his God and made atonement for the Israelites."

Is God any less a jealous God against the sins that are so openly displayed in our society today? I don't think so. He is just as serious today about open and blatant sin as He was with His chosen people, the Israelites. In the New Testament in Hebrews 10:26-31, God's word says: "If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sin is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay', and again, 'The Lord will judge his people.' It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."

It appears that people today take a very lax view of "sin". Our societal problems prove that. However, God's grace and mercy is still so available to claim if we confess our sins and turn back to Him for forgiveness. "If my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." (II Chronicles 7:14) If you are struggling with an area of your life that is pulling you under, then admit it as sin, turn to God, and God's mercy will flood your soul and bring such cleansing and release. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (I John 1:9)

God's mercy is boundless!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post, it really hit home for me and brought clarity. Love you, Aline

7:33 AM  
Blogger Mike Wilson said...

Hi Sandy. I'm currently doing a preaching series on the life of Samuel and this week we are in chapter 15 where Saul fails to wipe out the Amalekites as the Lord had ordered but spares the king and saves back the best stuff. His partial obedience was just plain disobedience to God. Yet when confronted by Samuel Saul blew it off as unimportant. This problem of not recognizing the seriousness of sin has been around for a long time. Sadly, I think we all find excuses for our sins, often using other more friendly terms. "I messed up." "I made a mistake." "I used bad judgment." It goes back to not seeing our sin the way God sees our sin. If we could get a peek at our sin through His eyes I think it would readjust our attitude. Good post. Thanks. Tell Dick HI for me.

3:09 PM  

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