Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I yam what I yam

Ginx asked me to do a post on Christians who sin. He did so because some Christians wear expensive suits and this really irritates him. Because we Christians sin so persistently, one post just won’t do.
The first post in this series was: “My Favourite Commandment”
http://makarios-makarios.blogspot.com/2010/01/my-favourite-commandment.html
The second post: “My Favourite Sin”
http://makarios-makarios.blogspot.com/2010/01/my-favourite-sin.html

One of the things about becoming a Christian is that it is God who draws us to Jesus Jn.6:44. Atheists would like to use this as “See! I told you there wasn’t freewill.” Wrong, wrong, wrong yet again.

God draws to Jesus those He ALREADY knows will accept His offer of salvation.
God draws to Jesus those He ALREADY knows will exercise their freewill to stop rejecting their Creator and instead they will CHOOSE to accept the forgiveness being offered.

God does this drawing in by means of two primary methods.
.One, is through an awareness of God’s love and patience and mercy and grace.
.The other method of drawing in is through opening our eyes to our desperate need for forgiveness, i.e., opening our eyes to our sinful and corrupt nature.
Often these two methods of contact are used in combination.

I’m a really good example of Christians who sin. I don’t own any expensive suits, Ginx, but . . .

Anyhow, there’s another guy who is very similar to me. The apostle Paul described himself as the “worst of sinners.” That’s really something for a Pharisee to say. You have to understand that Pharisees believe that they can be “good” people, just based on their behaviours. Now, this guy Paul? The guy killed and tortured people so, you know, he was pretty bad. On the other hand, Paul justified his killing because he was doing it for a good reason - to get rid of Christians.

The thing is, I’m just as bad. If motives and thoughts count, Paul’s got nothin on me.

Some people might say,

“That’s stupid. If we go by what we think, then all of us would fail.”

Now you’re getting it. :-)

Our thoughts determine what we do.
Pure thoughts > pure actions.
Evil thoughts > evil actions.

“For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man unclean." Mark 7:21-23

This was written, I might add, several thousand years before psychologists “discovered” the same.

Without God’s standard, without the objective morals, values and obligations that exist BECAUSE God exists, we all invent a moral code that ensures that we pass. Without God’s objective standard of right and wrong we judge others by their behaviours while judging ourselves by our intentions. Like the Pharisees of Jesus time, many today judge one’s righteousness by outward appearance. For many, our goodness is dependent on what we can get away with. Not so in God’s world. God judges by who we really are and we really are desperately wicked.

The process that takes us from thinking that we’re good people, to accepting reality is shown in Acts 9:18. Prior to meeting Jesus, Paul thought that he was a good person. He thought in fact that by killing Christians, he was doing God a favour. After his encounter with the risen Jesus, Paul’s physical and spiritual transformation from blindness to sight was described as “Something like scales falling from his eyes.”

When God reveals our sinfulness to us, we go from self-righteousness (thinking that we are good in and of ourselves) to realising we have no righteousness apart from that given to us by Jesus. When God reveals our sinfulness to us, we go from finding fault with others (Paul persecuting Christians) to realising that those who we’re condemning are loved by God. God loves atheists and when I condemn atheists as opposed to atheISM, I am fighting against God Himself. When I condemn atheists as opposed to atheISM, I am working against what God is doing in their lives. Not a good situation.

I am what I am and what I am is a sinner in desperate need of forgiveness.

So, if I’m “saved” aren’t I supposed to be a good person? Now that I’m a Christian, aren’t I supposed to be perfect? That’s what many people seem to think. That’s the standard to which they hold us. Actually, that’s just a smokescreen. For example:

1. People demand that Christianity make Christians perfect

2. People see that Christians aren’t perfect

3. People use that as an excuse for not becoming a Christian

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not blaming atheists or anyone else for thinking that Christians are supposed to be these really good people.

That’s a lie that we ourselves project and in some cases, we even believe it ourselves. More on that in the next post.

6 comments:

Ginx said...

I love how the posts open with a chorus line, like a classical Greek play, and I'm even more honored that my dislike of suits is being immortalized in the process!

Also, I write about problems I have with atheists from time to time on my site... though like you, I tend to mix it in with some criticism of the usual suspects. What I mean to say is... atheists aren't perfect, nor can atheism fix you. In this respect, atheism has a lot in common with Christianity.

Which leads me to my point... if Christianity isn't the determining factor in whether a person is good or not, why do you so often exclusively criticize non-belief? There are a host of other sins to contemplate, and all but non-belief are practiced by the faithful. Then again, even the devout have doubts from time to time... though who can blame them?

SE said...

I HATE people that wear suits! Capitalist pigs! Down with exploitation! Up with anarchy!

Ginx said...

Oh I could go on and on about suits for days. They're largely military influenced fashion, from the coat cut to the tie (originally Croatian soldiers wore scarves, and French soldiers came into contact with them... so anything the French do with clothing, everyone does).

I will never trust a man in a suit. A bum in torn jeans and a hoodie might rob me of my wallet, but a guy in a suit can take my savings, my house, my retirement fund... Guys in suits look ready to exploit, and they know the world is their oyster because people are dazzled by appearances.

Makarios said...

a guy in a suit can take my savings, my house, my retirement fund"

James, Jesus' brother held similar sentiments. See chapter 2 esp. vs. 6

As to your question about being good and why I so often exclusively criticize non-belief, well, that's what I'm trying to explain in these posts. The whole point is not a goodness that none of us can attain. The point is a forgiveness that all of us need. To reject this forgiveness carries with it consequences of eternal proportions.

Have you heard anything from Gorth? Do know in what part Haiti he lived?

Anonymous said...

Do know in what part Haiti he lived?
PĂ©tionville near Port-au-Prince.

Makarios said...

Thanks.

It felt so surreal last night. I'm sitting at a hockey rink watching my kids practise, knowing that not that far away people lay dying, while others had no safe place to sleep and on and on. It's just mind numbing the suffering that takes place.