Haha. I'm awesome or something.
"Does our sin separate us from God?"
HUGE question... HUGE answer.
I think that the way we answer this question dictates much of how we live our lives.
I think that the answer could be summed up in one sentence... and could also fill volumes and volumes of books. It is simple and wildly complex all at the same time. And therein lies the confusion.
I DO NOT pretend to know all of the ins and outs of this topic. I, too, have a list of questions that I will be asking when I arrive at the pearl gates.
But for now, I hope this can help someone:
Does our sin separate us from God?
The answer is a very simple "Yes" or "No" depending on only one thing.
At risk of sounding preachy, I am not going to miss sharing the Gospel at a potential Gospel-sharing time. So here is...
the Gospel Holly-style:
God made us (and the rest of everything ever), and thought we were the bees knees!
Sin (which is pretty much a Biblical word for disobedience) screwed everything up.
This is how I picture it:
God is perfect. Perfectly perfect. He is the absolute standard for perfection, and nothing imperfect could ever be in the presence of His perfection. It's not because it's mean... it's just because He's perfect.
Kind of like how light and darkness don't mix.
When you turn on the light, you don't see darkness hanging around and trying to get to hang out in the same place as the light. They just don't coexist.
So the simplest version is that when we made a mistake... sin... disobey God... whatever you want to call it, we effectively removed ourselves from God's presence. Again... not because He doesn't like us... simply because our sin just isn't okay in God's presence.
(I should add that Hell was a place created only for Satan and his demons. It was never created for people. However, because we have sinned, and our sin isn't able to enter heaven... well... when we die, we have to end up somewhere... and if it's not Heaven, it must be... well... think about it.)
INTERJECTION: If this was the end of the story, then the answer would be quick and easy. YES. Sin does separate us from God. But it's not the end. Thank God.
So here is where the story gets GOOD.
Jesus. Simply put, JESUS is God in sandals... He is perfect in every way, lived a sinless life, and actually, truthfully walked on this Earth approx 2000 years ago, and did such remarkable things back then that He is still the biggest thing going to this day.
Because He never, EVER disobeyed God, He was the first human being in history ever to qualify to go to Heaven. EVER.
Now instead of living His life, doing good things, loving people, and calling it a day, He did something SO much more remarkable. He was perfect, AND He was GOD (remember...? God in sandals. That's a big deal). He knew that going spending eternity in Heaven would be wonderful, but He didn't want to go alone. He wanted to bring every single one of us with Him! So He did what none of us could do... He decided to pay for each of our sins. He took the responsibility of all of our sins. He dealt with our imperfection. And it was pretty much the single biggest event in all of history. (And this is where the Easter story comes in).
(If you want a crazy visual of what this REALLY meant, and what it REALLY took, watch "the Passion of the Christ." Bring your tissues, and brace yourself. It's intense... and you might never be the same... in the best way possible. And when you watch it [even if you've already seen it, watch it again], keep in mind that the entire reason that He did all of that was so that YOU could go to Heaven WITH Him.) - Remember back to when God thought we were the bees knees? I was serious... He is MIGHTY fond of us!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAomWDGOAL4 <------- Here's a link to it on youtube
And that brings us to this moment... the moment where we decide whether or not we want to go to Heaven and accept the work that Jesus did so that we can know God and live with Him forever.
I'm going to lay it out as simple as I possibly can:
You are NOT choosing to be religious... you are not committed to being perfect... and there is no need to even be a good person to accept Jesus. (It's like taking a bath... when you're dirty, you need a bath... if you're just a little bit dirty, or REALLY dirty. Either way, hop in... and THEN you can get clean. Simple. As. That.)
You ARE choosing to go to Heaven... you are choosing to not go to Hell. You are choosing to accept the sacrifice and work that Jesus did so that you can go WITH Him to Heaven. You are choosing to have a relationship with Jesus, God the Father, and His Holy Spirit (Simply put, that's kind of like the part of God that lives in us and helps us out with anything we need - sort of like a conscience. Like a real life GOD version of Jimminy Cricket).
How do you do it?Simple: Tell God that you want to. And that can be done in any words you want. I'll give you an example of what to say to God if you would like to just pray along with me:
Jesus, I believe that you paid for my sins so that I can go to Heaven and live with You forever. Thank you for loving me. I accept what you did for me, and I choose to go to Heaven and live my life for you. Holy Spirit, I ask you for your help. Please teach me how to live for You, God. I ask for your forgiveness for everything I've ever done wrong, and I thank you for loving me and forgiving me. Please help me to meet people who will help me learn more about you.
