Wednesday, 28 December 2011
Note: This post deals specifically with the issue of sin and the consequence of sinning. This isn't to disregard the grace and mercy given to us by Christ. We must first understand why Christ had to die. Why sin is such a serious issue. That's what I attempt to address here.
So Moses returned from the mountain and called together the elders of the people and told them everything the LORD had commanded him.
And all the people responded together, “We will do everything the LORD has commanded.” So Moses brought the people’s answer back to the LORD.
Then the LORD said to Moses, “I will come to you in a thick cloud, Moses, so the people themselves can hear me when I speak with you. Then they will always trust you.”
Moses told the LORD what the people had said. Then the LORD told Moses, “Go down and prepare the people for my arrival. Consecrate them today and tomorrow, and have them wash their clothing. Be sure they are ready on the third day, for on that day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai as all the people watch. Mark off a boundary all around the mountain. Warn the people, ‘Be careful! Do not go up on the mountain or even touch its boundaries. Anyone who touches the mountain will certainly be put to death.
No hand may touch the person or animal that crosses the boundary; instead, stone them or shoot them with arrows. They must be put to death.’ However, when the ram’s horn sounds a long blast, then the people may go up on the mountain.”
Exodus 19:7-13, NLT
God set up a boundary line of which the people could not cross. Should there be any violation of that boundary, death was the consequence.
Throughout human history, we have sought to relegate consequences to various laws when broken. A person who steals may have to pay the cost of the item plus interest. Someone who murders will lose their life or serve the remainder of the life in prison. A drunk driver can no longer drive legally. And so on. Each law has its correlating consequence, or punishment, if broken.
The severity of the crime also plays a factor. Was the theft a large or small amount? Was the murder premeditated or due to invoked rage? Is it the driver's first offense or third?
This is an appropriate form of legal justice, and Biblical. However, we tend to stretch this far - too far - into our spiritual justification. "God, I did sin, but I was mostly good. I should be allowed into Heaven."
"Mostly good". Not at all a logical argument.
See, in this passage, God makes two things clear: 1. Do not cross the boundary to any extent. 2. Crossing the line is deserving of the punishment of death.
And just to make certain His command is not open for exceptions, God expounds on His decree: (A) Don't touch a person who has crossed the boundary. (B) Don't touch an animal who has crossed the boundary. (C) If you have not heard the horn blast, don't cross the boundary.
God spells it out! And the punishment is clear and the same: death!
No one could say, "I reached my hand across, but I was mostly before the foot of the mountain." Nor, "My goat went across - I only went to get it." There was no trying to diminish the penalty for crossing the line, as if a slap on the rear or a serious scolding would suffice.
There was no accounting for why or how badly the line was crossed. Sin was committed. When God expressed the law, the point to observe was that the law was to be obeyed. God was not interested in our trying to maintain a reasonable excuse for why the boundary was crossed, nor analyzing the severity by which the law was broken.
In human relationships and daily affairs, offenses carry varying degrees of consequences. But only one thing matters when we sin against God: we sinned. And that results in one ultimate consequence: death.
Do you think that, when it comes to sin, the judgment is the same regardless of the sin? Or is there less punishment for small sins than for big sins, similar to the structure of our own legal system?