We live in a day in time in which people to not like to be offended. You can’t say this because you might offend someone. You can’t say that because you might offend that person. You can’t wear this because it has something on it that is offensive. I just heard recently, either yesterday or the day before, that there was a person that had an American flag hanging from the balcony of their apartment and they were asked to remove it because it may offend someone that is of another nationality. Nonetheless, it is ridiculous. Much of what I see as offensive these is anything that has to do with God or someones saying that another person is wrong. This is textbook in establishing that we live in Post-Modern, relativistic era.
Relativism is the way in which our country functions. Whether you choose to acknowledge this or not, our country functions upon the idea that there is no absolute truth and whatever is good for you is good for you and I in no way whatsoever can tell you otherwise. I know that this goes against what many people here in the ‘good ole’ Bible belt believe, but the fact of the matter is that we are not a Christian nation any longer. Yes, many of our principles and the ideas of our founding fathers were based upon Scripture, but if you look around us today with the rise in homosexual marriage, abortion, modern day feminist movements, and many other issues, there is no longer a yielding to the word of God within the leadership of our country. Say what you want, but turn the news on and you will see reality being played out.
If you want to see a huge push back from the media and a good chunk of the country, start to say the word SIN. You see, within relativism, you cannot say the word sin because the word sin is practically non-existent. You see, no one likes to be told that what they are doing is wrong or against God’s word. But, this is only one sided. Media and Hollywood can take the Lord’s name in vain, they can talk badly about Christian’s, negatively about God, nail you to the wall if you say that they in sin, and on and on it goes. But, the minute that a Christian desires to offer their ideas about a certain subject, you are a bigot and an intolerable idiot. It’s frustrating but believers must remember that this is not our home and that we are foreigners walking this earth.
So the point that I want to make is this, even within the church sin has been reduced to something that is almost non-existent. It has become something of a preference that no one desires to bring up because we would never want to hurt someones feelings. So what do we do? Unfortunately the church has just let sin be sin. We will let people continue in their sin and say that we are loving them by not pointing it out. We will just keep putting our arms around them and hugging them and telling them everything is going to be ok without every pointing out the sin that they may be taking part in. This is something serious within the sight of God and serious within the church.
Culturally speaking, there is a man that calls himself a pastor. His name is Joel Osteen. Now to begin with, Joel Osteen is not a pastor. Joel Osteen is a heretic. Joel Osteen does not preach the gospel. But, for some reason, Joel Osteen is looked to for “spiritual” insight and answers. When asked by Larry King about homosexuality, Osteen decided to let the world know that it was not a sin. But, because of the backlash that he received from many within the “Christian” community, in his next interview on Larry King he said that homosexuality is just not “God’s best.” But, he would happily attend the wedding of two homosexuals that desired to get married. Thus, he would be endorsing homosexuality. Bottom line, I have never heard ole Joel say the word “sin”(maybe he has but I have not heard it or read it), but do not beat around the bush Joel. I guess I can’t expect any less from a guy that seemingly does not believe the Bible.
I say this to show that “Christian’s” and the church do not take sin very seriously. As believers we are called to imitate Christ and we are called to pursue holiness in our lives. Let’s take a look at the Bible and how serious the Bible takes sin. In the book of Joshua there is a very popular story. The battle of Jericho is something that every child that has ever darkened the door of a church is familiar with because of the famous song about Joshua fighting this battle. Elvis Presley also did a rendition of this song and I love it. But, nonetheless, God told Joshua to take the city but take none of the devoted things from it. Well of course, there is always going to be “that guy” and there was “that guy” within Israel.
Well “that guy” was Achan. Achan took the devoted things and Israel was subjected to discipline for it. So what happens with Achan? Joshua goes to Achan and confronts him about taking the things, or in other words, confronts him about his sin. This is something that should take place much more within our day and time. So Achan responds and seems to be very remorseful for what he has done. He say in Joshua 7:20, “And Achan answered Joshua, ‘Truly I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and this is what I did: when I saw among the spoil a beautiful cloak from Shinar, and 200 shekels of silver, and a bar of gold weighing 50 shekels, then I coveted them and took them. And see, they are hidden in the earth inside my tent, with the silver underneath.'” We automatically want to have sympathy on Achan and say that he is truly sorry for what he has done. We may even put ourselves in his shoes and say that we would have taken all of the gold and silver as well. Well what does God say about his sin? How does God respond?
God is holy. God is just. With this being the case, there are always consequences to our actions. Here is how seriously they took Achan’s sin. Joshua 7:24-26, “And Joshua and all Israel with him took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver and the cloak and the bar of gold, and his sons and daughters and his oxen and donkeys and sheep and his tent and all that he had. And they brought them up to the Valley of Achor. And Joshua said, ‘Why did you bring trouble on us? The Lord brings trouble on you today.’ And all Israel stoned him with stones. They burned them with fire and stone them with stones. And they raised over him a great heap of stones that remains to this day. Then the Lord turned from his burning anger. Therefore, to this day the name of that place is called the Valley of Achor.”
Does God take sin seriously? It appears to be so. Here is how seriously God takes sin. He has always demanded a blood sacrifice for sin. Within the Old Testament law, there always had to be the shedding of blood for sin, and now it is no different. But, there has been a blood sacrifice once and for all. Before we want to “judge” God and say that He is angry or that He has over-reacted in this case and that the God of the Old Testament is different than the God of the New Testament(which He is not), let’s look at the gospel. God has always demanded a blood sacrifice from us for our sin and we have received one. Yes God is just, but He is also love. Romans 5:8-9, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.” Christ was that blood sacrifice. Christ suffered the death that we all deserved. We deserve to suffer the same death as Achan, but Christ took that from us. He took the death of Achan from all of those who believe upon Him.
So Achan is no different than us. He sinned against a holy God and we have done the same. He suffered for his sins in a way that, apart from Christ, we are all to suffer. But thankfully, God has not left us without a blood sacrifice. Because we are justified by faith in Christ, we will not have to suffer eternal wrath for our sins. Thus, God takes sin very serious, even in a world that says it is not serious. Yet, He has offered us freedom from our sin and I hope that you will take it today.