Posted by: Chris Avery | September 13, 2012

Does God Take Sin Seriously?

Perhaps a look at Matthew 5:27-30 will give us a picture of what God thinks about sin.

27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; 28 but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell.

First of all, we see the commandment given to Moses not to commit adultery. Many reading this would be innocent of this sin. Jesus didn’t stop there. He went to the very thoughts that we have. When Jesus sees that we have deep desires for someone where we feel we have to have them, Jesus sees that as adultery as well. As far as I know that makes the vast majority of us guilty, if not all.

God is so pure and so holy that He cannot tolerate sin. He’s not just concerned about the outside appearance, but the purity of the heart. If we start thinking, “I better start doing better,” we’ve missed the point. The law leaves us all guilty. It was never meant to save us. It was only meant to make our sinful condition apparent so that we would cry out to God for mercy. We should seek to be made right with God on His terms. There is only one way that God has provided for us to be reconciled to Him. It is through trusting in the work of Jesus Christ in which He received the wrath of God on our behalf on the cross. God has chosen for faith to be the method in which we are saved. We have to believe that Christ’s death was a sufficient sacrifice for our sins. We must also repent, which means to agree with God that we have sinned against Him and to turn the other way. We once lived our own selfish lives sinning against God, and now turn a full 180 to follow Him and leave our selfish lives behind.

It gets even more extreme. God tells us to tear out our eyes and cut off our hands if they cause us to sin. If God has worked on our hearts, we may realize that we sin all the time with our eyes and hands. Does God really expect us to start mutilating our bodies. He says it is better to lose parts of our body than for the whole body to go to hell. I don’t disagree with Him. I would rather go to heaven missing half my body that to spend an eternity in hell without Him. I believe He is using a hyperbole here. It doesn’t lessen the severity of how He deals with sin.

Like earlier in the passage, I would say that our sin in primarily an issue of our hearts. If we were to lose our eyes, we could still lust in our mind. If we would cut off our hands, we would still find ways to sin with our thoughts and intentions. I believe that Jesus is showing the exceeding sinfulness of sin. I believe that we should strive to keep our hearts pure. We should be perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect.

God does indeed deal very seriously with sin. If we are in Christ, then He has dealt with our sin by the death and crucifixion of His Son. For those of us who are in Christ, we should strive to please God in everything we do. I do want to give comfort though. Even as regenerated children of God, we will fall short of His glory. We should not let the guilt consume us. Should we feel terrible, absolutely. We then need to confess it to God and forsake it. Then, we must believe in His promise that we will be united with Him for all eternity and that our sins are forgiven as far as the east is from the west and though our sins were as scarlet, they are now as white as snow.

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