The Law and Sin –

Sin:  Separation and Estrangement

2 Chronicles 24:17-22
Isaiah 59:1-4, 64:4-12
Ezekiel 14:1-11
Luke 16:19-31
Jeremiah 50:6-7; Ezekiel 34:2-12; Matthew 9:35-36, 18:12; Isaiah 53:6; Psalms 119:176

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2 Chronicles 24:17-22 (6/13/11)

Did you ever play with bar magnets?  If you match the ends up correctly, they pull each other closer.  If you try to match the wrong ends together, they repel each other, and it can be almost impossible to get them to touch. 

The main problem with sin is that it estranges us from God.  Our scripture today puts this idea succinctly:  “Why are you disobeying me and my laws? … You have deserted me, so now I will desert you.”  Putting God and sin together is like trying to match the wrong ends of magnets.  God’s nature and sin’s nature are completely repellant to each other.  Sin forces us out of the presence of God.  

Isaiah 59:1-4, 64:4-12 (6/14/11)

Isaiah says that when sin separates us from God, it’s not God’s fault.  God is still able to give salvation; God is still able to hear prayer; God is still the only God.  However, our own sin is like a soundproof veil between us and God.  We can neither see him nor hear him.

Ezekiel 14:1-11 (6/15/11)

Have you seen the little sign that says, “Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part”?    There’s another one that has a cartoon character rolling on the floor laughing and saying, “You want it when?”  What these signs have in common is that if my request for help is unreasonable, it’s going to be turned down, and it’s my own fault!

God says that is unreasonable for us to estrange ourselves from him (by worshipping other gods or whatever) and then to expect his help in living our lives.  “First turn around and come back to me,” he says.  “Then we’ll talk.  Then I can help you.”  Lack of repentance on my part does not constitute hard-heartedness on God’s part.  If I can’t get forgiveness, it’s my own fault.

Luke 16:19-31 (6/16/11)

Let me just say right up front that the Bible is not against wealth.  What the Bible is against is the poor use of wealth. 

The rich man in this parable used his wealth poorly by spending it all on himself when there was someone who needed help right on his own doorstep.  He ended up permanently estranged and separated from God.  Jesus compares the separation to “a great chasm” that no one can cross in either direction.  You don’t have to take the story literally, because it’s a parable, but even as a figure of speech the chasm shows how far away from God we can get as a result of our own actions or inaction.
Jeremiah 50:6-7; Ezekiel 34:2-12; Matthew 9:35-36, 18:12; Isaiah 53:6; Psalms 119:176 (6/17/11)

When we are separated and estranged from God by our sin, we are like lost and scattered sheep.  We are in danger of injury, disease, thirst, hunger, and attack by enemies.  Our pastors – did you know that “pastor” means “shepherd”? – bear special responsibility for ensuring our safety from these threats. 

Fortunately, God is the good shepherd who seeks after his sheep, even when they willfully stray away.
More on The Law and Sin

The Law: Given by God
The Law: Civil and Criminal
The Law: Ethics, Morality, and Love
The Law: Written in Our Hearts
Sin: Breaking of the Law
Sin: Apostasy
Sin: Separation and Estrangement
Sin: Unfaithfulness to God is Adultery
The Doctrine of Original Sin
Dead in Sin

Copyright 2011, 2013 by Regina L. Hunter. All rights reserved.

Opinions expressed on this page are solely those of the author, Regina Hunter, and may or may not be shared by the sponsors or the Bible-study participants.  Thanks to the Holy Spirit for any useful ideas presented here, and thanks to all the readers for their support and enthusiasm.  All errors are, of course, the sole responsibility of the author.

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