Sin

Sin is falling short of God’s kind of goodness.

We like to categorize sins as major and minor, and that might be useful for writing laws and operating a police force but should not be used to assuage our consciences. Anyway, we do a very poor job of ranking sins.

Sexual immorality comes to the mind of most Americans when the word “sin” is mentioned. In the Ten (Exodus 20:1–17) there are nine other commandments also listed.

If asked, most of us would rate Sodom’s sin as infinitely worse than any sin in the Galilean town of Capernaum. In fact, you may not even be aware of what Capernaum’s sin was (although you are sure you know what Sodom’s sin was. But see Ezekiel 16:49f). However, see what Jesus said about this: “And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day. Nevertheless I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.” (Matthew 11:23f)

So, we should acknowledge three things.
1. We are bad at comparing sins (see above).
2. The result of sin, any sin great or small, is death. (Romans 6:23)
3. All of us are sinners. (Romans 3:23)

Thankfully, the story does not end there. Our Lord Jesus Christ gave Himself to satisfy God’s totally fair judgment against us and to clothe us in His own kind of righteousness.

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.” (Romans 5:8–9)

Leading

“The LORD is my shepherd,…He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” (Psalm 23:1…3)

God promises to lead you, and He will lead you. But, God is not some super-genie you can control by saying, “If the next stoplight is green when I reach it, then I should buy the new car.”

There are hundreds of examples in the Bible of God’s leading. These include through prayer, by Scripture, through the words of another, through laws, by angels, through circumstance, and even (Numbers 22) by a donkey who spoke. There is even a book in the Bible where God is seen to control events without ever being mentioned (Esther).

We like to say, “I felt led to do it.”
We like to say, “God opened the door.”
And we like to point to a verse in the Bible and say it “spoke to us” in some special way.

Acting on some feeling can be dangerous. Trying to interpret circumstances can easily confuse life challenges with closed doors. And, taking a verse out of context to support some decision can be treating God’s Word like a magic book.

But God’s Word is there to lead us, His Spirit moves our hearts, and He is the blessed controller of all things (Romans 8:28). The best approach when seeking God’s leading or when it comes to you unsought, is to make sure all three line up.

Spirit – Signs – Scripture

Like the blue lights that mark runways on the approach, when these three line up you know which way to go.

Learn to listen to God’s small voice in your conscience and mind. Watch what is happening around you. Know the Scriptures so as to be able to distinguish godliness from the false.

And above all else, talk about what you are considering with someone whose spiritual maturity you respect.

Believe

“Believe in the Lord Jesus…” (Acts 16:31).

Salvation involves a turning from sin and a turning to God through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Faith is not strictly a process of logic, although there is nothing illogical in it. Believing is reasonable but is not the product of reason alone. Many have come to Christ after an examination of the evidence.

On the other hand, faith is not strictly a process of the heart. The desire to experience forgiveness, the emotions of release, and the hope of eternal life are as real as anything else in this life. But, believing is not just a feeling.

To believe is to lean the whole weight of one’s being on the Lord Jesus Christ, to commit your future and all your days to Him.

When your parent built you that treehouse it was good of you to say you believed it would support your weight because the one who built it loved you. The strength of the trunk and diameter of the heavy branches could logically be shown to be able to hold you. You believed when you stepped off the ladder into the treehouse.