Defeating the Sin-Virus

God’s Eternal Plan of Salvation: Defeating the Sin Virus

READINGS:

I John 1: 29 (New Living Translation)

The next day John (the Baptist) saw Jesus coming towards him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

(What a HUGE statement!)

Romans 5: 12-17 (various verses)

12 When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned… Now Adam is a symbol, a representation of Christ, who was yet to come. 15 But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ…Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins. 17 For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 5: 21

For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin [or ‘to become sin itself’] so that we could be made right with God, through Christ.

Introduction

Pandemics are the subject on everybody’s lips today… but they’ve been around throughout history. For instance:

  • A Byzantine plague in 541AD killed about 10,000 people a day in Africa
  • The Black Death in the 1300s killed more than half the population of Europe
  • The Bubonic Plague in the 1630s killed about half a million people in Italy
  • Plagues in London in the 1600s and in Marseille in the 1700s each killed up to 100,000 people.

So plagues, pestilences and pandemics are (sadly) nothing new! The search for a cure or ways to prevent illness & possible death occupies everyone’s thoughts

  • But imagine a pandemic that was so serious that it fatally affected every person in the world… but then a cure was found to cure and heal everyone… but only IF they were willing to accept it!
  • You’d probably say that someone would be mad to turn down the offer of a complete cure! And you’d be right!

This whole-world “pandemic” & its remedy forms the subject of the present message… The principal character is a man who lived about 2000 years ago in a small, occupied country called Israel

His name was Jesus (Joshua) and he would combat and destroy the effects of this universal virus known as… SIN

Sin is like a virus in as much as it affects and infects whole populations… in fact, the whole WORLD population.

However, its impact is more serious than any bodily disease because unlike those diseases, there is no human cure

We don’t have to look very far to see that the world is blighted by wicked, cruel and aggressive acts of hate & violence

But although the vast majority of people do not commit serious crimes or behave wickedly the Bible tells us that we are all ‘infected’ with the sin virus from conception to the grave

Regardless of our good deeds and effort to live a good life … we all fail to meet God’s expected standards of obedience to Him

  • People will claim that although they’re not perfect, they shouldn’t be condemned for their failings, especially if they’re “doing their best”
  • Unfortunately, even our best endeavours don’t provide a “cure” for the sin virus …

The Apostle Paul explains that sin came into the world through the first man, Adam

  • As a result, every person has struggled with the sin virus ever since

Now, I’ve used the word ‘sin’ a number of times already but I’ve yet to define the term precisely! So what exactly IS sin?

One way of understanding ‘sin’ is found in the notion of falling short of the target, such as we might witness in an archery or golf competition… “Missing the mark”

  • The ‘mark’ in this case is the standard of behaviour (in its broadest terms) that God established for humankind and expects to be maintained…
  • Unfortunately, even the most saintly person has faults and failings that expose his or her tendency to miss God’s mark…

However, there is a deeper problem that lies at the root of sinning… I’ll say more on this matter in a moment

Whether major crimes or minor misdemeanours, the Bible pulls no punches in its reference to the awfulness of our sinful condition, which is our tendency, as even the Apostle Paul admitted in his letter to the church in Rome (Romans 7: 25) to do those things that we should not do and fail to do the things that we ought to do… It’s the effect of the sin virus

So where do we go from here?

The solution in resolving the sin problem lies with finding someone who is completely pure and wholly obedient to God’s will & purpose 100% of the time

In other words, someone having a totally ‘right’ relationship with God and thereby being sin-virus-free

Someone who will counteract the sin-virus & free us from the present AND the eternal damage it causes

The only ‘sin-virus-free’ human who’s ever lived or ever will live is Jesus Christ

No ordinary human is sinless & able to deal with sin, so God came in the form of Jesus to deal with it Himself!

Although, our wrong thoughts and words—not merely our deeds—are part of sinfulness… sin is not primarily about thinking, speaking & doing bad things or breaking God’s commandments about righteous living…

At its heart, sin is when we deprive God of His rightful place as Lord of our lives by putting ‘self’ at the centre instead of Him… To use the words of a well-known song: “I did it my way, not His way!”

So sinning through bad thoughts, words & deeds is the outcome from failing to give God first place in our lives & failing to walk in step with His Spirit, who promises to be an integral part of our lives if we invite Him to be.

  • Sinful acts are therefore not the primary issue… they are a consequence of ignoring or marginalising God

As the only person totally ‘at one’ with God the Father, Jesus Christ received the punishment for sin that would have been ours… He died on the cross so that we would not need to do so!

  • He gave his life in exchange for ours!
  • He bore our sins in his body on the cross instead of you and I being forever burdened with them…
  • Imagine Jesus carrying the sins of the whole world when he was completely pure and righteous!

THE STAIN OF SIN TOUCHES EVERY LIFE so no person exists who could pay the penalty for another person’s wrong… the humblest, best living person on earth isn’t good enough

It could only be Jesus, Son of the Living God

  • The hymn writer, Cecil Alexander, described the significance of Jesus’s death as follows: “There was no other good enough to pay the price of sin. Only he (Jesus) could unlock the gates of heaven & let us in

SO WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU & ME?

First, we must all assume personal responsibility for our sin… We can’t just blame Adam!

  1. And we must also take responsibility for our response to what Jesus Christ has done for us in dying for our sins
  2. Are we truly thankful or are we indifferent? Has it changed the course of our lives to live as God intends… or not much?

It isn’t good enough to complain that: “No one’s perfect” or “I’m no worse than anybody else!” {Clean window until the sun shines!}

  • The sin pandemic needed a radical solution… the sacrificial death of Jesus… and his sacrifice demands a radical response from us…

(1) Accepting that we are sinners and need cleansing

(2) Asking God to make us clean, as we put our faith & trust in His Son, Jesus Christ

(3) Allowing the Holy Spirit to transform us, so our character is more closely aligned with His righteousness

You may be asking: If Christ died to save the world from sin and make us clean in God’s sight, why do people still think, say and do so many bad things?

  • It’s a valid question! Here’s the answer…

When we accept that we are sinners and need a Saviour… and turn to Jesus to find forgiveness and ‘new life’… his sacrificial death atones (‘makes amends for’) our sin and we become born again… ‘new creations’, without spot or blemish in God’s sight

  • The Bible refers to this condition of cleansing from sin as ‘justification’… just as if I’d never sinned… as white as snow
  • As a result of this cleansing, our STANDING before God is as pure as Jesus’s because we are covered/washed/protected by his blood shed on the Cross

However… God doesn’t make us into robotic creatures without minds and wills of our own! We have choices & decisions to make in life

  • We sometimes make poor choices & bad decisions…sometimes by failing to listen to God’s voice… sometimes because we deliberately choose to sin or go our own way
  • This unhappy condition can be referred to as our human STATE

So, because of Christ’s sacrificial death on the Cross, we are “covered by his righteousness”… that’s our STANDING before God… totally pure and sinless

But despite having this wonderful gift, we are still ‘prone to wander’… that’s our human STATE (condition) falling short of the mark

And because of our STATE we must constantly CONFESS our sin… because God will forgive our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness if we do so.

  • Jesus has provided us with our STANDING before God
  • We must regularly confess our sinful STATE to God, seek forgiveness through Christ & allow the Spirit to restore us… That’s your part and mine in defeating the sin-virus!

In the 2nd message in this mini series, I shall explore more fully a relevant issue for all of us titled, “God’s Eternal Plan of Salvation: Who will be saved?”

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