What is sin? For myself, following the Biblical law, sin is missing the mark of God’s holiness. Seems nebulous and vast. An abyss of its own; a place where one can look down and see an endless darkness because, quite frankly, holiness is something no man attains while alive on this earth. Never will you find me kissing the ring on the finger of a holy man for that ‘holy’ man is an affront to the true holiness of God, by dint of the claim of his mantle. There’s a difference in being God’s man and a so-called holy man. There is no such thing as the latter on this earth. I care not about semantics here.
Since the transgressions of humanity know no bounds, then sin is, in fact, an abyss that can swallow us whole in every facet: mentally, spiritually, and physically. One doesn’t need to be a man of faith to understand what happens when we willingly give into the desires that seek to drag us away from the immutable Laws of the Universe, patterns set in motion at the beginning of that universe.
But without faith, what are we to do? Well, there’s always sheer willpower. But sheer willpower wanes and ebbs. That’s whether one has faith or not. Many attempt to hold the religious hostage by reminding them that, hey, even with your God, you still sin! There’s no reason to argue this one back; it is without question true.
What God, specifically Christ, provides, is the only method with which sin can be dealt with so that it does not drag our very souls into the underworld, where prison and nothing more awaits us. Jesus Saves. How many times have you read it? Heard it? Is it true? What does He save us from?
He saves us from ourselves, our natural tendency to run, break the rules, break the laws of the universe; our natural inclination to follow our desires and passions above all else toward self-destruction. He saves us from the spiritual forces in the universe that seek to exacerbate those tendencies; the Dark Things that have no choice but to face an Eternal Underworld, thus they want us with them; a hatred seethes within them because we have access to what they do not: the possibility of seeing the Beloved God without the anger and judgment they will face.
He alone controls the entropy of sin. He alone can stop it. You’ve likely heard the story many times of how He did this: He became sin and through the triumph of the Cross and Resurrection, proved to be the only One who could satisfy God’s requirements to purchase back all those who did, have, and ever will sin. If this seems trite to you, I don’t blame you, as American Christianity has so watered this down as to be almost meaningless to so many, lost of any depth and value, and how it correlates with all we know about this universe we inhabit. I dare you right now to dig deeper. Forget about any church people who turned your stomach. They mean nothing. Dig into it, see what you find. The Word, I promise you, never comes back without value and wisdom.
And so as I watch the madness in the world unfold, I see the mirror of myself; my own ugliness and sin, my own desires to break free of His yoke at every turn, at every juncture. I’ve seen my excuses for my bad behavior. I’ve seen the entropy of sin that crept into my life over time. There have been moments of clarity so sharp that it almost broke me to see the truth.
So I turn to Him.
But that’s not the end, nor the beginning. For whom much is given, much is required. If Christ offers the only method with which to weed out and destroy that entropy and chaos in our lives we so glibly call ‘sin,’ then can I just pop into church on Sunday morning, sing a few hymns while thinking about Arby’s, go my merry way, and gain the gifts He offers?
What an insult to this gift. This God. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve insulted Him Myself. I don’t want to know. The weight might crush me.
I knew that as I began to see the depth of my own chaotic, entropy-mongering sins over the last few months that serious changes had to be made. “Lord, hear my prayer as a sinner,” was not going to be enough. After all, I’d been saying that for decades. I would ask Him to hear me constantly, with never the wherewithal to stop and listen.
I sought out mental clarity some months ago. I began removing things in my life that distracted me. Though I have not owned a TV in years, like any human, I simply found new ways to distract myself. One by one, I began to weed them out. For some time, there was little change. God did not waltz in a couple of weeks later and tell me how proud of me He was. I had to keep at it.
The Bible tells us to meditate on the Word of God. So does nearly every pastor who steps up behind the pulpit. We glibly dance the words off our tongues as though we understand them. I know that I did not. I’ve read the Bible, studied it, watched thousands of hours of lectures from brilliant men about it; I’ve read millions of words of commentary. This is all beneficial and I highly recommend it. But meditating? No, I was not doing that. More often than not, my Biblical studies were intellectual. Again, not bad, as my own Bible also tells me to study and show up approved by God.
Still, I remember one day I pulled this verse up, some two months back:
Joshua 1:9Names of God Bible (NOG)
9 “I have commanded you, ‘Be strong and courageous! Don’t tremble or be terrified, because Yahweh your Elohim is with you wherever you go.’”
I then proceeded to say it over and over in my head. For over an hour, I read it, re-read it. I sought out no commentary. I just pondered it. I talked to God about it. I asked Him what it meant. I meditated (do not confuse this with any Eastern form of meditation). I would not let the verse, the idea, the depth of what God is saying go until something clicked. And something did, but the next day, not within the time that I took with no distractions to meditate on it. Softly, God granted me the tidbit of wisdom I sought from the verse. After all:
James 1:5Names of God Bible (NOG)
5 If any of you needs wisdom to know what you should do, you should ask God, and he will give it to you. God is generous to everyone and doesn’t find fault with them.
I do not spend every single night meditating as I should. I am still new at this, which is almost shameful, considering my faith in Christ spans 34 years. But our world of comforts and distractions was a far better plan by the Dark Forces that rain down chaos and entropy on us that we really understand, for we are no programmed to interrupt stillness, to shun silence, and to ‘feel good about ourselves,’ constantly. Did I sin today? Well were I to follow the Christianity of today, then I merely need to buck up, pat myself on the back, and know that God loves me.
And my does He! But it is not in comfort and entertainment that we find out the depth of this love. It is when we sit down, turn everything off, and force the unthinkable upon ourselves: seeking out our ugliness, desiring to understand and eradicate it.
This is not legalism, for ‘trying harder’ not to sin will do us no good. We cannot ‘try harder,’ and succeed. To whom much is given, much is required, and the requirement to get out from under the whip of sin and its chaos and destruction is to do a lot more than turn the TV off at night for half and hour and dig out the ol’ Good Book.
I have found that silence is in order. Chaos really cannot abide silence. So for a while, my mind could not, as it was chaotic. There have also been moments of such clarity as to the depth of my own insults against my God that I serve that it overwhelmed me. But I continue to discover that each time I am overwhelmed, God steps in. I still feel as though I could crack under the weight of my failures, but He assures me that is not what He wants. Punishment is not His goal for His own. Admonishment and correction towards more contentment and a deeper understanding of His own laws, those of the universe, as well as how mankind functions, are the things that He desires.
More on this tomorrow…