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Think On These Things, Issue #012
December 15, 2014
Think On These Things
A Bimonthly E-Zine of Bible Studies With Chris
Table of Contents
Three Facts About Sin
The apostle John defined sin as “lawlessness” (1 John 3.4). The word “lawlessness” originates from the Greek word “anomia.” It is a word that means literally, “without law.” To sin is to act outside of the law. At one time or another you and I have either failed to do what God said we must do, or we did what God said we must not do. Either way, we have acted outside of God’s law. The Bible calls that sin (Rom. 4.15). Let’s give some thought to three facts about sin. We will address the first one in this article.
Sin is individual. The idea that our sins are not our sins but inherited is an idea not found in the Bible. In fact, quite the opposite is true. The children of Israel believed in the concept of inherited sin and even wrote a proverb about it: “The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge” (Ezek. 18.2).
How did God feel about this proverb? “‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘you shall no longer use this proverb in Israel.’” (Ezek. 18.3). He then explains why. “The soul who sins shall die” (Ezek. 18.4). Later God elaborates. “The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself” (Ezek. 18.20).
The children of Israel were wrong in blaming their parents for their own mistakes. They were mistaken to assume that their punishment was for the sins of their ancestors. Each one is accountable for his or her own actions. The soul that sins shall be required to answer for his own sin, and not the sin of his parents or the sins of Adam. There is no doubt that our upbringing has a strong influence on the kind of adults we become. This is why the inspired Solomon wrote that parents are to “train up a child in the way that he should go” (Prov. 22.6). Nonetheless, our lives and our relationship with God is exclusively dependent on the choices that we make. Our spiritual condition is not in the genes. It is not in the parenting. It is in the choices (Josh. 24.15).
It is sin that separates man from God. However, it is Jesus who bring us back to Him. In spite of all the bad choices that we have made, God still loved us and sent His Son to offer salvation to all who would come to Him. “For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son” (Rom. 5.10,11).
One Ingredient Your Marriage May Be Missing
Do you know what the most difficult year is of marriage? It is the current one. Every marriage may have its unique challenges, but the underlying problem…and solution is the same. So often the struggles of marriage have more to do with a lack of communication than anything else. Yet even good communication cannot inoculate a marriage from conflict. The God who instituted marriage offers some insight to the one ingredient your marriage may be missing.
How interesting that in those passages that deal with marriage, a single attitude and action is found repeatedly. Peter tells wives to “be submissive to your own husbands” (1 Pet. 3.1). He provides an example of Sarah’s relationship to Abraham, “calling him lord” (1 Pet. 3.6). To husbands, Peter wrote that they are to give “honor to the wife” (1 Pet. 3.7). To both husbands and wives, Peter challenges them to show one another respect. One of the most important ingredients that may be lacking in many marriages is respect.
Gary Smalley, founder of the Smalley Relationship Center, once described respect by handing a genuine Picasso painting to his audience to pass around. As the painting went from one hand to the other, it was greeted with gasps and wonderment. Then he made this point: When you see your spouse, treat him/her like they have a Picasso painting on their forehead. Be excited to see them. Be in awe of the chance to spend time with them. Be fascinated with everything they have to say. Show them a great deal of respect.
When there is conflict in the relationship, do you respect your spouse enough to genuinely listen to his/her side of the issue? Do you respect your spouse enough to pay attention to his/her needs and go out of the way to satisfy them? Do you respect your spouse enough not to criticize or correct them in public, but privately and gently?
The apostle Paul wrote, “Render therefore to all their due…honor to whom honor. Owe no one anything but to love one another” (Rom. 13.7,8). I am never to withhold respect to someone who deserves it and thus owe it to them. Who is more deserving of my respect than the one whom I married and promised to honor for the rest of my life
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