Tuesday, September 30, 2008

sss I n

SIN …sss I n. One preacher said, sin has the hiss of the serpent and the middle letter is “I.” It sounds good in a sermon but I am afraid it does not convey what the Bible really means by sin. The Hebrew word for sin is “hatat.” It literally has to do with the use of a sling shot. If the one slinging the stone aims at a target but misses, it is “hatat.” …missing the mark or the target. The application is that God has a standard, and we always miss it.

And Oh, by the way, there are other images or real life experiences that also explain missing the mark. I remember not long after I began to drive, a new stop light was installed in our town (Harrison, AR). That made a total of three stoplights on the main street through town. I had driven that street many times, but not after the stoplight was installed. I went through that intersection running the red light. I was pulled over by a city policeman. He asked me if I ran the light on purpose. To which I replied, “No sir, I just did not see the light.” I thought that might make him go easy on me. But to the contrary, he said, “That is even more dangerous. If you knew it was there you probably would have been aware of oncoming traffic. But not knowing it was there; put you and others at an even greater risk.” I had no further reply. I simply took my ticket and went a few days later and paid my fine. The “mark” that day was to stop at the red light. I missed it. Ignorance was no excuse, and what I did put myself and others at great risk. When we continue to sin against God (miss the mark He has set) we also put ourselves and others in peril.

Much earlier in my boyhood I remember wanting to be one day six feet tall. There were pencil marks on the door frame between the living room and the kitchen were I would go quite often to measure my height. Dad would help me with the measurement. Four feet, five feet, six feet were marked, and marks in between as I slowly grew taller. But I never made it to six feet. I reached five feet and eleven inches. I grew but I still missed that mark of six feet. I even tried stretching my neck by pushing up on my head, but that did not work either. Maybe it resulted in a shorter head, but not a longer neck.

In spiritual matters, we are to grow in our relationship with Christ, but we will never, in our on strength, reach the mark God has set. The Scripture says in Romans 3:23 “all have sinned and have come short of God’s glory (or mark). Romans 6:23 says, “The wages of sin (missing the mark) is death, but God’s gift is eternal life." There is only one who has never missed God’s mark, and that is Jesus Christ. The Scripture says in John 17:3 “And this is life eternal, that they might know the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom He has sent.” 1 John 5:12 says, “He that has the son has life and he who does not have the son does not have life.” Eternal life is not just a length of time, but a quality of life. And the only way to miss eternal death is to have Christ living inside of us, having taken our sins upon Himself. So then, God does not judge us based upon our missing his mark, rather we are judged based on what a perfect Christ did for us in his death and resurrection. His hitting the mark is put to our account and we are forgiven for all the times we still fall short of God’s glory (his mark.)

Friday, September 26, 2008

And Oh! By The Way

Here goes my first attempt at blogging. I thought I might begin by explaining the name of my blog site, and to explain my purpose in these daily or weekly meditations.

First I have noticed that in the ministry and in life I have often learned more "by the way," or informally than when I was in a formal setting. Most of life is informal, and that is when the most significant and meaningful things take place. Also, since I teach Bible as an adjunct instructor at the local community college, a lot of my lectures are "Oh! by the way" statements. I often share important information and points of application not found in the formal outline. And then the phrase "By The Way," is a double entendre. In New Testament times, Christians were often called "People of the way." Jesus said in John 14:6 "I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through me." So. you see, it has a double meaning.

And that brings me to the purpose for my crafting these words, sentences, and paragraphs. I wish to give insight into truth by looking at words or phrases and seeing things that may bring a fresh approach or different application than to what we may be accustomed. Now mind you, I know there is nothing new under the sun. I know that my writings will not bring something that is a revelation only given to me, and is new to the 20th century. But as Vance Havner put it, "Some truths are so true that they have become bedridden in the dormitory of our mind." I would simply like to get some of those truths out of bed and out of the dormitory.