SIN: Another Deed of the Disturber

Jan Antonsson


The Glory Road Blog, A Kingdom Highway

July 22, 2017

Neosho, MO

“If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?  But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it (Genesis 4:7, NIV).

Sin is an odious topic for me to write about, so as the old song suggests, I had “a little talk with Jesus” regarding it, as I do about everything else.  “What’s the point, Lord?” I asked.  We’ve all heard so much about sin and its consequences that when the word comes up, many of us zone out; our eyes glaze over, and we mutter, “Oh, not again.”  One thing I love about Father God is that He is not offended by our negative feelings for Him or His assignments.  Many times, readers have confessed to me a secret:  they are mad at God.  My immediate thought when this happens is, “Why tell me?  Tell Him.”  

Amazingly, some people apparently think if they don’t tell God how they feel about Him, He won’t know.  Let me say that if being angry with our Father and telling Him about it in no uncertain terms would get you fried with fire from heaven, I’d have been a cinder long ago.  Lenny and I used to jog everyday, and when I was mad at God, I would rant and rave as we ran.  Lenny would chuckle and say, “I’m standing over here on the side of the road so if He misses you with the thunderbolt, it won’t hit me.”  He thought it was funny, but to me, not so much.

My objection to writing about this topic, is that it seems a worthless effort.  Zillions of words have been written, or spoken in stentorian tones from the pulpit, broadcast on TV,  emailed around the planet, and otherwise plastered over people’s hearts and minds, and if telling people not to sin would produce that effect, Cain would not have killed Able; Noah would not have had to spend 3/4th of a century building the ark and then stay cooped up in it for one year and two months (think of cleaning all those litter boxes); Israel would not have had to wander in the Sinai for 40 years, or languish in Babylon for 70 years. Christ would not have had to suffer and die for us because, there would be no sin left on the planet:  not a fib, not a snide remark, not a lusty leer, certainly no war, no thieves, no murders, no drug addicts, nada, zip, zilch.  Look around you and tell me I’m wrong.

After stating my objections to writing about sin, which I appreciated being able to do, I said, “OK, I’ll do it, but please, give me something that hasn’t been said 9,562,309 times before.”  Then I realized that there’s nothing new under the sun, especially regarding this topic.  However, mine is not to reason why, but to follow orders, so here goes.

In the last writing,  “Death: a Deed of the Disturber,  I mentioned that the book of Job reveals that God is the author of everything, good or bad which happens to us, though in Job’s case, He used Satan to do the dirty work.  This is why if I had only one verse in the Bible to prove that God bears all responsibility for every thing, loves us all and will ultimately save us all, it is Romans 11:32,  “God has all men penned together in the prison of disobedience, that he may have mercy upon them all (Phillips version).  The church world loves to point out that we’re all sinners: “As it is written: ‘‘None is righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10, ESV).  This is an echo of Isaiah’s passage made into a beautiful aria in Handel’s “Messiah,” All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all(Isaiah 53:6, RSV).  However, the church is usually loath to include all in the last part of Romans 11:32, that is, to concede that God will have mercy upon ALL!

If you are itching to stone me for implying that God is somehow encouraging sin, let me urge you to rethink that plan.  And while you’re at it, answer this question, please.  If our avoidance of sin was God’s highest objective, why didn’t He chop down the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, or better yet, so far as I’m concerned, at least evict the serpent?  Instead of that, however, He pointed out this beautiful tree with luscious fruit on it to His newly minted humans and warned them NEVER to eat of it, saying that in the day they did, they would surely die.  Have you ever told your little kids never to touch something you valued?  How did that work out for you?  I’d guess you got the same result that God did, though He expected it and you didn’t.  He knew that the sacrifice of His only begotten Son, would yield countless sons for Him to love and cherish.  And did He fail in that enterprise?  Methinks not.

Many of us still cling on to the feeble hope that we do have free will, and because  we’ve been “good,” we will get our reward. The idea that all will receive mercy is anathema, unless with His helpby His grace, we die to our own self, pride and ego, and realize that there is NOTHING we have ever done or ever will do that can earn us salvation in the next life, or victory in this one.  That’s a hard pill to swallow for the person who still believes in his or her own righteousness.  An old Christian woman told me in conversation how she had saved her friend’s life, by calling a mutual friend to go check on her, when she couldn’t be reached by phone.  He found the woman unconscious on her living room floor, having had a stroke.  My friend took the credit for saving her life and when I asked if she didn’t think God should have the glory for it, she replied, “I have to get credit where I can.”  Isn’t that really what we all have thought at one time or another?

It has been almost 20 years now since God called Lenny and me to Neosho, and over that time, countless folks have bristled at the thought that people not as good as they think they are will get to heaven.  Because God has plunged me into His refining fire many times, showing me how worthless are my own efforts, it has been the greatest Good News I ever heard!  God’s grace is the grandest, most valuable gift we get on a daily basis, and it comes by grace through faith, not by works lest anyone should boast.  He continuously, fills us with His Spirit, loves us unconditionally, provides for all our needs (though not all of our wants), and walks with us, holding our hand through the detritus of our lives, the cactus patches, and the abandonment we sometimes feel from others. And did you know that grace removes not only the stain of sin, but also the guilt of it?  

Clearly, God gave the Law to Moses to show Israel that they could not keep it.  Neither can we. By the time Jesus arrived, the Pharisees were very puffed up and arrogant because they were sons of Abraham, but He neatly burst their bubble:  “And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham(Matthew 3:9, ESV).  Now that’s a put down! 

The whole book of Romans is a treatise on living by faith rather than by law:   “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from law, although the law and the prophets bear witness to it, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction; since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as an expiation by his blood, to be received by faith (Romans 3:21-25, RSV).  Since we all are His by faith, what glory do we get out of it?  The glory of being God’s sons and daughters in Christ, the glory of luxuriating in His presence, and the glory of knowing that there is nothing we could do or fail to do which will ultimately separate us from His love and protection.

Have you ever been in a conditional relationship in which your standing with the other person or organization rested solely on your efforts?  Many of us grew up in churches like that, and there’s never any rest because we always carry the heavy burden of our behavior.  Jesus asserted, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light,” and perhaps this is why Father God assigned me this writing: to remind me and my amazing readers that He carries the burden for us, in us, and through us. Oxen pulling heavy loads wore yokes.  God’s children do not!

Father, You are a marvel to behold, as You show us in ever increasing ways Your unconditional love and Your eagerness to fellowship with us, and to be the best, most intimate friend we ever had. We thank You that the light shining out of darkness “has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” Now we join our voices with “the voice of a great multitude, and the voice of many waters, and the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.”  Amen.  Jan  Antonsson

Jan Austin Antonsson

17178 Highway 59, Neosho, MO 64850 (Snail Mail Address)

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