Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Sin Beneath The Sin

I read this week that a Vatican official has listed drugs, pollution and genetic manipulations as well as social and economic injustices as new areas of sinful behavior. These sins are in addition to the traditional list of seven deadly sins (lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride). The Vatican said that its time to modernize the list to fit a global world.

However, is making a list of specific sins the most effective way to deal with the problem of sin? Doesn't this just limit sin to a list of bad things? What about the sin beneath the sin?

For example, let's consider why we were made. We are creatures, created by a gracious Creator. We were made not only to believe in God in some general way, but to love Him supremely, to give Him glory and thanks. We are to center our lives on Him above everything else in the world. To put anything else in God's place of honor, even good things, is a sin. This is the root problem from which all the deadly fruit comes from.  It's the sin beneath the sin.

Pastor Van Morris


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

God Adjusting To Us

Unfortunately, some marriages suffer from a minimalist view of marriage. By this I mean, that some individuals fail to embrace the reality that marriage is a life altering experience, a re-orientation of every aspect of their life.

Imagine receiving a proposal that sounded like this: "I want you to know this proposal changes nothing about my allegiances and my behavior and my daily life. However, I do want you to know that if you accept my proposal, we shall, in theory, be considered married. There will be no other changes in me on your behalf."

Now of course no one in their right mind would accept such a proposal. For a marriage to be healthy there must be a mutual loss of independence, a willingness to adjust for the other person, serving them though it means sacrifice for you.

For a love relationship to be healthy, there must be a mutual adjusting. But what about a relationship with God? Of course I must adjust to Him - He is the Creator and I am the creature - but how could He ever adjust to me? Holy Week is a good time to consider this question.

I'm indebted to Timothy Keller for the following thought. In the incarnation of Christ: His coming into this sinful, fallen world as a man; and through His atoning death upon the cross, God has said in Christ, "I will adjust to you...I will serve you though it means sacrifice for Me."

It's interesting that the Scriptures utilize the metaphor of marriage when speaking of a saving relationship with Jesus Christ: " Wherefore, my brethren, you also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that you should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God." (Romans 7:4)

The gospel of Jesus Christ is a call, an invitation to be joined to Jesus Christ, to re-orient every aspect of your life toward Him. He is not inviting you to be a good moral person, but instead to believe that He died for your sins and through faith in Him God will forgive you and accept you.

Pastor Van Morris


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Finding Treasure

When was the last time you made a discovery that left you pleasantly surprised? As for me and my wife, it was about a year ago. For years we thought the Schwan's home delivery truck that passed through our neighborhood was filled with expensive frozen foods that were much too pricey for us. That was until Brian, our salesman, knocked on our door. He gave me a catalog of their many products, and explained what made Schwan's unique. My wife and I were pleasantly surprised to find that not only was their food very affordable, it was also delicious.

That's not the first time that my wife and I made a find that was pleasantly surprising. You see, we used to think that Christianity was rigid, restrictive - like a straightjacket! But we eventually came to see things much differently.

I agree with Timothy Keller who wrote, "In may areas of life, freedom is not so much the absence of restrictions as finding the right ones, the liberating restrictions." Liberating restrictions are those that produce greater power and scope for our abilities and a deeper joy.

Jesus talked about such a discovery: "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field." (Matthew 13:44) The "kingdom of heaven" (living under the Lordship of Christ) is something that will totally re-make you. It is not more religion. It's not adding another self-help book to your library. It is giving yourself utterly to Jesus Christ. It is a "treasure".

When the man finds the treasure he sells all he has to purchase it. He is basically saying, "What good is all this stuff if I don't have this." How could he do this? How could he seemingly give up so much? Because he had already made the emotional transfer - "in his joy". He saw the value of the real treasure.

Someone put it well when they said: Anyone who will not give themselves utterly to Jesus has not realized that He gave Himself utterly for you.

Pastor Van Morris