Romans 3:22-24 (NLT)
We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.
I have sinned and fallen short of God’s Glorious Standard of Living. According to God’s Word (the Bible), everyone has. I received the Grace of God by placing my faith and trust in Jesus Christ to be my Savior and believing in my heart that He is Lord. This is freedom of choice not offered by the government but a Gracious, Loving and Merciful God has great compassion for me because of His Great Love that I have experienced and encountered firsthand and choose to share with others. To state this as fact is not a hate crime but truly what I believe. To recite the Ten Commandments or the many passages that detail sinful acts is not a hate crime either but rather the terms and conditions of my covenant with God which I have grossly violated every single time I choose something other than what He has promised. Salvation is not my religion neither is Christianity. It is my life choice. Each of us have been given the right to choose between blessing and cursing or life and death for that matter. You decide and no one else that is because our individual relationship is personal. God desires intimacy with you. It is not a corporate endeavor or it becomes a religion. When we join together it should be to worship the Lord, serve Him wholeheartedly and share His Great Love – otherwise it becomes political. I do not want to be religious. I do not want to be political. My heart’s desire is to be in a radical relationship with God turn from sin entirely and seek Him day by day.
Sin is a hate crime. It is perhaps the greatest injustice of all time. God gave us everything that is good and beneficial. We chose something else. He gave us the “naked” truth, but we wanted the whole truth so mankind chose to believe the lie. God put us in a garden with all power and dominion in total freedom to enjoy the goodness of His Creation but we chose sin instead desiring bondage and captivity. (Genesis 3:1-9) Now we are a world overridden and dominated by sin as people live in full rebellion against God even some who label themselves Christians. Sin does not make God hate you or single you out. There are only two groups of people – saved and unsaved. The only deciding factor is His Grace. Everyone has fallen short of God’s Glorious Standard – there is not one sin greater than another. We have created a hierarchy of sin to make us feel better in our weakness and propensity to continually fall short rather than relying on His Grace by Faith to transform us into the new creation we have yet to become. God is Love. It is His Unfailing Love and Overflowing Compassion for all humanity that causes Him to pour out new mercy each morning for those who are willing to pick it up and apply it to their life. (Lamentations 3:22) Sin is a crime punishable by death which can only be escaped one way. Our sin is rebellion. (I Samuel 15:22-24) It occurs every single time we choose something, someone or some way other than God’s Very Best. Each time we sin without the application of grace through repentance it separates us from God as we have broken our covenant with Him. Before you sigh and think “on my knees again…, you should read the Book of Leviticus. In those days each sin called for retribution that was time consuming and costly. All you must do know is boldly come into His Presence and find all that you need.
Romans 5:19-21 (NLT)
Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous. God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant. So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
God’s Word shows us just how sinful we are. Every single one of us has transgressed against one detail or another. But somewhere along way, religion has torn apart God’s Word and decided which sins are worthy of grace and which ones are not. It takes a hardline against some sin but pardons others according to their view on society as a whole. I am being very careful not to call any one instance out on this because this is not about what we think or how we feel about particular transgressions. God hates every single sin committed the same. He hates all sin without prejudice. The only way to seek pardon from the death penalty of sin is through the Blood of Jesus Christ no matter how barbaric or heinous the image of dying on a Cross is to you. This is the bottom line but the rest is the Greatest Love Story ever written. We are all in this together. The Love of Christ in us accepted by faith should produce a life of love not hate. Oh, I love the people and hate their sin. Oh really! If you love people and hate their sin, then why do you make fun or mock them. Why do you whisper when they walk by or look down on them for their faults and failures? Yet Christians break promises every single day which is labeled as sin. (Deuteronomy 23:21) Lie to bill collectors on the phone then go shopping or eat out every night. (Deuteronomy 24:15) Let’s not even talk about being mean spirited. (Deuteronomy 15:9) The very first commandment says, “You will have no other gods except me.” (Exodus 20) What do you spend the most time doing? What do you think about the most? Do you inspect your life for other gods and destroy them on sight or hide them away? Whether we are willing to admit it or not gods creep up in our life all that time. This world is filled with things that distract us and people who detour us. We want them more than God. This is a sin. All sin is the same. So before you condemn a brother and sister for their sin calling it reprehensible and then making fun of them, remember we have all fallen short of God’s Glorious Standard day after day after day. God’s Wonderful Grace is more abundant than ever for those who really do choose to hate sin and love other people affectionately, fervently above themselves. The last commandment that Christ gave us calling it the most important was to “love one another” so maybe it is appropriate to say that any believer who does not live in God’s Grace and pour out His Love on others is guilty of a hate crime against God? (John 13:34-35) Our ability to love other people characterizes His Disciples or those who are walking in His Way.
