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Communion Meditations (2013)

Solutions to Sin


Originally scheduled for September 15

One of the most common characteristics of the human race is our intense desire to solve problems. We certainly have our share of problems to solve; but the fact is we enjoy solving them and feel very good about ourselves when we do. One of those problems to which we have produced a multitude of solutions is the problem of sin.

Some of the solutions are ancient ones.

·         Perhaps the most common is this: “I’m a better man than…” As long as we can find someone who is a more miserable sinner than we are, we somehow feel justified.

·         Another ancient solution is legalism. If we can only define a code of laws that sounds very strict we think keeping that code makes us righteous. There are codes that prevent you from drinking coffee; other codes prohibit eating meat on certain days. We feel righteous when we can keep a detailed code of laws.

·         There is always the method of Pontius Pilate: “what is truth?” We can always pretend that we don’t know whether or not what we just did really is sin or acceptable. There is nothing like dishonest doubt to make us feel better.

You’ll notice one thing about all those ancient solutions: they’re designed to help you with the feeling of guilt — not the fact of sin. The modern world has come up with some new solutions.

·         We can simply change the definition of what we’re doing. Everyone approves of marriage; so you and your dog can get married and we have to approve. This is somewhat like renaming bank robbery to be “self-service income redistribution.” It sounds good, doesn’t it?

·         There is the modern psychological approach: guilt is just a feeling. Your problem is that you’re feeling guilty, not that you’re a sinner. So let’s deal with the guilt; take these pills.

·         What might be the most modern and clever approach is simply this: let time pass. If you wait long enough everyone will forget about it.

There’s only one thing wrong with each of these solutions, ancient or modern: they don’t work. They make you feel better, but they do not deal with the fact of sin. The only solution to sin comes in repentance and asking forgiveness. If you’re going to deal with your sin, you’re going to have to deal with God.

Fortunately, in his love he has provided a way for us to do that. This is what Christ did on the cross for us; he made the atonement price of our sins. Thus, by following God’s prescription, we can be forgiven of our sins. It is precisely this sacrifice that we celebrate and remember in keeping the Lord’s Supper. As you take the cup, remember the blood which flowed from your Savior’s side. As you take the bread remember his body hanging on the cross. Your forgiveness, your salvation — both depend on what he did at Calvary. Contemplate this, and then take in a manner worthy of the sacrifice he made.

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