17 “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Cor. 4:17-18
ASK THE QUESTION, What is the essence of sin?
At the very heart of sin is self.
Sin is “me” versus “you” or “you” versus “me” or “we” versus “them,” and so forth.
David had sinned against Bathsheba, her husband, his family, and the nation, but above all others he had sinned against God.
But perhaps you are saying to yourself, “I was under the impression that unbelief was the essence of sin.”
What is unbelief but self versus God?
God speaks, and in unbelief you do not obey.
God ordains, and in unbelief you protest.
God loves, and in unbelief you insist that no one loves you.
Self is more important to the unbeliever than God.
The unbeliever would sooner trust himself than the God who created him.
All sin is against somebody.
Sins are often against more than one but never less than one.
Without any exception, all sin is against God, and in most instances of sin there is at least one person who is sinned against.
Perhaps you wish to dispute this point.
You acknowledge that there are sins which are obviously against others, like David’s sins of adultery and murder.
But you can think of sins which are purely private and personal, sins like secret thoughts of greed, lust, and hostility.
Maybe you argue, “No one is hurt by my private thoughts.
I admit that I have these secret thoughts and perhaps they are sinful, but thy don’t affect anyone else.
Nobody knows about them.”
But I ask, “Are you a wife and a mother?”
“Well, yes, I am both.”
“Don’t try to convince me that those secret sins are against nobody. They are against your husband and your children.”
You say, “No, no, no, they are not the type where I do something; it is just that I think things that are wrong.”
Oh yes, but in thinking things that are wrong, you rob yourself of being the person that God has called you to be, and therefore you rob your children of a godly mother and your husband of a godly wife.
So you have sinned against your husband and against your children even in your secret imagination.
Are you a husband, a father, a brother, a sister, a son, a daughter, an uncle, an aunt?
Whatever your relationship with others, it is damaged by your secret sins.
If you will get down on your knees before God and pray this through, you will see that it is nonsense to think of sin as purely personal. Guest Editorialist: Richard Owen Roberts, Repentance – The First Word of the Gospel, 128-129
“Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19).
“YOU AND I do not naturally submit to anyone or anything.
Insist that I be your slave, and you have a civil-rights case on your hands!
American history illustrates what happens when one human enslaves another.
We resist submission to another person with every fiber of our cholesterol-free lifestyles.
In a culture where the individual has reached godlike status, submitting to anyone or anything outside ourselves is beyond reason.
Self-interest soars high above service in our hierarchy of interests.
These attitudes are part of our cultural thinking.
They are also the very feelings that prevent us from knowing the freedom that comes from giving ourselves to Christ.
Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Mat. 16:24).
Denying–not embracing–self is the first step to becoming a servant leader.
If you desire to lead as Jesus led, you must desire first to follow Jesus; this is how leadership training among God’s people begins.” C. Gene Wilkes, Jesus on Leadership, “How Do We Lead by Serving?”, 23
THINK CAREFULLY ABOUT the following question please:
Is there ever a time—in all of the Bible—when God restricted salvation—to just ONE location?
Let’s explore this together with an open mind and open Bible (cf. Acts 17:11).
Please read the following texts and then answer the questions listed below.
READ Genesis chapters 6-7:
JESUS’ ENTIRE MISSION was about service to his Father in heaven, service to his mission, service to his followers, and, ultimately, service to those he came to save. (C. Gene Wilkes, Jesus on Leadership, 110).
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).