Ezra 9:5-9 (NLT)
At the time of the sacrifice, I stood up from where I had sat in mourning with my clothes torn. I fell to my knees and lifted my hands to the LORD my God. I prayed, “O my God, I am utterly ashamed; I blush to lift up my face to you. For our sins are piled higher than our heads, and our guilt has reached to the heavens. From the days of our ancestors until now, we have been steeped in sin. That is why we and our kings and our priests have been at the mercy of the pagan kings of the land. We have been killed, captured, robbed, and disgraced, just as we are today. “But now we have been given a brief moment of grace, for the LORD our God has allowed a few of us to survive as a remnant. He has given us security in this holy place. Our God has brightened our eyes and granted us some relief from our slavery. For we were slaves, but in his unfailing love our God did not abandon us in our slavery. Instead, he caused the kings of Persia to treat us favorably. He revived us so we could rebuild the Temple of our God and repair its ruins. He has given us a protective wall in Judah and Jerusalem.
When I came across the passage today, I couldn’t help but reflect on the state of the church today and the Body of Jesus Christ. I am utterly ashamed of the mockery religion has made of our relationship with Jesus. We have reflected a ruthless and sarcastic God who rather than loving all mankind segregates them according to their sin and files them under each vile act. God is love. His Love is Unfailing and Unconditional. I must learn to hate all sin and love God more. In doing so, His Grace and Mercy allow me to love other people without condemnation and judgment. Murderers and perpetrators of the most heinous offenses are sinners gone astray. I must fight hatred and pray for their enlightenment and salvation rather than trying to cover my hatred under some sin chart man created allowing us to turn our back on them. There are people living lifestyles I do not understand and though it seems unnatural to me so does love which should be my second nature. Why instead of fighting against them and making fun of their decision can’t I show them a Savior who loves them more than any other person and allow His Spirit to change their heart where indicated? This “turn or burn” philosophy of religion is not working. We have no faith and trust in the Spirit of God to change people so we try to clean them up in the most unorthodox way portraying God in an untrue manner. He says, “Come as you are!” Anything else is manmade and untrue created by a religious spirit and pious people. I believe God is giving the Body of Christ a “brief moment of grace” to see how sin has managed to captivate us more. It tells us its okay to hate even when we call it the truth and God-given right protected by the Constitution. But friend, God never gave us permission to sin. It is still a hate crime. Grace takes away the penalty so His Love, Grace and Mercy can flow over us and through us! If it is not, there is a breach in our covenant that must be repaired through repentance and turning our heart back to God!
Psalm 51:10-15 (NLT)
Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and make me willing to obey you. Then I will teach your ways to rebels and they will return to you. Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves; then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness. Unseal my lips, O Lord, that my mouth may praise you.
Every single time I come back to this place of asking for a new, clean heart, I am horrified to find just how far I have fallen from His Glorious Standard. Asking the Lord to renew a loyal spirit reveals the space of separation that sin has caused as I have chosen other things over God’s Glorious Standard. Sin doesn’t have to make the morning news to make any more or less offensive to God. He hates it all as well He should. Our sin nailed His Precious and Perfect Son to the Cross. It was for our sickness and disease that He was tortured. Our freedom could only be bought with every single drop of His Blood. This is the starting place of righteousness. If each day we would seek to make our own heart right and stay free from all sin, we would find this to be a full-time job to continue in the Way that He has shown. We would have love and compassion for other people as we strive along together. His Holy Spirit will guide you as you invest more and more faith and trust in God believing every single word to be true. There is no need to add to it or take from it, explain it or defend it – the Truth stands firm on its own. When tempted in the wilderness, Jesus didn’t argue with the devil. He simply stated the Word. After a few times, the devil left Him. Don’t get caught up in foolish arguments that cause separation do your warring on your knees! In such a place, you will once again find joy in your salvation and willingness to obey God’s every word. He will give you the opportunity to “teach” those who live in rebellion not in word but deed. Love covers a multitude of sin. Arguments separate. Even when interrogated, Jesus said not a word to Pilate. So what makes you or me any better than the Lord to prove His Word and Way are true? We must learn to speak the Word and leave our opinion out of it. If you don’t know the Word, then do something about it and study it daily for insight and knowledge. Then and only then will you be ready to respond in season and out of season (on or off guard). We have to live it and love other people. Forgive me for shedding blood or living in a way that pushes people from the Cross because I have chosen not to love others as you have instructed. It is time to tell others of the Unfailing Love and Compassion of God demonstrating it in every word we speak and deed we do. Living a life of praise points to the Awesomeness of God. If we lift Jesus up, people will be drawn to Him. When I testify about the Goodness of God in my life, they want Him. When I tear them apart, they will fear Him. I do not want to be the victim of a hate crime for living what I believe. But more importantly, my righteousness is dependent on my ability to love and trust the Lord rather than perpetrating hate crimes against others. Sin is the greatest hate crime of all. When we choose not to love others as Christ loves us with grace, mercy and great compassion – we once again have fallen short of His Glorious Standard.
John 15:12-17 (NLT)
This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. This is my command: Love each other.