WHAT CAN SIN DO TO US?

“Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person  that defiles them.”

Sin never comes from outside, it comes from the inside. The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked.

For I was BORN A SINNER–yes, from the moment my mother conceived me

For I THINK SINFUL–everything I think or imagine is bent toward evil from childhood

For MY WORKS ARE SINFUL–I have fallen short of God’s glorious standard

For EARTH IS CURSED–God said, the ground is cursed because of you

Above are few interesting facts about sin which we had read earlier in the Mega Article which gave us an overall view of sin. But to be specific we need to know that sin has deadly consequences and when we commit sin we face THREE major consequences that can affect not only our earthly life but also our eternity. Let me explain them one after the other:

1. Strains Our Relationships:

How can I forget the years I wasted living a debauched life. From June 2009 to September 2011 my father never called me “SON” though both of us were under one roof. I was deprived of my father’s love. I was in such malady, my days and nights were spent in wetting my pillow, just to hear the word “SON”. I don’t blame him for not talking to me those days because I was wrong. I faced rejection and broken relationships with every human being and moreover with Jesus. Life seemed to me burdensome, cursed and death was looking like the solution for freedom from all worries.

Sin destroys our relationship with the Environment , with other Human Beings, with Self and  above all with GOD. We become hostile to God. Our relationship gets strained as I had with my father because of my sin against him and God.

2. Hostage of Guilt: We suffer with guilt of doing wrong to someone and committing sin against ourselves as well as God. Guilt literally eats us daily. I have another true story to vouch my words.

In the high school, she had friendship with her classmate boy. Though she didn’t like his behavior, she was emotionally very much inclined towards him. In their tender age they did a big mistake. She was the hostage of her sin, depression and guilt started eating her daily. The havoc of time didn’t allow her to express her inner pain to anyone. Though she was living a good life from outside but there was too much of chaos in her. Fear of rejection from her own and the guilt of sin capsized her hope of a better future. Suicide seemed the last option for her. She felt so obsessed by her sin that whatever happened around her, she started blaming herself though most of the time cases were different. It felt her good to lock herself and she thought it was right to stay aloof. Though she was fearful of death but death stood the ultimate choice. And it all happened because she was forced to surrender herself one afternoon.

3. Eternal Death: As we are spiritual beings with a body, mind and spirit we live for eternity. Our body may end when we are dead but our spirit lives for eternity. But when our spirit is soiled by sinful acts of us on this earth we face eternal death. We face eternal death when our sins are not forgiven or blotted out by God Himself. We might try to patch up with good works but it never rescues us from the guilt and condemnation within us.

John Bunyan said, “One leak will sink a ship: and one sin will destroy a sinner.”

Though by birth, by thought, by work and by living we all are sinners yet God has given us the freedom of choice. When we take the freedom of choice in absolute it takes our eternity in account. The creation of human is so enigmatic that God has put eternity in us and alongside He gave us the freedom of its sustainability. Taking freedom as absolute is sin and it ultimately gives pathway to Guilt – Condemnation and Eternal Death.

Friends, the Bible says, “Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster.” The choice is ours.

God the one who created us in His image is so loving and gracious that, He always keeps an EXIT door for us from sinning. Whenever we are tempted or about to commit Sin, there is always an EXIT point.

Avinash

SIN – A MESSY STATE OF MAN

Five-year old Blessy came back from school scared that day. The Dictation answer sheets had been distributed in class and she had committed two mistakes, thus losing two marks. She thought she had written all correct spellings and hoped to score full marks. Now what awaited her was a nice piece of her mother’s mind. She debated within herself whether to show the answer sheet to her mother or hide it. Finally she decided to show it. After all, her mother was going to find it sooner or later! With shaky hands and lowered eyes, she extended the answer sheet to her mother after dinner – all the time thinking what excuse she could give. Her wise mother brought out the text book from the school bag, turned to the chapter, showed Blessy the correct spellings and explained that anything other than those mentioned spellings, are wrong.

