Sin

Embezzling from God

For so many Christians, books by Tolstoy, Churchill, Austen, and Lewis gather dust on their shelves. CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays, and MP3s from Billy Graham, Joyce Meyer, Chuck Swindoll, and others sit in their cabinets. Bibles are likely found in nearly every room, concordances, too. They have Biblegateway’s app on the iPhones and Watchman Nee’s “Sit, Walk, Stand” book can be found in their bathrooms.

They are surrounded by vast knowledge, grand declarations of the one true God’s charity towards humanity and His profound, powerful teachings and prophecies, yet, none have touched their soul, none have affected their character. They starve in a garden of abundance.

Starvation usually leads to shameful actions.

In Amos, chapter 4, verses 4-6 we read, “Go to Bethel and sin; go to Gilgal and sin yet more. Bring your sacrifices every morning, your tithes every three years. Burn leavened bread as a thank offering and brag about your freewill offerings—boast about them, you Israelites, for this is what you love to do declares the Sovereign Lord. I gave you empty stomachs in every city and lack of bread in every town, yet you have not returned to me, declares the Lord.”

The Israelites were rich in the things of God, but they wanted something else, so they starved.

God further says in Amos 7:11-12, “The days are coming, declares the Sovereign Lord, when I will send a famine through the land—not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord. People will stagger from sea to sea and wander from north to east, searching for the word of the Lord, but they will not find it.”

Amos was prophesying to the chosen people of God. How much worse will it be for those of us grafted into the True Vine? We are already seeing a famine of God’s Word in the world.

Today, in our society, can we speak openly about the blood of Jesus? Can we say God judges people? Can we say that Jesus is the only way for salvation? That without salvation a person will be judged and damned to an eternity in hell? Can we warn the lost so that some may be saved? We can, but not without being “damned” by churches, by Christians.

Sinners need the righteous person to sin. You can see that by just being around an alcoholic. They cannot tolerate a person that won’t drink. That’s the same compulsion of a person trapped in sin. They can’t tolerate a person seeking righteousness.

Amos was filled with sorrow over what he saw that God would do to Israel; for God is a just and righteous God. Sin was celebrated, righteousness was degraded, and the poor receive neither justice nor mercy. The rich got richer while the poor poorer. As God said in Proverbs 29:7 “…the righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.” Sound familiar?

When Christians pray the Lord’s Prayer, take Communion / Eucharist, and then pray for things that are blatantly contrary to the will of God, they are using God’s name to pray against the one true God’s intent (i.e., will). This is embezzling! That’s right; if they do that, then they are signing God’s name to a check that He never authorized them to cash.

I pray that none of us will fall into the trap of using God’s name against the will of God. Always remember the words of that little book stuck in the back pages of the Old Testament; the book of Amos. God is an unchanging God.


Photo by Alexander Mils on Unsplash

Seed

Mark 4:3 “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed…”

For this parable from Jesus, we know the seed is the Word of God, and the ground is the person. The ground has the potential to be fruitful, but it’s the seed that determines the kind of fruit. If we receive the Word of God, then God’s fruit will be produced in our lives.

We don’t have the power to determine the kind of fruit, the Word (seed) has that power. So, if we let ungodly seeds get planted in us, then those seeds will produce their fruit in our lives. A seed of fear, a seed of lust, a seed of pride, each seed planted in us with the sole purpose of reproducing and multiplying after its kind.

So, what do we do when we’ve allowed an ungodly seed to be planted in us? We pray, as the Word says in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” The cleansing is God pulling the weeds, the fruit of the seeds that are not of God, that we allowed and even asked to be planted in us.

He’s the One that can get those weeds and their seeds of sin out of our lives, out of the ground in which they were planted. Of course, some of the ground clings to the roots of those weeds. Sin is not without a loss. We lose something every time we let those weeds grow; the more weeds, the more loss. I’m not speaking metaphorically. Parts of us are lost when those weeds get pulled. Just look at a person that has lived a life of unbridled sin; it’s physically evident.

I wonder the depths of regret I will have when my Lord judges me, and I learn whom God intended me to be but was withheld by my missing parts?

Photo by Marissa Lewis on Unsplash

Cardinal Sins

Now that we’ve made it through all the year-end holidays, I thought it might be good to visit something Pope Gregory 1st wrote. He’s the one that decided it would be a good idea to codify the deadly sins. Yes, the concept of “cardinal sins” or “deadly sins” was classified into Roman Catholic theology by Pope Gregory 1st in the sixth century. These cardinal sins are : 

  • Envy = the desire to have an item or experience that someone else possesses
  • Gluttony = excessive ongoing consumption of food or drink
  • Greed or Avarice = an excessive pursuit of material possessions
  • Lust = an uncontrollable passion or longing, especially for sexual desires
  • Pride = excessive view of one’s self without regard to others
  • Sloth = excessive laziness or the failure to act and utilize one’s talents
  • Wrath = uncontrollable feelings of anger and hate towards another person

Now I’m sure none of us have come even close to any one of these cardinal sins lately. But, it’s always good to revisit this list from time to time and do a quick checkup on how we’re doing as examples of Jesus in this world. As the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write in Romans 12:1 (NIV) “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.”

Photo by Artem Bali on Unsplash

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