Take Jesus More Seriously Than Your Sin!

A good friend of mine recently communicated with me about his struggle with idolatry. He asked me to help hold him accountable as he seeks to avoid this weakness. As I was communicating my encouragement and support, it crossed my mind to write back to him “don’t take your idolatry too seriously.” I’ve got to be honest and admit that immediately after writing that sentence I questioned myself, and one part of my brain began to struggle again with the mythological, generic and ogre god whose first commandment is to avoid idolatry. However, almost immediately after thinking that, I sensed the encounter and encouragement of the Holy Spirit to let the statement stand because it really was true encouragement in the light of Who Jesus Christ is!

As I continued to think deeply on “my” statement and the insightful solace of the Holy Spirit in affirming that statement to my friend, my friend wrote me back with the following:

“Don’t take your idolatry too seriously.”  That’s a really profound idea; it really hit me between the eyes.  I’m going to be thinking about that one for awhile….

Considering the two ideas and wildly opposite pictures of God we each have on the inside of us, I can imagine that those words might hit you between the eyes, as they hit me and my friend, too!

On the one hand is the non-relational, unfeeling god of our sinful imaginations who is more concerned about us keeping his laws than he is interested in us. From that “god’s” standpoint my comment makes no sense, because that god created us for the very purpose of taking idolatry seriously and making sure we do not break his first and most important commandment, sinning against him.

On the other hand, there is the One and only Triune God. The God Who has revealed in the Person of Jesus that He is more interested in being WITH US, despite and in spite of our sin. The Relational, feeling God we could never imagine on our best day apart from Him! The God Who has included us in His Love and Relationship, permanently, determined that we come to know and experience him as he really is. From this True God’s standpoint, my comment about not taking idolatry too seriously makes all the sense in the world. It makes sense because this Triune and Communal God had decided before the foundation of the world to include humanity and creation in His Life and Love in Jesus.

In other words, whether we had ever sinned or not, the Second Person of the Trinity, the Son of God, was going to become incarnate and adopt us in the Eternal Plan and Purpose of the Triune God.(Ephesians 1, Romans 8, Galatians 4:7) In our weak human language and human way of expressing it, the heart of the Father, Son and Spirit has always been, and will always be, “We Want You All With Us!”

This massive intention of God the Trinity’s purpose to have us Adopted and Included in the humanity of Jesus is also seen in the biblical language of “the lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev 13:8). Having created us in weakness, and knowing the distinct possibility of our acting freakishly weak in our weakness (such weakness that we would crucify Jesus our Creator!), this fantastically creative God had already decided to submit to our craziness!

He submitted to our weakness from before the foundation of the world in order to put it to death forever in his death; to save or heal us so that we would not only be Adopted but be so transformed in our Adoption that we would receive the very life of the Son’s Humanity into our humanity!! Into our brokenness even!!! Wowsa!!! Holy Spirit Batman!! Ha-Ha!

When we begin to grasp the staggering intent of this God and experience him inside our guts as Living Revelation, it also becomes evident that ONLY Jesus could actually take sin as seriously as sin should be taken. Unfortunately the nature of the case of sin is also to have a sinful view of sin!! A view that cannot actually be trusted from our sinful side!

But the most encouraging thing about all of this to me is that by time we learn of our Adoption, our sin, and even our sinful view of sin, the Father’s Son has already come and fulfilled our Adoption and undone the sin! Whoa! A Divine Comedy and Paradox! And so, in the Gospel (Jesus Himself!), “my” statement to my friend is far huger than the small astonishment our puny minds are just beginning to participate in. The statement of the Father to you and to me is a mind boggling one:

“Don’t take your idolatry (or sin) too seriously because He Who has already taken you, and it, more seriously than you can imagine, Jesus Christ,  has not only Adopted you but has Saved you from yourself, in Himself, as the Alpha and Omega, Your Beginning AND Your End!”

