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Sunday, March 22, 2009

"We, The Ugly Heap of Sinful Humanity.... "

I know, all the posts these days have been on sermons - sorry about that. Actually I'm not. Sermons are good for you and the more the better! On that note, I'll launch into this one... :)

Mr. Harrod ~ Faith in Action #15 ~ Sin defined & applied ~ James 4:17
22 March 09'

Do we need to redefine sin? Often, when we think of sin, we class it in terms of 'doing bad stuff'. Unfortunately sin lies even deeper than the more outward show of, for instance, swearing, stealing or murdering. Jesus says in Mathew 5, that hating someone without cause, or lusting after someone, is the same as murdering or being an adulterer at heart. James talks more to the point of defining hidden layers of sin, when he says in James 4:17 that when we know to do good and do not do it, we sin. By the standards of God, we are murderers, adulterers at heart and we all miserably fail to do the good we know to do. Add to that all the other Ten Commandments we've broken, and you end up with an ugly heap of sinful humanity. :(

Traditionally, sin has been put into two different categories: The sin of omission and the sin of commission. These are fairly self-explanatory: omission is not doing the good thing you know you should do. The sin of commission is doing the (bad) thing you know you shouldn't do.

It's interesting that James does NOT say that when we fail to do good when we know we should, this is a mistake. He doesn't brush it away. Without exception, says James, it's sin.
All good fans of Spider Man will know that with great power, comes great responsibility. What James is getting at here is that with great knowledge (which is power) comes great responsibility. So...

- Once we're converted, we have absolutely no excuse for not doing good.
- God has given us everything, therefore, disobedience to Him is all the more heinous.

The Pharisees are great examples of people who microscopically kept the law, and failed to understand the big deal of Scripture: they'd tithe their ten percent on everything, even on bunches of mint - but would utterly fail to love their neighbour and see their own sin. It feels so good though, to have a group of people you can point the finger at and condemn - it makes us feel better about ourselves. Here comes the hard line: We are so often exactly like them. Often we go to church and bible study and feel churched for the week- get our dose of holiness, something like a drug but without the addiction.

- note - The sad thing is, it's not as though we always just fail to do good. Much of the time we aren't even thinking that doing good is something we should be doing - we wait for something to come up and then consider whether or not we should exert ourselves... instead of thinking up new ways that we can do good works, we wait for opportunities. Often, waiting for opportunities is a waste of God's time. He's given us brains, we're His new creation. We should be actively seeking new ways in which we can be in service to God- (more often than not, this means doing the measly jobs noone else wants to do, cheerfully and for Him). - end of note-

So. To sum up, our knowledge MUST flow through into action.

-What do we do? We're all totally riddled with sin when we judge ourselves us by this standard. The standard in James 4:17 beats me totally - I'm a dead dog when I measure myself by it. But-

God has sent His Spirit to us, to work in us and in our lives - through Him we can really-and-truly do good works for Him. Not only does He help us to do them, He helps us to want to do them.

This is exciting stuff. Wouldn't it be amazing if we christian brothers and sisters could build each other up to "love and good works"? All of us becoming rebels to what our society believes we should do with our lives - being totally immersed in scripture and growing more in love with God every day - then showing our love for God and the people around us, and doing good works...


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