October 9, 2023
Patty and I were listening to the first 8 verses of apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans. We recently realized channel surfing for new news or decent movies was becoming a futile effort, and the barrage of the same ads over and over and over again was becoming a real annoyance. Even the vaunted morning news programs — on all the TV stations — have started lengthy segments selling merchandise. We’ve decided it will be much more beneficial to the things that really matter to the existential essence of living, to listen even more to and to read even more oF the edifying passages of the Bible. Television is becoming less and less relevant. I remember the most pleasant years of my life have been with no TV in sight… So, I do recommend that people drop the contiguous use of electronic devices… Now, on to my essay…
The apostle Peter was correct in saying some precepts Paul wrote about are sometimes hard to understand. Paul was a lifelong student, while Peter was a fisherman. That doesn’t mean Paul was smart and Peter was stupid. It only means one wrote about the Gospel in a more complex way than Peter. It doesn’t mean they disagreed on the essentials of the Gospel message. It simply means they talked a little bit differently from one another. Just like we do. They both had encountered Jesus during His life before and after His death and resurrection. They both eventually accepted Him as the Messiah, the promised Redeemer, the Son of God. They both had turned away from their lives in the world and had personal revelations, learning from both Jesus and the Holy Spirit. They did not have the Bible or its availability as we know today. They actually wrote some of it. They did experience new life in Jesus, were Born Again Believers, and they testified to what that was like, and what they learned, and they wrote it all down. Their works remain today to give the opportunity to enlighten each and every one of us. They have shared with the world their wisdom and experience with the living God of the Bible. And they have done so humbly, not with puffed up, arrogant braggadocio.
Unfortunately, Mankind is not usually looking for enlightenment. To boot, we prefer following the braggarts rather than the unpretentious and wise persons. It seems we find it more entertaining. And entertainment is what life is all about! Right?
The world is sliding sideways, and we don’t even pretend to notice, and if we do notice, we fluff it off as triviality. Oh, well! In the Western World, we are too concerned with material wealth, comfort, and ever “newer” forms of entertaining ourselves for relief from the oppression of reality.. We have no time left over to bother with the ever expanding disasters facing the entire Earth. The apocalyptic end of the world? Yeah, right. Sci-fi! Cartoons!
Come on! Let’s dance!
Examples of society sliding sideways, over recent history, is the legalization of debilitating recreational drugs and the unlimited opportunities for gambling. Old religious mindsets referred to them both as sinful behaviors. The mindsets were not wrong, but the principle is not very relatable in the modern mind.
It’s sooo passé.
Since the Tower of Babel, Mankind has thought that they know a better way to enlightenment, to existential Paradise, than any other existing being. Even within Humanity’s broad dispersion, the consideration of the Nations around the world, there is no better way than party time.
These examples illustrate why the Bible’s most often used word, “sin” does not convey the full purpose and mind of God…
It simply does not connect. It simply does not compute.
Please. allow me to explain and try to get you to think, to consider…
Sin is, in its elementary practice, disobeying the Ten Commandments. This is true and important, and I am not discounting them, but it foments too shallow of an understanding and does not paint the full picture. Also, and quite frankly, nobody wants to hear it. We can, after all, do whatever we choose. So, I think we need a deeper understanding to know why God gave those laws in the first place.
So, why did He?
“I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”
One basic principle is that the Law is a framework for people living together and working together. Obeying the Law of God is how we can avoid hurting and harming one another and even collapsing our societies. Under the weight of chaos and hate, they are collapsing. Those Laws are a strong base for a civil society.
Today, we see less and less of civility, kindness , and prudence, but more and more rudeness, insolence and audacity. The examples of drugs and gambling above demonstrate harmful behaviors once entertained in darkened corners. Now they are promoted in full view. That is sinful.
Who cares if we choose to do those things?
God cares! Jesus cares! And They proved that They care.
So, why are they “sinful”?
Even without God, knowing the reason for legalization should shed some light and raise the suspicions of everyone. It should come as no surprise that it ain’t for your benefit! The reason they have been legalized is for one reason and one reason only: gleaning the harvest of profit and sustaining the tax base. In short, it’s for the worship of the world’s Trinity: profit, prestige, and power.
Who cares about families hurt and lives destroyed?
God cares and always will care.
“And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?”
And that is what “sinful” means: doing harm, serious harm in so many lives. And that is why God hates sin and why Jesus has made a way to eliminate sin in our lives.
Look. I have personal experience with sinfulness. Over the decades, I abused drugs; I abused alcohol; I went to Vegas and spent an afternoon winning lots of coins and feeding it all back into the slot machine… And what benefit did I reap? Brain damage. Got fired. Left with no money. These are examples of the harm we can do to ourselves and that without mentioning the hurt and the harm I caused for others. All this in the middle of my walk with Jesus. Why did my Heavenly Father put up with this stupid behavior?
Jesus. Only because of Jesus.
“There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death,”
God is like a good, good father who always tries to protect us from harm and wants to heal us from every hurt. We, with our rebellious nature, ignore the healthful while pursuing the harmful, never realizing that in our disobedience we are just hurting ourselves, our neighbors, and the civilized society we have been born into. We are not islands unto ourselves, but what we do usually has an expanding effect sometimes starting a whole new string of harmful events.
People protest, “But sin is so much fun!” Not as the Lord sees it and Obviously not as I have come to see it.
The Bible suggests a different path: We must be born again by the Spirit of God. Our inner person, our natural born spirit, needs a thorough washing and a complete overhaul to regain what God purposed reason for our existence.
Yes. God wants us to enjoy and appreciate everything He has provided for us — including one another — to be able to live life in all its God-given fullness. He created us and the entire Universe, and He therefore knows what will harm and what will benefit us.
The whole Bible is one gigantic parable in real three dimensional life with the purpose of our successful, healthful, enraptured, and eternal lives.
The Bible suggests a different path: We must be born again by the Spirit of God. Our inner person, our natural born spirit, needs a thorough washing and a complete overhaul to regain our God-purposed reason for being — to enjoy and appreciate everything God has provided for us, including one another, to be able to live life in all its God-given fullness.
“…what counts is the new creation.”