Love's Most Amazing Story ... Part II
"Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."1
The question is asked, "If God loves us unconditionally, why is he so vehemently opposed to our sin?" It is because sin is so completely destructive of human personality. It totally destroys those whom God loves—us. Nevertheless, God still loves the sinner. That's why he gave his Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us. And now, through Christ's death God can save us from our self-destructive sin.
Sometimes we view God as a hard taskmaster running around with a "big stick" waiting to rap us on the knuckles if we break his commandments. In fact, one person I knew felt that if he committed certain sins, God would actually kill him.
This false view of God is usually formed in childhood. If, for example, we had a very punitive earthy father or mother, we tend to feel that God, the Heavenly Father, is exactly the same. But God isn't like that at all. In fact, we can totally ignore or reject him, and he will still keep on loving us.
Sometimes we falsely see sin only as specific acts that God happens to oppose. But sin is much more than this. We tend to see only the external acts, but God sees the heart, too. He is just as concerned with sins of the spirit—pride, jealously, lust, greed, envy, hatred, false motives, emotional dishonesty, resentment and other super-charged negative emotions (including the ones we have repressed and consequently denied)—as he is with such things as murder, rape, and stealing. In fact, many of our external sins are the symptoms of our inner, hidden sins that are equally or some even more destructive than the ones we can see.
In his excellent book, The Art of Understanding Yourself, Dr. Cecil Osborne wrote, "It is extremely naive to think of sin simply as an isolated act—a lie, a theft, immorality, dishonesty, etcetera—for sin is all that is less than perfection. It is rejecting God—'falling short' of the perfection which God envisioned for us. Sin is being impaired, not simply performing a wicked act. It is having impaired relationships and attitudes. It is being less than whole. It is having mixed motives. Sin is the clever rationalization by which we seek to escape from facing ourselves. It can consist in responding to a set of rigid moralistic 'oughts' rather than obeying the spirit of God which dwells within us," and then feeling very self-righteous about our pious attitude and behavior.
To be concluded…
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to grasp the destructiveness of sin and understand why you are so opposed to it. Help me to see my sinfulness, confess it to you, and ask for your forgiveness. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Romans 5:7-9 (NIV).