Hebrews 12:2

Looking unto Jesus,
the Author and
Finisher of our faith...

Chippewa Falls, WI


Last time we talked about how sin entered the world and it's consequences. We saw how Adam and Eve's sin has affected all of us. Now this time, we will look directly at ourselves. This letter may hit some nerves with some, but please understand I'm not judging you. Rather, I'm asking you to judge yourself.

How do you know your specific sins? Rom. 3:20 "for by the law is the knowledge of sin." The way to see your sins is by the law (Ten Commandments). We often see them hanging in people's homes, but have you ever taken a close look at them?

  1. Ex. 20:3 "You shall have no other gods before Me." Does God have first place in your life? Does He come before your job, TV, entertainment, money, and yes, even your family?
  2. Ex. 20:4 "You shall not make for yourself a carved image-any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments." Have you ever made a god to suit yourself? I did, and God calls it an idol. My god didn't mind sin in my life. He told me I was a good person even if I had sinned a little, and he certainly wasn't going to punish me for it. The only problem is this god was a god I had made up in my own head. It wasn't the one true living God of the Bible.
  3. Ex. 20:7 "You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain." Have you ever said, "God damn it" or "Jesus Christ"? It seems to be common language these days. People don't even use Osama Bin Ladan's name in that manner, yet they use the name of the One who has given them everything they have in vain.
  4. Ex. 20:8 "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy." Do you set aside a day to rest and worship the Lord?
  5. Ex.20:12 "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you." Have you ever said or done anything bad to your parents?
  6. Ex.20:13 "You shall not murder." Have you ever murdered someone? Jesus said, Matt.5:22 "But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment." Harboring any bitterness towards someone? We can sin against God with attitude or intent.
  7. Ex.20:14 "You shall not commit adultery." Jesus said, Matt.5:28 "But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Have you even thought about it? There are also other circumstances that fall under this commandment such as marrying someone who is divorced, and sex before marriage. By the way, getting married doesn't erase your past sins.
  8. Ex.20:15 "You shall not steal." Have you ever stolen anything; a pencil or notepad from work, or cheated on your taxes? There are numerous ways to steal. What does that make you? A thief.
  9. Ex.20:16 "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor." Have you ever told a lie, even a little white one? What does that make you? A liar, and the Bible says liars won't enter the kingdom of God.
  10. Ex.20:17 "You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's" Have you ever wanted something that isn't yours? Then you are covetous, and the Bible says the covetous will not inherit the kingdom of God.

In fact, if you've broken any one of these commandments, you have sinned. Just once is all it takes to be guilty. How many times do you have to speed before an officer has the right to give you a fine? Once. So if God were to judge you right now, would you be innocent or guilty? The Bible declares that we are all guilty. Rom.3:23 "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." It is our sins that separate us from God. Is.59:2 "But your iniquities have separated you from your God." We cannot inherit the kingdom of God because of our sins. Our sins separate us.

If we will not be with God, then where will we be? The Bible describes it as a place of torment, a furnace of fire, everlasting burnings, and unquenchable fire. This place is called hell. Nowhere in the Bible is the word purgatory found. That is man's doctrine not God's. So if we've sinned against God, how is the problem corrected? It's not by keeping these commandments the best we can because it says in Gal.2:16 "for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified." As hard as you try, you will fail. In fact, the purpose of the law is to, first of all, show you have sinned, and then point you to the resolution. Gal.3:24 "Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith." When you see yourself guilty before God, you'll see the need for help, and God has provided it.

There is only one way you will ever be able to come into the presence of God. It's not by your works or good deeds Eph.2:8-9. "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." You and I on our best day still sin. And I'll give you the benefit of the doubt for a moment. Let's say you have a sinless day. Your past sins are still there. Your twenty good things you think you've done can't erase the one bad. Is. 64:6 "But we are like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags;"

I know this is hard to swallow because it comes against all of our pride and human reasoning, but the Bible says our only hope is to come to the One who did satisfy God by keeping the commandments perfectly. II Cor.5:21 "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." God sent His Son, who knew no sin, to die for you. He took your place on that cross. That is the punishment that you and I deserve. I hang my head when people say, "a loving God won't send me to hell." Jn.3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." God sent His only begotten Son to this sin stricken world to take your punishment, and you think He wants you to end up in hell? He offers the way of escape through His Son. If you will acknowledge you have sinned against God, repent and turn to the Savior. Don't try and clean yourself up first. God invites you just as you are (Rom.5:8). Jesus has paid the penalty for your sins. All you have to do is accept the gift of salvation by receiving Him and accepting what He did for you. Jn.1:12 "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." And that's what we will talk about next time: What it means to be born of God.