Mistake

Wrong

Error

We use these words interchangeably in our everyday lives to indicate any deviation from the norm. Anything that is not correct, is considered incorrect. Anything that is not right, is considered wrong. To declare whether something is incorrect or wrong or erroneous, we need to have the knowledge of what is correct or right or the norm. Absence of standards renders mistakes/errors/wrongs into irrelevance – just as without traffic rules, adherence to / violation of traffic rules is insignificant.

AN UNCHANGEABLE STANDARD

Violation of absolute moral laws put in place by the Creator is called sin. All moral law begins with God. We cannot speak of sin without mentioning God. It is because of the presence of a self-existing and pre-existing God, that there are absolute moral laws in place for the whole of mankind even before civilizations emerged. Culture defines civilizations. Education and development refine human functioning. Awareness empowers the human mind. The Constitution of a country establishes the law of the land. All such standards are very essential for the civilized functioning and growth of the human race. However, they are subject to modifications and amendments according to the changing times. To give an example – today we have Cyber Crime cells in place, in the law and order systems of most countries; decades before, they were non-existent. God’s moral laws, however, are uniformly meant for the entire mankind for all times to come irrespective of nationality, ethnicity, sex, race, caste, language, socio-economic status or occupation. That is why God’s laws are absolute! His standards are unchangeable even in the changing times. This is because, God Himself doesn’t change.

In the Bible, God declares, “For I am the Lord, I change not.”  

Hence, violation of God’s standards, is sin.

ALL SIN IS SIN AGAINST GOD

We cannot substitute words like ‘mistake’, ‘error’, ‘wrong’, for sin. These substitute terms hold good for violation of human standards. But, not to refer to the violation of the absolute moral standards of God. Hence, mere euphemisms do not reduce the gravity of violating God’s standards. All sin, whether it harms us or others or no one in particular, is ultimately against the Holy God.                                   

A PERVERSION OF GOD’S DESIGN

Human beings have been created in God’s image to reflect His glory. What a high mandate for us! No sin dwells in God. Hence, no sin ought to find place in our lives. But when we sin, we mar the very image of God and raise our hands against God’s glory. We attempt to distort God’s design!

NO EXCUSE FOR SIN

The legal frameworks of many countries have the provision of not convicting people accused of legal aberrations if they are in the ripe old age. The heads of countries and certain government officials enjoy legal immunity till they are in power, for any action of omission or commission. However, there is no excuse whatsoever for sin against God. A sinful man is without excuse. Sin is sin irrespective of the age at which it is committed or the circumstances under which it may be committed. Because we have been created in the image of God, we have His moral law etched in our hearts. This rules out ignorance / lack of awareness as an excuse for sin.

The Bible says, For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”

SIN  CAN NEVER BE HIDDEN

“For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.”

All sinful deeds committed under the table, behind closed doors, in the darkest corners, in mountain holes or in the deep seas stand exposed before the Omniscient God. People around us may remain ignorant of the petty or humongous misdeeds committed by us. But, you and I can never escape the All-seeing eyes of the One who watches everything.

SIN HAS CONSEQUENCES – ON EARTH AS WELL AS IN ETERNITY

A spelling mistake in exam would result in less marks and scolding from parents/tutors. A typo in an important document would lead an employee to wash his/her hands off the job. A misprint in the wedding invitation card may lead guests to land up at the wrong venue. Similarly, sin’s consequences are inescapable. To give an example – A person fiddling with multiple sexual partners is bound to suffer from STDs, apart from other social and emotional consequences.

“For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing…”

INTENSITY IS NOT THE DEFINING PRINCIPLE OF SIN

A sin is a sin if it violates God’s standards, no matter whether it is measured as big or small by the world. And God’s standards are really high. The Bible says –

“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’  But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment.”

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

So, if we have been categorizing murder, robbery, rape as grave sins and dismissing petty lies, cheating, anger, bribery as circumstantial acts of misdeed, it’s time for a reality check!

As long as we are in the flesh, we are susceptible to sin. The Bible says, “…each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin…”

It is easy to brush aside this whole concept of sin which tends to make one pretty uncomfortable. But, it is not right to live each day ignoring the fact that we may be sinning in multiple ways. Such an understanding would ultimately lead to a doomed eternity, as our sinful thoughts, words and actions are bound to come before us one day. Sin calls for repentance and repentance leads to seeking forgiveness from God and man.

