Archives For sin

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I read Hebrews 2:14-18 yesterday.  Read it slowly, out loud, a few times:

Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants.  For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

I am a person who struggles mightily with depression and anxiety. It comes and goes and is subject to a diverse array of stimulus.  I also have a lot of good ways of coping with it, which are sometimes enough to feel better and sometimes aren’t.

Usually when we think of Jesus’s atonement, we think of him as the substitute for our sins. We deserve a penalty for our sins, hell, and Jesus took that hell upon himself on the cross so we wouldn’t have to take it on ourselves for all eternity.  Then when the Judge looks at us, we are declared innocent (righteous). Not because of what we’ve done, but because of what Jesus did on our behalf.

All of this is true, praise be to God! But something even deeper hit me yesterday. Continue Reading…

The New York Post had a nude photo of Donald Trump’s wife Melania on its cover this week, with the title “Ogle Office.”  The photo was taken around 20 years ago, when Melania was 25 years old, in the thick of her modeling career and before she met Donald.  It was from a now defunct French men’s magazine, according to CNN.com.

Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump's daughter

Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump’s daughter

Ironically timed, there’s an article in today’s USA Today with Donald and son Eric’s thoughts on how (Donald’s daughter / Eric’s sister) 34-year-old Ivanka Trump would handle being sexually harassed.  Ivanka is a business woman and former model.  This was a response to a previous USA Today article where Donald says he thinks Ivanka should find a new job if she was being harassed in her workplace.  The articles, written by Mary Bowerman and Kirsten Powers respectively, both denounce Donald for insinuating it’s a woman’s fault if she’s sexually harassed.  Powers’ article sums up the feeling well in her last sentence:

All together now: Women don’t cause sexual harassment, harassers do.

Before I get in to my thoughts, let me say that I agree with Powers’ sentiment here.  As a pastor, I would re-frame it to say that a person (in this case the harasser) is responsible and accountable for their own sin.  No excuses.  Period. Continue Reading…

My sin makes me so tired.  This weekend I was really feeling the weight of it, and the conviction of the Holy Spirit.  Over time this led me to the joy and freedom that comes when we exchange confessing our sins for the grace of Jesus.  It is so healing to confess our sins to Jesus, he is always ready to forgive and restore us.  It’s also healing to confess our sins to one another.  James 5:16 tells us, Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

We don’t do enough confessing in Protestant circles, yet it brings a fresh tidal wave of grace each time we do.  While this blog is no substitute for real church community, it does serve as a virtual community of sorts.  As a way of experiencing Jesus’s grace with all of you, I want to confess my sins before you.  I will write them in the comment section, and I encourage you as a reader to write your own confession in the comment box below mine.  You don’t need to write a paragraph like I did, you can jump right into your list if you’d like.  (For this post, let’s keep all comments on the blog, not on Facebook) Feel free to put your name or to post anonymously.  After you write out your confession, please copy and paste the following Scriptures into your comment as you celebrate all Jesus has done for you:

Psalm 103:12     as far as the east is from the west,
        so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

Isaiah 1:18 Though your sins are like scarlet,
        they shall be as white as snow;

Romans 8:1       Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

Colossians 1:22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation

What Does the Bible Say About God’s Love for Me?

In the gospel, you are:

Loved (John 3:16)

Qualified (Colossians 1:12)

Righteous (Romans 3:21-22)

Accepted (Romans 15:7)

Complete (Colossians 2:10 NLT)

Reconciled (Colossians 1:22)

Holy (Colossians 1:22)

Blameless (Colossians 1:22)

Without Blemish (Colossians 1:22)

Free (Galatians 5:1)

Free from Accusation (Colossians 1:22)

Forgiven (Colossians 2:13)

Valuable (Matthew 6:26)

God’s Friend (John 15:15)

God’s Wife (Ephesians 5:31-32)

God’s Child (Romans 8:14-17)

An Heir (Romans 8:17)

The gospel simply means “good news.”  Jesus came to bring us good news.  The bad news is that we are sinful and God is holy (perfect, righteous) and thus we are eternally separated from him.  The good news is Jesus took our sin on the cross and killed it, replacing it with his perfection.  This good news is what allows us to be back in relationship with a holy God.  If you have received this gospel of Jesus’s, the words above are what the Bible says you are right now.  I encourage you not to read through this list quickly and cognitively, but take extended time (days) to let each word sink in.  Ask God, “Is this word really true about me?” and see what He says.  If you find it is indeed true, you no longer have to look anywhere else for it.