What does it take to offend God?
I asked our Wednesday night Bible and discussion group what the non-Christian, non-church world calls sin and if it was different from what the church understands sin to be.
If I am racially biased, if I suggest that homosexuality is wrong, if I am complacent about poverty, abuse, climate change, and any other number of things, that is pretty much what the non-Christian world calls sin.
The truth is a lot different. Some of the things that the non-Christian world calls sin is just a social issue, a social sin, but may not be sin according to what God says. The word sin literally means, “to miss the mark.” Shoot at a target and miss it, well, in a spiritual sense, that is what sin is. Romans 3:23; “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Each of us have missed the mark.
The Bible shows a number of things that are contrary to God’s glory and God’s way:
- lying, deceit, and such
- stealing and theft and coveting
- hate and murder
- using God’s name in vain, as a curse word and living in a way inconsistent with God’s ways
- worshiping other things than God (often called idolatry)
- abuse of another person
- sex outside of marriage, adultery and lust
The list goes on because anything can be perverted and made into sin. Some things are obvious, but it is not just what you do, it is what is in your heart. So adultery is not the only wrong, so is lusting for someone in our hearts and minds.
The thing is, sin is opposed to who God is. We were created in God’s image (Genesis 1), and when we commit any sin (and the greatest sin of all is the failure to accept Jesus as your Savior), we have separated ourselves from God and will not have a part in God’s eternity.
This is why repentance is so necessary. Sin is not just a condition, it is your choice. And we all have chosen sin, even if we didn’t recognize it.
And the claim that I’m a good person may be true, but good by what standards? Mine? Yours? Someone else’s? The rest of the world? Or good by God’s standards? Yes, by God’s standards.
God’s standard is based on the image of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ who obeyed God and fulfilled his will and gave his life. Jesus who is the image of God in this world.
So . . . have we put on Christ? When you believe, if you have repented and are willing to confess Jesus Christ and be baptized, than you have put on Christ and God sees you as good. He judges you according to the image of Christ that covers you from his death on the cross.