Friends, living in sin equals to dying to God. Let’s not mess with sin. Let’s seek to remove the shadow of sin from our lives.

 

ETERNAL HOPE

That night when the world rested in deep slumber,

My mind played tricks within me in numbers.

Day and date I have passed to the oblivion now

But the consequence demanded my immediate bow.

Loneliness, abandonment, hurt, hatred, low esteem had taken deep roots;

Hours of weeping and lamentation were its flourishing fruits!

Darkness had shrouded my vision and shut the doors of hope

Giving me nothing but tears to mope.

The pain within, I could no longer take

Nothing could console my heartache.

I felt like a complete colossal failure in life

Giving another chance appeared a vain strive

I therefore wanted to end it once and for all

But my plans were disrupted with a phone call

An acquaintance offered a listening ear

I spitted my frustrations for her to hear,

Then said she with a voice so calm

“Do yourself no harm!”

“The One who created you knows you by name

He can’t see you go this lame!

He will never leave you all alone

Acknowledge the love that He has always shown

Fearfully and wonderfully have you been made,

To give you life , His  He had laid

You are precious to Him you now must know

Wherever He will lead you, you must go

Give all your burdens unto Him

And enjoy His love, happiness and blessings to the brim!”

Almost two years back, when I was in my first year in college, away from home for first time in life. I was having a tough time without any mental support or a friend to share my struggles with. My grades were going down and I was feeling like a complete failure in life. Feelings of loneliness, rejection, failure and pain had overwhelmed me to the point that I was planning to give up my life. One of my friends called me up and prayed for me over the phone. I felt God talking to me inter personally and saying to ‘caste all my cares and worries upon Him’ It gave me a new strength, a new hope to rise up and face challenges no matter how GIANT they be. I have found my hope in Christ alone. Even today the difficulties that I face, God gives me the courage to move on and face them. I am eternally thankful to God! I hope you find your hope in Him too.

Trust me, HE WILL NEVER FAIL YOU!

ASSURED HOPE

Hope springs eternal in the human breast;

Man never is, but always to be blessed:

The soul, uneasy and confined from home,

Rests and expatiates in a life to come.

– Alexander PopeAn Essay on Man

His school teacher called him ‘addled’ or ‘mentally ill’. He was deemed unfit for school education in the 1800s as he was dyslexic, though research on dyslexia began only in the 1900s.  Because of constant labeling and lack of help and support from the school front, the boy’s mother met the school authorities and said, “All right, I am hereby taking my son out of your school. I’ll instruct him at home myself.” The little boy, who could hardly believe his ears, looked up at his mother, the wonderful woman who believed in him and promised himself that he would make his mother proud of him. And he did that! Thomas Alva Edison held more than 1000 patents for his inventions which included the incandescent electric light bulb and the phonograph among others. Later in life, Edison said, “My mother was the making of me. She was so true, so sure of me; and I felt I had something to live for, someone I must not disappoint.” His mother’s faith in him gave Edison a hope for the future.

Bethany Hamilton lost her left arm at the age of 13 when she was attacked by a 14-foot tiger shark while surfing off Kauai’s North Shore. Having begun competitive surfing since she was 8 years, she felt her world darken after the attack. In Bethany’s words, “As I grew up with one arm and relearned how to surf, God taught me that He can take the hard times that I went through and turn them into something beautiful. I think that He can do that for each and every one of you. He can take what you have been through and use it for good if you are willing to share what He has done for you.” Hamilton is 26 years old now and enjoys the companionship of a wonderful husband and a son. Her story has been beautifully captured in the movie SOUL SURFER, and continues to inspire others not to give up on themselves…or on God.

