Dealing with Sin July 19 – 26, 2015

Romans 3: 22b-24 (NRSV)

For there is no distinction, since all have sinned
and fall short of the glory of God;
they are now justified by his grace as a gift,
through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

Being the Church in Christ: Wisdom from Pastor Paul
(The Brentwood Sermon Series for 2015)

Throughout 2015, the Christian community at Brentwood Presbyterian Church will be considering how to be the church in Jesus Christ, guided by the wisdom of Pastor Paul. We invite you to listen for what the Spirit is saying in the text, then question how those insights might change the ways you see things and act in the world. Share your thoughts during the week on the meaning the Spirit creates for you in this text by posting a comment on our website – www.brentwoodpc.ca.

A Provocative Pondering

Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful.  And let us provoke one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together … (Hebrews 10:23-25a)

The glory or energy of God is the light of the world. To fall short of the flourishing that is fed by that energy is to live in some degree of darkness.

That is the image that I’m going to ponder this week as we explore how Paul encourages us to deal with sin.

How do we define sin – a state, an act, a tendency, an addiction?

How do we deal with it – shame, blame, ignore, rationalize?

How does God deal with it – punishment, forget it, forgive it?

How should the church deal with it – condemn, overlook, forgive?

These are challenging questions, not unrelated to the issues surrounding human sexuality and sexual orientation that Presbyterians across the country will be considering this year.

Paul has strong convictions on at least one of those questions that I just posed. God deals with sin by forgiving it. That is a gift of grace. It is not something we deserve or earn, but a free act of God to create freedom for human beings.

So, perhaps the question is not so much how we deal with sin as it is how we respond to how God has already dealt with sin. I think that puts a different twist on the subject. But let’s see how the Holy Spirit works in our pondering this week.

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