"For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened." Romans 1:21
Right or wrong? Left or right? Sin or mistake or problem? Our world is trying harder and harder each day to erase the line between what is right and what is wrong. Our world today does not like to acknowledge or hear the word sin. Instead, our world tries to replace it with mistake or problem. Sin is the mistake! Sin is the problem! And it is not something we should casually overlook or sweep under the rug. We need to get serious about sin. God is serious about sin. His wrath is real. His judgement is final. However, God's love is greater than sin…my sin…our sin…the sin of the world. He did something about the sin that imprisons us and dooms us. God gave His one and only Son, Jesus, to pay the price for my sin…our sin…the sin of the world. Jesus lived a perfect life and then died a sacrificial death on the cross and was raised again from the grave to pay for and defeat all sin. That doesn't mean we're forgiven so we can just keep on sinning. That doesn't mean we are able to erase the lines and get to choose what is right and what is wrong…what is called sin and what is called mistake or problem. God decides! God has already decided! His Word is truth, and nothing that man can say or do will ever change His Word. He is the one and true Judge. Yes, He is a loving God; but yes, He is a righteous God, as well.
What has sin done to mankind? What is sin continuing to do to us today? It has separated us from the love of God. It has destroyed relationships…relationship between God and man…relationship between man and man…relationship between man and humanity. Sin is what has caused us to hate, to divide, and to destroy. I don't have a problem with a person; I have a problem with sin. Sin is what distorts the mind, clouds the vision, and darkens the heart. Read what Paul says in Romans 1:18-32. In verses 18-19, he says, "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them." He says in verse 21 that "their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened." Verse 25 says, "They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator - who is forever praised. Amen." Paul goes on to tell us what happens when we turn from God, when our thinking becomes futile and our hearts become darkened. In verses 26-32, he finishes by saying, "Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them." Those are powerful and true words. And we are seeing the results of sin today. Anytime a Christ follower stands up to speak out against sin, there will be those who oppose because their thinking is futile and their foolish hearts have been darkened. Jesus reminded us of this in John 15:18, when he said, "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first."
But God… John 3:16 says, "FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." God stepped into the great chasm that sin created with His love. We can turn from our sin back to God. He will forgive us through Jesus Christ and restore us into right relationship with Him. Why? Because GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD. When we are in right relationship with Him, we have the capacity to be in right relationship with man and with humanity. We don't have to live this life with futile thinking or with foolish hearts. We can live this life with love, the kind of love Jesus commanded in John 13:34, when he said, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." This love is only found in God through Jesus.