Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Short devotion: An Obsolete Word - Matthew 1:21

Matthew 1:21  “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

            As far as the world and the post-modern church is concerned, sin is an obsolete word. Decades ago, people understood that sin was something more than just a mere mistake or a foolish choice – it was a deliberate defiant act against God’s Word, which had eternal consequences. To sin was to put yourself under God’s judgment and expect His wrath. It was a word that people feared because it revealed to them the terrifying prospect of being damned forever. Sin severed people’s souls from God.

            These days, sin doesn’t appear to have any fearful aspect for us. We either take Christ’s saving ability for granted or we disregard the whole concept of sin. Most folks opt for the latter because it’s far easier to live life without being burdened by a religious standard or a faith morality. It’s much more convenient to excuse our sinful ways as being deeply personal and no one else’s business. In fact, some folks say, didn't Jesus tell us ‘not to judge others lest we be judged ourselves?’ In other words, they believe that what Jesus was expressing was a moralistic free-for-all where every individual was free to choose to do whatever they wanted and that no one else could condemn them for it.

            If Jesus actually meant that, then He didn't have to go to the Cross to die for our sins. If Jesus truly believed that everyone could make their own choices and no one else could judge them, then He didn't have to be crucified for our calamities. You see, Jesus went to Calvary because He was absolutely certain that sins have dire eternal consequences if they are left unconfessed, unrepented, and unredeemed.

            The world and the post-modern church may like to do away with the word sin, but they cannot deny that this has become a sinful world or even a sinful church. Sin still separates people from God and it needs to be forgiven through Jesus Christ. As it states in today’s verse, He was born to save His people from their sins. Without Jesus, we cannot get back to God. Without Christ in our hearts and lives, we cannot be restored to His Kingdom. Just because we don’t like a word or feel that it is antiquated, archaic, or irrelevant, does not mean that it does not exist. Sin Separates us from God, Isolates us from His grace, and Nullifies our consciences into a misguided denial that could ultimately cast us away from God forever. As C.S. Lewis once gravely remarked, “There is not one person in Hell who did not choose to be there.”

Questions for personal reflection

What are the major sins in my life? Do I take Christ’s grace for granted or do I truly repent of them?

Prayer:            Lord Jesus, You died for our sins for that was the only way in which we could ever be forgiven. We know that the world hates the word sin and that Your Church is often accused of being judgmental, narrow-minded, or even bigoted when confronting sin. Forgive us for our own failings, faithlessness, and fearful ways. Grant us Your grace and give us the courage to change our lives by living according to God’s Word. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.

John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message or have questions, please contact him by email at

Today’s image is one of John’s Good Friday drawings called “Sin Bearer.” If you would like to view a larger version, please click on this link: Sin Bearer.

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