JOHN SHIRK – Adam and Eve were free to eat the fruit of any tree except from the Tree of the Knowledge of good and evil.
But Satan tried to portray God as a naysayer when he approached Eve. He said, “Did God really say, ‘you must not eat from any tree in the garden?’
Eve corrected him, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.”
Satan’s next tactic was to portray God as a rival. He said, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” With these words, he persuaded Eve to disobey God and take a bite.
Sin is the great tragedy of humanity. Paradise was lost through sin. The good news is that paradise is restored through Jesus Christ.
Romans 6:23 says, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Salvation through Jesus Christ overcomes the tragedy of sin and is a lesson of faith worth remembering.
JOHN SHIRK – From First Timothy 1:15.
Words from the Apostle Paul, “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners-of whom I am the worst.”
There are times in the New Testament when Paul gives us a window into his tainted past. His conversion to Christ was a dramatic transformation of character in a short time. In reflecting on his life, Paul realized that there were many sins of his that Jesus had forgiven.
In this verse, we can put our personal name in place of the word “sinners”. Christ Jesus came into the world to save….me. His grace is a gift for me to receive. There is nothing I can do to earn it, but I can receive His forgiveness by trusting in the name of Jesus and what He did for me at the cross.
When we experience His forgiveness, our burden of guilt is removed and we can truly appreciate and celebrate what Jesus has done for us.
Recognizing Jesus as our Savior from sin is a vital sign of a changed life in the Year of Transformation.
JOHN SHIRK – From First John 1:6 and 7.
“If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”
One of Steve Taylor’s classics is “Sin For A Season.” In that song, he exposed the faulty thinking of those who used God’s grace as a license for sin. One of the lines describes their motivation: “Gonna get the Lord to forgive a little sin. Get the slate cleaned so he can dirty it again. And no one else will ever know. But he reaps his harvest as his heart grows hard. No man’s gonna make a mockery of God.” These are the schemes of a deliberate sinner who abuses the grace of God.
God’s grace is amazing, but it is not a license for sin. Instead, it is a pardon for sin and an incentive for change. In Romans 6:1, Paul the Apostle asked, “Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?
God’s grace enables us to come out of darkness and into the light. As we follow Jesus with sincere devotion, we experience the freedom of forgiveness and the fulfillment of joyful Christian fellowship.
Walking in the light of God’s grace and truth is a vital sign of a changed life in the Year of Transformation.