Lie 6: Some Sin Doesn’t Count

(A series on lies sin tells us to tempt us and trick us. Read the whole series here.)

We like to restrict God’s definition of sin to make it more manageable.

God doesn’t define sin manageable as just “doing bad stuff,” or “making mistakes.” God says sin is a condition we’re born into. Scripture uses words like infection and impurity to describe how sin permeates not only us, but the world we live in (Isaiah 64:6, Romans 8:22.)

We minimize sin when we act like it’s a condition we can keep under control.

The lie goes like this:

This particular sin isn’t that bad, it doesn’t count.

But in truth, all sin is an offense to God, which damages, if nothing else, our walk with Him.

Often the sins we don’t really “count” are those with subtle or unseen consequences. We figure sin is only really bad if someone gets hurt.

On the flipside of that logic, we believe avoiding the temptation to sin should be profitable for us.

We end up repeating the words Elihu warns against in Job 35:3:

“You ask him, ‘What profit is it to me,

and what do I gain by not sinning?’”

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When we think like this about sin and what counts as sin, we put a price on righteousness. We value honoring God based on the scales of self.

Case Study: Little White Lies

God says we never have to sin and never ought to.

Yet we are all tempted to tell white lies. They smooth things over, make people feel good, and prevent discomfort.

Essentially, telling a little white lie tends to gain us a whole lot more than being honest appears to.  So we value the self-benefit over the God-honoring truth.

Along the way, we often figure white lies hardly count. After all, we’ve appraised them as such.

Honoring God isn’t about our gain, but His. His appraisal of sin is more important than our valuation of the benefits of doing right or wrong. 

Imagine if Jesus acted as we do! It’s sobering to imagine Jesus diminishing “little sins” and “not counting them” because their consequences aren’t “that bad.”

1 John 1:9 shows us Jesus did not have an attitude of belittling sin.

Rather, Jesus addressed sin head on and with complete assurance:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness…

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.png

Would we want Jesus to “miss a spot” when He cleanses us? Would we want to settle for “only” the important parts being redeemed?

Jesus takes stock of our every sin, even the ones we wish didn’t count. He appraises them with just a glance: sin = needs cleansing. Then He turns them all white as snow.

Jesus isn’t satisfied to get us mostly clean. He isn’t one to “miss a spot.”

We have no reason to think He ought to. His cleansing is more than enough, and His grace is sufficient.

Even the “little” sins that hardly seem to count are important enough to Christ for Him to save us from them. He transforms the worst and the “not so bad” into the best for God’s glory.

Let your sin, glaring and subtle, be seen by the One eager to forgive and redeem.

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Lie 3: Sin Defines You

(A series on lies sin tells us to tempt us and trick us. Join me in exposing sin’s lies to God’s Word in this 8 part series.)

We more or less have a Sunday School answer memorized to counteract this lie: Christ defines who I am.

But when it comes it to living it- predisposition often wins.

Predisposition is a subtle form of deceit. It preys on our tendencies, including the tendency to believe that what is is all that will be. Not only do we fear change, we reject the notion it’s really possible.

So the lie forms and we believe it: my sin defines me.

Meanwhile, God says we have the option to be transformed.

Take back the truth.

We are born into sin, but through Christ we can be born again- out of sin.

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There’s no need to keep reliving old sins as if they are more powerful than the salvation Christ has given you.

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Case Study: Shame

The consequences David faced for His sin were dire-a beloved son died. A nation saw their king’s shame.  His circumstances were (publicly!) defined by a sinful choice he had made.

But David knew he still had a choice. He took control over what he still had control: his next choice. To sin or not to sin. To continue in his shame, allowing it to define Him, or turn to God for renewal and restoration.

Choosing to turn to God, David responded with the words of Psalm 51:10:

“Create in me a pure heart, O God,
     and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

You and I can’t get clean on our own. We can’t redefine ourselves using our own sin-stained hands. 

Sin will continue to follow us around, slinging mud, calling us dirty, claiming us as its own. When we make a mess trying to “redefine” ourselves, sin only seems all the more irremovable.

But God.

Who can cleanse us from our sin?

Who can make us whole again?

Who can clothe us, dressing us in white?

None but Christ.

Asking God to define our identities for us means telling sin it doesn’t have the authority to make our next choices for us. Exposing the lie that sin defines us requires immovable faith in a Sunday School answer:

Christ alone has the power to not only wash our hearts clean, but give us new hearts. Christ alone redefines us, predisposing us to stainlessness instead of sin.   

Interested in guest posting on First And Second? Click HERE…looking for your thoughts to add to the Sin Lies Series!

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The Kindness of the Lord

When we say that God is the standard by which we know and measure goodness and righteousness, we admit that there is no definition completely suitable of these things. There is no set of words in any human language that can fully encompass the wholeness of a standard. We have nothing to correctly compare it to.

As a friend recently pointed out, “a cauliflower’s taste can’t be described in comparison to anything. It certainly doesn’t taste like chicken. It just tastes like cauliflower.”

That’s what those things which God is the standard of are like. His kindness is kindness in its purest, most whole form.

The word for the kindness of God in Scripture, transliterated “chréstotés” says as much in its definition. According to Biblos, “We have no term that quite carries this notion of kind and good.”

Ephesians 2:6-7 emphasizes:

“God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”

We the kindness of the Lord in His sending Christ to die for us and raising Him up again. His kindness is evident in redeeming us, raising up to be with Christ. As we know, grace is giving us what we don’t deserve.

Kindness is giving us what we don’t deserve richly and abundantly.

We aren’t just children He cares for. We are children He cares about. More than just redeemed, we are filled with His Spirit. The barrier isn’t just destroyed by Christ so that we have access if we need it. Instead, we are brought near. Drawn near.

God likes to have us near. He delights in blessing us. His kindness is not goodness out of obligation or goodness because more good is needed. His goodness is simply goodness.

In our corrupted nature, we cannot fathom this. Our closest comparisons fall short. The best we understanding we have is described in Matthew 7:11:

“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

The kindest we can be does not compare to the kindness of Christ.

We often look at others and wish to give certain types of kindness. Closeness, not feeling alone, hope for the future, comfort. The Lord enables us to give these in a way, but not as thoroughly or intimately as He can. Time, emotions, circumstances, and thoughts do not shift at our Word as they do His. Thank the Lord that He is so kind in expressing His love for us in kindnesses like these.

And we see this in our lives, don’t we? When we ask Him and He gives so personally, so clearly. His good gifts are more than we could ever imagine: families, friends, relationships, scenery, moments, laughs….those things that help us to understand awe, wonder, and fulfilling intimacy. That wave of peace that has no explanation. The small mistake that upsets our day for the better.

Praising the Lord today for His kindness in all the good gifts- big and small that He gives. Thanking Him most for His kindness in delighting to have us near to Him.

How are you reveling in His kindness?

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