Nick Vujicic was born in Melbourne, Australia with phocomelia, a rare disorder characterized by the absence of legs and arms. Throughout his childhood, Nick dealt not only with the typical challenges of school and adolescence, such as bullying and self-esteem issues, he also struggled with depression and loneliness as he questioned why he was different from all the other kids. He couldn’t get the haunting question of “Why was I the one born without arms and legs?” out of his head. He wondered if he would ever find love, marry and hold anyone in his arms. Nick is 34 today and is blessed with a loving wife and two precious sons. In Nick’s words, “Often people ask how I manage to be happy despite having no arms and no legs. The quick answer is that I have a choice. I can be angry about not having limbs, or I can be thankful that I have a purpose….I found the purpose of my existence, and also the purpose of my circumstance. There’s a purpose for why you’re in the fire. If God can use a man without arms and legs to be His hands and feet, then He will certainly use any willing heart.”  

These are some stalwarts whom hope kept alive. Not only did they have a mere existence, but a fulfilling life impacting millions across the globe.

More than 2000 years ago when man remained doomed for eternity, God Almighty stepped down from His Heavenly glory to reach out to man – to reconcile sinner men to a Holy God. With the birth of Jesus Christ – God as man, the threat of condemnation was removed and the gateway of eternal life was held wide open. As a child, I used to think whether life was all about eating, drinking, studying, working, having a family, doing good to others, having faith in God and so on… What after that? Is there anything to look forward to beyond this? Then the following Scripture portion created a hope for eternity with God within me:

“However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — the things God has prepared for those who love him…”   

I wish to extend the same HOPE to all the readers today. No matter how trying your life has been, there is HOPE. No matter how this year has been till now, there is HOPE. There is HOPE not because of the assurance that things would be perfect in the days to come, but because of the assured strength that God gives to those who love Him in the midst of suffering and trials. 

Here’s wishing you HOPE this Christmas and an assured HOPE for the New Year!!!

ETERNAL POSSESSIONS

 

Often I have thought that in the event of an earthquake or a sudden calamity – natural or man-made, if I am to run out of my house what all would I be able to carry out with me…!!

Books (I am a book-lover)? ATM card? Voter Id card? PAN card? Gold and cash? Favourite clothes? Mobile phone? Laptop? Certificates and other documents? What would I be able to quickly carry along with me? What is so precious that I would want to quickly grab it with me while rushing out?

Well, when you see the roof above starting to crumble before you or the ground below slip from under you what can you think of but to run for your life? Can you think of anything or anybody else other than your own life? Most people would not.

The value of things / people are best estimated under critical circumstances!

The articles of this week must have aroused many thoughts in the minds of readers. I’m sure all must have spared at least a minute’s thought to ponder over the most prized possession of their lives.

People around us are indeed valuable. But, most of us do not consider people to be our prized possessions till we lose them. Let’s love people while they are with us and not simply shed tears over their graves.

Friends stick around when all others go their ways. They lend a hearing ear when needed and a supporting shoulder to lean on. Invaluable treasure is the companionship of a trustworthy friend. To love others around and to experience the love of others around is far more priceless than gold and silver, emeralds and rubies. Love and friendship are precious – those who have tasted them know their worth.

The wise king David says, “Children are a heritage from God…” How true! How sweet it is to hold a baby and savour the joys of parenthood! Yes, it involves hard work to raise children, but the delight of seeing one’s baby/ies before one’s eyes is matchless.

Life is a fleeting collection of memories. Every event of today becomes a memory for tomorrow. Some memories are sweet while some are sour. Nevertheless, memories do leave an indelible mark on the human mind. They are valuable! The day your child took his / her first steps, the day you were declared the topper of your school / college, the day your partner proposed you – all are priceless memories.

Life is a blessing from God. Every breath that we breathe is a valuable gift from the life-giver. What can substitute human life after all! Who can realize this stark truth other than the one who has escaped from the jaws of death! Life on earth is valuable – much more than any other gem or jewel. Our lives and the lives of others are precious. When I see and hear of mindless murders all around, I wonder why people cannot value the lives of others. How can they raise their hands to kill? Well, that’s a different issue altogether. But yes, let’s learn to value our lives and live to the fullest potential. Let’s treasure the lives of others around and treat them with dignity.

However more than our earthly lives, let’s yearn for the priceless treasures of heaven. The Scripture says –

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Let’s strive to store up treasures in heaven which would remain with us for eternity!