WOOOOOOOOOT!!! (In case that was new for you, please let me know... via twitter, facebook, my blog, however... You have an amazing life ahead of you, and I would love to chat and hear your story.)
That depends entirely on if you let it. Naturally, yes. Our sin DOES separate us from God. (If you didn't read the Gospel portion, do a quick check back to the light/darkness bit).
But if you have accepted the work that Jesus did for us, paying the price for our sins, then NO! YOUR SIN DOES NOT separate you from God.
Yes, your sin will have natural consequences... and if you continually choose to disobey God, then you will begin to silence His voice in your life. There are ways to hinder an excellent relationship with God, and continual, unrepentant sin is a great way to do that. But when we are Christians and have accepted the sacrifice that Jesus made, our sin does NOT separate us from God.
This came up the other day when a young girl that I know told me about something bad that she had done. It wasn't world changing, but it was a bad choice, and we both acknowledged that. And then she told me that it separated her from God.
It stopped me in my tracks.
And I wondered how many of us believe this lie.
When I remember back to my early days as a young Christian, I remember some well meaning people telling me that every time I sinned, it's like putting another brick on a wall between me and God. This type of message is preached often, but it is NOT the Gospel!
The TRUTH is that if this brick wall theory were true, then no one would ever go to Heaven. The truth is that only one brick is enough to keep us away from God. And the truth is that Jesus worked WAY to knock down EVERY wall for us to believe that we are building new ones.
And I think that this lie is crippling and shaming so many of us.
If you have not accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then YES. Your sin is separating you from God (read above). But if you HAVE accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then your sin is DEALT WITH!
I picture that when we sin, we walk up Jesus with our brick (the one that with out Him WOULD have built the wall to separate us from God), and we hand it to Him, and fall into His loving, forgiving arms.
The Bible says,
"And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow - not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below - indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39
Our sin sucks. It is not okay. We need to try not to do it. We need to repent. We need to ask God for help. Sometimes, when we are stuck, we even need to ask others for help. We need to read our Bibles so that we know what God says and so that it can renew us, and we need to be part of a Church family that is going to help us do our best.
But we need to believe in the saving power of Jesus! We need to believe that our sin is NOT a big enough deal to separate us from God any more. We need to believe that the work that Jesus did on the cross was MORE powerful than our sin. And we need to stand on that truth because believing and confessing Jesus is what saves us (Romans 10:9-10).
My friend did sin. And so did I when I yelled at my kids this morning. It was not okay, and it needs to stop.
But am I separated from God because of it? Am I building a wall that is slowly undoing what Jesus DID?!? NO! I am not. Praise GOD I'm not. Because my sin list is long, and ugly... and my wall would be blocking out God's goodness by now. But I can tell you from experience that when I have sinned and ran to Jesus' arms for forgiveness and love, and help... I have been embraced with a love so mighty, so powerful, and so pure that it has changed me.
I am not telling the whole story. There is more to this. Like I said, there are volumes and volumes... books galore on this... millions of sermons preached, and I am NOT covering all of what could (and maybe should) be said on this topic. But this is a tidbit. A morsel. A snippit. Hopefully enough to get you thinking... hungry... desiring to learn more about how sin does affect your life.
But as for me and my sin... I know that mine is dealt with, and I am mightily grateful for that!
Thank you, Jesus.
If you would like some amazing free resources on this, here are a few of my favorite places to start:
the BIBLE! The BEST resource out there... it is never wrong, and it DOES tell the whole story. If you don't have one, get one. There are lots of places to get free Bibles in your city. Including a local church in your area. If you have one that you don't understand, get a different one. If it's the Bible, it's going to tell the same story. Some versions simply say it in a different way. (hint* Start reading in the book of John... great place to start.)
An ALPHA course in your area.
http://gatewaypeople.com/sermons - Incredible teaching sermons. Consistent, and I'm confident that they will help you learn the TRUTH.
Your local Christian church.
And me! Like I said earlier, if you want to talk, let me know. I love new friends! And I don't have all the answers, but I know the Guy who does! *wink*wink* hehe.
As always, Be Blessed!