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Read: Hebrews 4:15-16 “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

”I’ve been focused on sin a great deal in these WISH posts. “Sin” is an important, recurring theme in the Bible and in human life. We have a tendency to think of sin as “breaking the rules” or “going against God’s will”, which while true, remains one step removed from the heart of God. The reason that God is opposed to sin is because it hurts people. That’s it. In a very practical way, that is the bottom-line reason that God is opposed to sin, because it hurts us, and because it hurts others.

I like that focus on the definition of sin because it gets us away from God as the Cosmic Cop looking to catch us doing something wrong or the Great Judge ready to pass sentence on our bad actions. This image of God is more parental. The reason that parents have rules is for the safety, protection, and benefit of their children. We don’t want our children to get hurt, and we don’t want them hurting others. We have rules because we love our children, and because we want what’s best for them in life, well into their future.

God’s opposition to sin is not to keep us from having “fun”. God is not a Cosmic Kill-joy! God wants us to blossom in love and to know complete joy in life, in the best and healthiest ways. In the fifteenth chapter of John’s Gospel Jesus is preparing His disciples for their ongoing walk on faith (without Him being physically with them). He is teaching them important spiritual principles, among them is this verse:

“I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.” (John 15:11, NRSV)

God is not an angry punitive deity like the Greek gods of mythology or like the pagan gods of antiquity. The word that best describes God is love (1John 4:8, 1John 4:16).

Shalom,

Pastor Rob Nystrom