Links Daily Devotional

The Trouble with Sin

Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save… but your iniquities have separated you from God. (Isaiah 59:1-2, NIV)

What keeps you from playing your best golf?

Some of us know the answer right away. We’re not a good driver of the ball, or our iron play is not sharp, or we make a mess around the greens. Maybe we can’t sink the putts that count.

The result? Bad scores.

For others, your answer might go like this: “Inconsistency. I never know which game is going to show up.” And so one day your tee shots steal your scoring chances, and the next day your putter betrays you.

And the result? Bad scores.

It’s so simple when we evaluate our golf games. Review any round and in a few minutes’ time you’ll come up with the reasons you missed your expectations and surrendered your joy.

But in life, we are reluctant to draw such straight lines between our actions and their consequences. Part of this is a theological accuracy based on John 9, where Jesus explained that one’s sins do not necessarily produce specific negative outcomes (neither the blind man nor his parents had “sinned” to cause the man’s blindness). But this was not to say that sin has no ill effect. Plainly put, sin is what we need to be saved from.

If Isaiah’s words are not clear enough—that our sins separate us from God—Paul reiterated to the Romans that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” and that “the wages of sin is death.” Because we are familiar with these Pauline passages, we sometimes forget their weight. It is this: we simply cannot live with sin.

You may say, but what about Jesus? Hasn’t he covered our sins with his blood? And the answer to that question is an unhesitating yes! In Christ, the arm of the Lord has come to save us.

So whose sins have separated them from the Lord? Those who refuse to confess and repent—that is, those who have no interest in turning from the sins and giving their life to God. Make no mistake here. We’ve fallen into a time and place where many want to transfer their own salvation to those they love, thinking, If God has loved and saved me, his love surely extends to my friends and family. But salvation has never been transferable in this way; each one must call on God for his or her own salvation.

Sin is separating some of your dearest friends from God. Brave up and tell them this. Then pronounce where salvation is found. You don’t have to be a preacher to “preach it” or an evangelist to share the Lord. You just have to care enough to speak honestly about the presence of sin, its stark consequences, and its one true cure.

Jeff Hopper

September 30, 2013

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