“As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our sins from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear Him.” Psalm 103:12-13
About 100 years ago there was a British author by the name of G. K. Chesterton. He was known for his quick wit and had an almost magical way with words. So when the big newspaper in London sent out an inquiry to famous authors, Chesterton was included. The inquiry (to which they were supposed to respond with a short essay) was this, “What’s wrong with the world today?” and Chesterton responded with a postcard that simply said, “I am.”
You see, when we understand what an enormous, horrendous, cataclysmic thing that sin is, then we realize that we are a major part of the problem. What’s wrong with the world is not just ‘out there’ but ‘in here’ (pointing a big ol’ finger at my own heart).
The very essence of our sin is saying ‘NO’ to God. There is a sense in which our sin is saying, “I don’t trust you with my life, God, and I don’t believe you love me, and so I’m going to do it my way.” But maybe you’re still not sold. Maybe you think, “What’s the big deal? Adam and Eve ate an apple they weren’t supposed to eat and now everything is ruined? I’m not buying it.” This story that my friend Michael tells might help you see the point:
“Few things quench early morning thirst quite like a cold glass of apple juice. I love it! But there was a time in my life when my love of apple juice got me into trouble. I was a sophomore in high school and out of town competing at a debate tournament.
Our team had woken up early to get breakfast at McDonald’s before we competed. Our choice of restaurant presented a problem, because McDonald’s doesn’t serve apple juice (or at least they didn’t then). How could I be expected to debate well without apple juice? Thankfully there was a convenience store across the four lane highway. So, I asked my debate coach, Ms. Sams, if I could go get some apple juice. She denied my request saying it was too dangerous and some other things that I don’t remember because I stopped listening when she said no. I excused myself to the bathroom, snuck out the back, crossed the road, and enjoyed my apple juice.
What I didn’t think about was that the McDonald’s had an all glass front. So, when I went back inside Ms. Sams asked me if I enjoyed my juice. That scared me a bit but I wasn’t too worried. I was among the top debaters on the team, regional competition was coming up, she would get over it. My presumptuous comfort was shattered when Ms. Sams kicked me off the debate team. How could she? Yes, I was disobedient but it was just apple juice! Or at least that’s what I thought at the time.
The farther I get from that event the more I look back and know that it was far more than just apple juice at stake in my actions. It was a disrespecting of her as a person. It was a denial of Ms. Sam’s authority as my teacher.”
Now you might have to multiply this story by 1000 to get it, because God is not just your debate coach, he is the holy, infinite and righteous God who made you and designed you for himself. So, when Adam and Eve sinned, they didn’t get kicked off the debate team; no, they got kicked out of the Garden of Eden!
The question you should be asking is this: “If my sin is that big of a deal then how can I be right with God again? Why would he want to be around me if I continually deny his authority, and reject his love?” When you ask that question, then you are ready for some really good news! You see, Christianity is not about you getting your life right again, it is about seeing just how sinful you actually are and crying out to God for mercy. And you know the good thing about God? He LOVES to give you mercy and grace!