– Timothy J. Brassell

9 comments so far

  1. Cjae on

    Yipee!!!! What good news, Timothy, and very timely as I go into this new year wanting to be WITH HIM more than anything. Here I am, His kid, loved, accepted just as I am, and adopted into His Life. How freeing to let go of that “sinful view of sin” and to run into His open arms.

  2. Kimberly on

    That is such lovely, timely encouragement! …Thank you so much!

  3. John Geerlings on

    Thanks Tim
    What an eye opening blog! All humanity need to read this!
    My mind needs constant renewal (renovation) from looking at myself through the eyes of sin to the reality of seeing who I truly am by faith from the eyes of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I can live in the here and now as a living being (soul) from the senses of my body or learn to live from the new spirit life, my new identity in me. To worship in spirit and truth is all about Jesus and His continual work in us in the here and now. Sin no longer needs to control our lives, it is not who we are anymore! jg

  4. Ted Johnston on

    Hi Tim,
    In his fine book, “The God who believes,” Christian Kettler writes about the issue you are here addressing:

    “The problem of humanity, and therefore of God’s creation, is its corruption due to sin, resulting in death. The Father of Jesus, however is not afraid of the contradictions in his creation. The crazy quilt of our world of woe can bring us so easily to doubt and despair, but the Son knows the Father who has sent the Son to bear the contradiction on the cross. Since the Son is of one essence (homoousios) with the Father, this contradiction is now not alien to God’s own being. God has made the problem of creation his own problem in sending the Son in the power of the Spirit. He has taken our place. Can we say then that the problem of evil and suffering in a world created by an all-powerful and loving God is no longer our problem? This is what Christ’s vicarious faith proclaims” (p. 103).

  5. tjbrassell on

    Cjae – I yipee along with you! All the best to you in the New year with Him!

    Kimberly – He knows what we need and when we need it! He sent Jesus at just the right time for us sinners!

    John – I like your heart for all humanity! I KNOW Whose life you’re sharing in!

    Ted – Wow! I need more quotes and reading like that! “Can we say then that the problem of evil and suffering in a world created by an all-powerful and loving God is no longer our problem? This is what Christ’s vicarious faith proclaims” Holy Boldness! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Jason on

    Hey Tim,

    You are right. Your comments initially made me wince and smacked of irreverence. I mean, how can you say to someone to disregard God’s appraisal of something and use your own. So what if God takes idolatry seriously…you don’t have to. How bold of you, indeed!

    But as I re-read your post more carefully I began thinking it through.

    I don’t think you are saying that we are to have no concern over our “idolatry” or sin, but that we shouldn’t think so “seriously” about it that we end up condeming ourselves for it. As you say, Jesus Himself takes our sin as seriously as it really is for us so that we can stop dwelling on it (because we can’t take it as seriously as He can anyway) and turn our eyes back to Him, the “Author and Perfector of Faith”, and live as Children who are loved by the Father.

    Of course, maybe I’m still not reading you clearly…but I’ll take what I can get! 🙂

    Thanks,

    Jason

  7. tjbrassell on

    Hey Jason! thanks for your comments. You ARE reading and interpreting my post correctly! The irony of placing too much concentration on our sin is that we fall into the sin of idolatry; putting sin as the primary thing in our lives unintentionally! If we want to put sin in a primary place of importance, then it should be “He became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Cor 5! Ha-Ha! Jesus changes everything!

    You have the great gift of writing in a very clear manner and I really appreciate that! Look forward to reading more from you! Peace, Love and Blessings My Brother!

  8. boyd merriman on

    we have to remember that it is Jesus who takes away the sins of the world, so our attempt at taking away our sins, focusing on our sin to the exclusion of Jesus can be sin itself! That can be idolatry too!

    Wow, so many ways sin can creep up on us while we are trying to overcome! Thanks to Jesus, even that is taken care of!

    Boyd

  9. tjbrassell on

    Yes, Boyd – Jesus is the Advocate for Everyone and the Atoning Sacrifice for the sins of the World! 1 John 2:1-2 .

    Peace!

    Timothy


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