–   How Deep the Father’s Love For Us.

Last week a friend in all sincerity asked me, “What is sin?”

At the very least the controversy over militant demands for gay ‘Pride’ to be celebrated by hoisting their flag in conquest over Abbotsford, has generated a few meaningful discussions.

In reverse order:  Who decides?…….God, the only Lord and creator of the universe decides.

Who is a sinner?……..All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

What is sin?……..Anything that separates us from the love of God, our creator.

So what is the solution then, since even before we read his word, we know that neither we or the world around us is faultless?

And here is where Christianity departs from all other man-made religions.  The Bible is God’s revelation to us, his fallen people, and he tells us our condition is hopeless.  We have rebelled against him, and his wrath is made clear, but then so is his mercy and love.  God the Father sent his only Son, the sinless and holy Lord Jesus Christ to live among us, fully human, and fully divine.  And Jesus the sinless man died to pay the price for the sins of the world.

Jesus died a cruel death on a wooden cross, but that physical suffering was minute compared to the agony of our Saviour as he took on himself the crushing weight of every sin,…..every ugly, horrible deed or thought of all human beings who ever lived.  Jesus bore all the suffering that we endure because of our collective rebellion against the perfect will of God.

God offers the gift of forgiveness, freely extends what cost Jesus his life to purchase.  But the Bible also warns us not to harden our hearts and reject this invitation to be saved. Hell is eternal separation from our creator.

Christians get accused of being ‘holier-than-thou’, and I would agree.  We are.

When you give your life over to the One who loves you, and gave his life to set you free from the burden of your life of sin, you become a new creation.  The old life passes away, and a new life begins.  The Lord Jesus gives you his Holy Spirit, to live within you, so there is never again a time when you are separated from your God.  You have been born again.

Now God no longer sees you,……a rebellious sinner, but rather he sees you, washed clean, whiter than snow.

And it took the red blood of his only, his holy Son, suffering agony and death, to wash you to perfect spiritual purity.

And then you will be holy.  And it will never be because you could pull up your own socks.  God in mercy lifted you up and set you on a new road.

You must be born again.  But like a new-born baby, toddler, first-grader and on through the stages of life, you will stumble and make many mistakes.  Sometimes you’ll be defiant, knowing bad from good, and deliberately choosing the bad.  There are millions of forks in the road of life, and one bad choice can profoundly alter your course.

But if you really have asked Jesus to be Lord of your life, he will come to you when you repent, and he’ll pick you up again and dust you off and set you on your feet once more.  But the road with God leads upward.

We, the Christians are a holy people, but that holiness is in Jesus our Lord.  When we take our eyes off him and decide to go our own way we fall back into the dirt. God is our designer.  He wrote the manufacturers guide for the best way to operate our short time on earth, and we need to read his instructions regularly.

What is sin?  The list is endless.  Anything that separates you from your loving creator.  But its not complex.  God promises to dwell within us, to guide us, to give us his power to overcome.  He fills us with his peace that passes all understanding.

Richard and I have been singing with people who are old and waiting for death to lift them out of their decaying bodies.  We sing their familiar hymns, …. songs about our eternal God, and his great and wonderful love for the lost.  The sacrificial death of our Messiah, the hope for all eternity.

And as we sing to them, God in Christ invites you:  “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”