Indeed, it is the Lord God through the Holy Spirit Who opens our eyes to realize the gravity of our situation . . . and the grace which He bestowed. The whole world is running, turning away from the Spirit. All the day long the enemy seeks to distract us from the peril we face; to make it a small thing. And a thousand of his minions likewise strive (and too often succeed) to take us away. . . .
I was just thinking on this this morning--how wonderful and astounding it is . . . to be made THE creature who is able to speak with God. No other creatures on the earth have this blessing. But we, created in His image, are made to commune with the very One who is the creator of all!
And sin is so serious . . . that one sin . . . instantly mars that image. One sin at the beginning, in the Garden . . . was so serious that it brought a curse upon the whole creation, extending to generation upon generation. THAT is how profound and destructive even just one sin is against the holy God.
How egregious is it to go against God, yet the worldly revel in it, flaunt it, proclaim, celebrate it in many numerous ways? Is it true, as many say that God overlooks most "minor" sins and will only punish for some "great" sin like murder or rape?
How about giving in to "mere" curiosity where God has commanded to stay away? Surely the "all-loving" God does not care about such "small" infractions. . . .
Yet, for what appears to be the mere succumbing to curiosity the Lord put to death some 50,000 people of Beth Shemesh. It was a slaughter. "He struck down some of the men of Beth-shemesh because they had looked into the ark of the LORD. He struck down of all the people, 50,070 men, and the people mourned because the LORD had struck the people with a great slaughter." --1 Sam. 6:19
These were even people who were excited, joyous at receiving the Ark back from the Philistines. They were not seeking to deface or alter the Ark. They "merely" wanted to take peek, and allow common access to inspect it.
But here again is a show of how deathly serious it is to treat God and His commandments casually, "commonly", irreverently!
Then consider how much WE have sinned--how much ALL sin and treat God with irreverence, casualness, disrespect . . . and go against His commands continually, lying, coveting, dishonoring parents, taking the Lord's name in vain, having other Gods before Him. . . .
It is a testament to His gracious longsuffering and patience that He doesn't condemn the whole lot to Hell this very moment!
And the self-loving contender (against God) cries, "I will not worship such a God!" . . . putting themselves in the position of judging God, condemning God, challenging God's goodness and wisdom. What pitiable foolishness and arrogance!
It is true, such a rebel will not and does not worship this God. Instead, they conceive of a god in their own image, rather than conforming to the image of the one, true and living God. And THAT is the god they will worship, that they may continue on in their sin and rebellion.
Others, perturbed and weary, will say, "I got it . . . we're terrible . . . we sin . . . we deserve Hell. But must we dwell on this? Can we not think happy, positive thoughts and focus only on God's love and mercy?"
But it is precisely because of the rank depravity of our sinful nature and acts . . . and recognizing them to be so . . . that we are then able to see and appreciate just how loving and merciful God is that He should deign to save us from the deathly effects of sin. Reiterating it once again, if sin is a small thing, then what the Lord did to save is a small thing--which is a thought I want to banish at once having even rhetorically suggested it!
If one sin (at the beginning) is enough . . . to throw the whole world into chaos, violence, death and despair . . . or even a "minor" sin is enough to result in the righteous slaughter of 50,000 people in consequence . . . then imagine the depth and the breadth and the weight of all the millions and billions and trillions of sins (each just as serious as the two aforementioned, as it disgraces the image of God) that Jesus bore in punishment, as God's full measure of wrath (against sin) was poured out upon Him!
Do people seem to be taking sin more or less seriously these days? Is there an overabundance of talking about the weight of sin in the churches? Or is such discussion virtually lacking all the way around? Are people more inclined than ever to be flippant, cavalier, nonchalant about the seriousness on sin?
The answer, of course, is that sin is barely mentioned anymore--certainly not in the world . . . except to be mocked and laughed at or reveled in; but also in the pulpits . . . it is hardly acknowledged or fretted over.
Many don't want to think of God or spirituality this way. They imagine only a "spirituality" of getting what you want, "self empowerment", unrelenting worldly happiness; and a Jesus Who was happy-go-lucky, always smiling, hugging kittens and patting little children on the head.
And yes, one day we WILL live with the Lord in peace, in joy, perfected, in holy blessed communion.
However, now the whole creation groans. The Lord came as a "man of sorrows" . . . Who people "despised and rejected". It is not "blessed are those who party and whom nothing bothers."
He said, "blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted", "blessed are they who are persecuted for righteousness' sake."
Of course, I am not saying that we are to be going around run down with depression and hopelessness. We ARE to be of good cheer. But it is only when we truly face and appreciate and understand the seriousness of sin and from what we have been saved . . . and continue to bear that remembrance and awed impetus (as it relates to then wanting to save others) that we come to a genuine and rich and fleshed-out possession and expression of the immense hope, joy and gratitude befitting one who realizes what they have been saved from and the price of that salvation!
Too often . . . this is overlooked and sloughed off; which results in a superficial, mostly vague and purely mental experience of "spirituality." The heart, the emotions, the conscience is not involved.
The deeper our recognition of the seriousness of sin . . . the deeper our recognition and appreciation of the seriousness (and blessed hope) of the Gospel. . . .
note: I was able to act upon my headache condition; this past week was interesting in that regard and I will give an update soon, considering the kindness and concern you showed, for which I am deeply grateful:)