Let’s examine definition, consequence of sin

Published 12:00am Saturday, February 23, 2013

There’s a story told about a Sunday that President Calvin Coolidge went to church and his wife did not get to go with him.  After the service, Mrs. Coolidge asked him about the topic of the minister’s sermon.  To which, President Coolidge replied, “Sin.”

“Well, what did the minister say about it?” Mrs. Coolidge inquired.  Her husband, known as a man of few words, said, “He was against it.”

Sin, although a little word, causes destruction and death – both spiritually and physically. Sin separates us from a vital relationship with God. “All have sinned,” according to Romans 3:23.  None of us measures up to God’s standard.

There’s a humorous saying, “It wasn’t the apple on the tree that ruined everything.  It was the pair on the ground.”  When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, they committed the original sin.  Every human being comes into this world born with a sinful nature.

Here’s a word picture I once read that helps explain this theological concept. “When you pick up an apple with a worm hole in it, you are inclined to think that a worm crawled onto the surface of the apple, liked it, and bored the hole from the outside. This is generally not the case. Rather, a worm lays an egg in an apple blossom and the egg hatches in the core of the apple. The hole that you see indicates that the worm has bored its way out from within.”

One of my favorite authors, Oswald Chambers, has written, “The essence of sin is the refusal to recognize that we are accountable to God at all.”  We tend to look at sin on a sliding scale – some sins are worse than others. It’s been said, “Sins are like car headlights.  The other fellow’s are always more glaring than our own.” The root of sin can be found in the middle letter of the word – I.

Author Tim Keller has written a description of sin’s consequences, “When you sin with the mind, that sin shrivels the rationality.  When you sin with the heart or the emotions, that sin shrivels the emotions.  When you sin with the will, that sin destroys and dissolves your willpower and your self-control….Sin destroys freedom because sin is an enslaving power.

“In other words, sin has a powerful effect in which your own freedom, your freedom to want the good, to will the good, and to think or understand the good, is all being undermined.  By sin, you are more and more losing your freedom.  Sin undermines your mind, it undermines your emotions, and it undermines your will.”

I’ve heard ministers say, “Sin will take you farther than you ever wanted to go, cost you more than you ever wanted to pay, and keep you longer than you ever wanted to stay.”

The good news is that though the wages of sin is death, “the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Oswald Chambers put it this way, “The only reason for the forgiveness of our sins by God, and the infinite depth of His promise to forget them, is the death of Jesus Christ.”

 

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Jan White is an award-winning religion columnist.  Her email address is jwhite@andycable.com.

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