Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Why We Talk About Sin 2

First, a more theological response...Before we can really appreciate why the gospel is "good news", we should first seek to understand how bad the bad news really is. And that's why we talk about sin.

The Bible says in many places that God's desire has been to save/rescue/set free His people. The question that must be asked is, "From what do we need to be saved/rescued/set free?" There are lots of things that could be mentioned here, but I'll let Paul do the talking, from Ephesians 2.

Paul begins this chapter by saying that at one time we were all dead in our sins (Eph. 2:1). In other words, we were unresponsive to God. The reason for this was that we were slaves. First, we were following the ways of the world. When Paul speaks of "the world" here, he is referring to the earthly system that opposes God's reign. Think about the The Matrix here. It wasn't until you were outside the Matrix that you realized the truth, that everyone in the Matrix was a slave. And the crazy thing was that they didn't even know it. That's how we were.

Next, Paul brings up Satan. The Bible says (and Bob Dylan later echoes it) that we all "Gotta Serve Somebody." If our allegiance is not to God, then it's to somebody else. And the Bible says that Satan is "the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4). So when we were dead in our sins, our allegiance was to Satan instead of to God.

Now I know that most people don't consider themselves to be loyal to Satan. So if you're not buying that one, hang in there for this last one. Paul says that the third thing we were captive to were the passions of our flesh. All that means is this: we're in charge, and we do what we want to do when we want to do it. But this is also why the things that we fill ourselves with in hopes of bringing satisfaction or meaning often leave us unsatisfied or even empty. St. Augustine said it this way: "You (God) have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in You." To be held captive by the passions of your flesh means that your heart is restless, and nothing other than God will fully satisfy.

So before God stepped in, sin held us in such a way that there was no way that we could be who were created to be. And that's bad news. However, Paul doesn't end with bad news. The rest of Ephesians 2 contains words such as mercy, love, grace and kindness. This is who God is, and this is where good news comes. The Gospel says that God, because of His great love for us, came and redeemed dead slaves (that's us). However, this redemption cost something: His Son, Jesus. Jesus' death brought our freedom, and that is extremely good news!

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