Our Response to Sin
People sin around us all day every day. If you are on social media or the news, sin is plastered from dawn to dusk and even after that! We even engage in it from time to time ourselves when we forget who we are now in Christ. What is our response to ourselves or to others when this happens? What we think, say, and believe can tell us a lot about where our faith is and what we understand about the gift of righteousness in Christ.
Here are some questions to consider. Do you find yourself doing any of these when you see someone else sin?
- Do we ask or expect judgment for the sins of others?
- Do we gleefully wait for others to fall into the same traps they have set for us?
- If we see someone make the same mistake over and over again, do we look forward to seeing “the other shoe drop” on them? When we are the ones making a mistake repeatedly, do we also look forward to those same consequences in our own lives?
- Or worse yet, are we replaying the sins others have committed against us and reminding God of them, expecting Him to bring vengeance on them for our pains and trouble?
To Bring Awareness, Not Condemnation
If you recognize yourself in any of these scenarios, you are in good company. The Sons of Thunder, James and John, didn’t get their nicknames because they liked monster truck rallies! Luke 9:51-56 says,
Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem. And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, ‘Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?’ But He turned and rebuked them, and said, ‘You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.’ And they went to another village.
The Sons of Thunder knew that rejection of the Messiah was a serious offense that required punishment. They just didn’t understand that the Lion of Judah was also the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.
We Have a Different Spirit
The Spirit that drove Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil and then towards His crucifixion in Jerusalem is the same Spirit holding back the fire of heaven against the rejection of Jesus in this little village outside of Jerusalem.
Sin demands a payment of blood for it to be remitted —without blood there is no forgiveness. Hebrews 9:22 says,
And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
Jesus willingly provided His own blood for the sacrifice for our sins, and for the sins of the whole world.
Changing the Perspective On Sin
When your sin cries out for payment and your heart winces from the heavy load of condemnation, remember the blood of Jesus speaks of your redemption and the complete payment of your sins.
Picture His blood crying out for you! Imagine His spotless, brilliant white robes of righteousness covering you. This was God’s idea. He didn’t want to mark your sins against you. He understood that you couldn’t possibly avoid the sinful nature you were born into, so He made His own way to save you. Psalm 130:3-4 says,
If You, Lord, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with You,
That You may be feared.
If God were to hold us accountable for any of our sins, who could stand before Him? Only Jesus. And He stood condemned in our place, so we can stand in His righteousness. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says,
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
As we learn to receive this free gift of righteousness and release the guilt of our sin and shame to Jesus, we find that we don’t have to hold on to the sins of others against us either. Knowing how forgiven and free we are, the Holy Spirit will lead us to pray and forgive others as well.
God Asks Us to Pray for Our Enemies
When God finally answered Job’s criticisms at the end of the book of Job, He then instructs Job to pray for his critical friends. Did they deserve God’s wrath? Definitely! Job 42:7 says,
It came about after the Lord had spoken these words to Job, that the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, ‘My wrath is kindled against you and against your two friends, because you have not spoken of Me what is right as My servant Job has.’
But in God’s mercy, He asked Job to intercede on their behalf and ask Him for His forgiveness for them. Job was allowed to stand as an early example of what Jesus Christ would ultimately do for us on the cross—intercede for us and plead for our forgiveness and restoration with God.
Final Encouragement to Know Whose You Are
When we are tempted to pray for the judgment of God to fall on our enemies, or we find ourselves rejoicing when we see someone getting their “just desserts,” we need to stop this line of thinking immediately and repent. We have forgotten what manner of Spirit we are of—not the spirit of condemnation from the world, but the Spirit of Life and Peace with God through faith in Jesus Christ. Here is one final scripture to meditate on:
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.