Monday, July 7, 2014

Three Strikes You're Out

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And [Jesus] said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” - Matthew 22:36-40 ESV

Jesus said these are the top 2 commandments, and every other commandment hangs on these two biggies. That means that if you commit murder, you've already broken the first two commandments: you aren't loving God (you're destroying His creation) and obviously you're not loving that person that you just killed. Or consider slander and gossiping: you aren't loving God (by spreading lies which offends His truth, or you're dishonoring His people and giving Him a bad name if you're a Christian) and you aren't loving people (how does that girl feel when you're spreading this junk about her?)

So any sin is then automatically a triple sin. You've broken the original commandment (do not lust, do not covet, do not use obscene talk) but you've also in that very sin broken the first and second greatest commandments to love God and love others. That's three strikes. You're out. It's much worse than you think.  

This devastates us. We are much bigger sinners than we ever had feared! How do we respond to this? It feels like such a weight of condemnation. It convinces us that we could never work our way out of this by paying God back. It's like every sin comes with 3x the condemnation. When understood the right way, this news doesn't ultimately devastate us, but rather it forces us to become desperate and search for a salvation outside of us. That's when the gospel becomes even bigger!

So what do we do when we see our guilt three times bigger than before? Run to Jesus. Trust in Him three times bigger than before! See, Jesus takes our punishment for ALL THREE sins. He is the one that gets the strikes on HIS body, so that we can go free. And he was righteous for all of the commands: He loved God. He loved others. And He beat whatever sin you're wrestling with.

So rejoice, Christian! Yes, you are a much bigger sinner than you ever thought, and the wrath of God is more dangerous and more greatly deserved than you had feared. But that just highlights the EPIC SALVATION that Jesus accomplished. He didn't just pay for a little measly white-collar sin. He paid for the rampant breaking of the top 2 biggest commandments that you're guilty of again and again and again. His rescue is so much richer. Praise Him and thank Him today with gratitude and awe!

"Oh praise the One who paid my debt!"
The Relentless Fight