Sin, Suffering, Sacrifice and Judgement
Sin and suffering
Sin, suffering, sacrifice and judgement are inter-related. Our sin will cause us to suffer. In life we face many troubles, some minor and some insurmountable. Many a times we don’t do anything as we are paralysed into inaction. We then let these problems fester until the mole hill becomes a mountain. After that we panic and run around like crazy, defensively reacting to something that could have been and should have been attended to very much earlier. I have been there many times so I understand the situation very well.
Life is full of problems. Haven’t you heard that “Happiness is the period between two sorrows”. Get ready to read on…. Accept the finality of it. We will always have problems. It comes with the territory. There is no way of escaping problems. Actually, sorrows are a good thing in that we learn to differentiate the good from the bad, not that a bad thing is good thing but a bad thing is bad thing therefore it is a good thing. That was weird logic wasn’t that?
Sin and mistakes
There are many reasons as to why we do make mistakes in our lives but for the moment, let us not mix up sin and mistakes as they are similar but different. The several reasons are as follows:-
1. We do not have enough understanding, knowledge or experience.
When we lack understanding or knowledge or expertise in a certain topic we can make erroneous decisions which we can pay for dearly. Let me explain this by way of a real life example. When I was working as a real estate agent, one of my Muslim friends asked me to find him a property in a certain part of Klang Valley. The area is considered an up market area with cooling breezes and on a hill slope with a grand view. This area was not my territory so I did not know much about the place and I asked my boss to give me some listings so that I could show the properties to my friend. We went to see a few terrace houses and the initial impression was that the area was a beautiful place. But as we went through the properties I began to have my doubts and I noticed little signs and warnings. In one house we went in, I noticed that the porch tiles were cracked. In another, the tiles in the centre of the living room had got loose and some were cracked. There was a house with the extended kitchen slightly cracked and looked like as if the extended kitchen would fall off one day. I told my friend that my gut feeling was that there was something wrong with the area and I didn’t want to sell him any of the properties in the area.
I do not know whether my friend realized it at the time but I noticed that something was out of place there. Why did I notice? I would think that as I had seen many properties I had accumulated some intuitive knowledge as to what to expect. I had certain standard of expectations of what is acceptable and what is not. All the alarms bells were going off in my head. Till this day, I have never recommended anyone to buy property in that area.
Many years later a large part of the hill collapsed! Just imagine that if my friend had bought a property in the area not only would he have lost a house and a home but his family too. Jesus says in John 8:32 “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” My friend was set free from a disastrous life changing mistake because we noticed the warning signs, we searched for the truth and we escaped the possible consequences.
Just imagine that if I didn’t care for my friend and if I was greedy for sales commission, knowing that there was something wrong with the area, sold him a house in that area. It would have become blood money when the house collapsed. I would have committed a major sin for a few dollars. The sin would be on my head. Worst still every day my friend would curse me as long as he lived and because of his suffering, his prayers would have been heard in high heaven and a curse of the Lord God Almighty would have been upon my head. I escaped all the consequences of sin because I told the truth. I didn’t let greed override my sense of duty and honesty.
I tell people “Seek the Truth and the Truth will set you free. Tell the Truth and the Truth will set others free.” We cannot set ourselves free but the Truth can. I tell you a secret; Nature and the Lord God are not cruel or wicked. In fact the Lord God is a just and merciful God. Before any impending disasters, in nature or in your life, there will be many early warning signs. It’s just that we don’t listen or pay attention to them.
I see many similar situations in other industries such as stock markets, sales, home renovations, shops, factories, farms, car repairers, insurance, investment schemes, get rich quick scams, ….
2. The invisible influences
There are invisible forces at work around us. The sooner you accept this fact, the sooner you will be able to get out of your rut. The Lord God has many times sent his angels to help and guide us and likewise there are many other things out there that want to see you suffer. They want to torment you until you will turn your back on the God and even think he does not exist. Why do they do this? They do this as there is a Spiritual War going on in Spiritual Space and we, humankind, are caught in this war. That means no man, woman or child would be spared. You have to align yourself either on the side of The Lord God or on the other side. Choose now and choose wisely as the decision you make can last an eternity.
I will give you a simple example of how you can make mistakes when you are blocked by these invisible forces. My notebook computer kept crashing recently so I took it back to the shop where I had bought the notebook. When the technician switched on the computer and ran it for a while he could not find anything wrong. It was operating without any problems. I couldn’t get it to crash either. I looked a little bit foolish until the technician suggested that I should get a cooling fan for my computer as the shop was air conditioned but my house was not.
The cable from the cooling fan was a little too short and I had other gadgets fixed into the USB ports of my computer. Then the technician suggested that I purchase a multi-way extension USB cable so that I could use all the gadgets and the cooling fan together. One socket of the multi-way extension worked and another didn’t work. … here is the first warning sign … the extension was not completely functional …. And he sold me the cooling fan for RM35/- (US$11.70) and RM15 (US$5) for the extension. At that moment something stopped me from not doing the deal. It was trying to hide the truth and make me buy those items. I couldn’t see the consequences. It was like my vision was temporarily narrowed and a veil was blocking my thinking. I was aware that there was a covering to block me. I bought both pieces of junk and thought nothing of it until three weeks later. The cooling fan was made of plastic and the plastic cracked and the fan stopped rotating. I glued back the broken plastic and the fan lasted another week upon which it completely seized. I had to throw it away.
I went to another shop and purchased a RM70/- (US$23) aluminium based cooling fan. Therefore I had spent a RM120/-(US$40) in total instead of RM70/-(US$23) to prevent my computer from crashing!
There are invisible forces out there and just like I mentioned you can prevent them from influencing you if you know what to look for. Every time you are with strangers or in a very tempting situation take a step back and examine the signs or just walk away to cool down before reconsidering the situation. You could go with someone else, who can give you a second opinion or stop you from making a mistake. The moment I see my thinking being influenced or my vision being closed in, I walkout. This has happened many times and many times I have escaped but I didn’t expect it to happen in a shop. Now everywhere I go, I ask the Lord God or the Lord Jesus to come with me and protect me. They have taken me away from many such situations. Remember Jesus changes your future so that you are not subject to sin and judgement. (see sinners prayer the lamb of god and the kingdom of heave$n ) By taking you away from such situations they are changing your future.
3. Loss of self-control can cause you to sin
Yes that is right, the loss of self-control. This is your own fault and you have no one to blame except yourself. Out of your greed or your anger or your hatred or some other emotion you did something wrong, you sinned, it’s your sin. You went over the edge and made that mistake. A mistake that would cost you dearly. It would cost you your freedom, your safety, your sanity, your health or your wealth. Consequently, you are caught in a very difficult situation. It may be that the stock market crashed and you lost all your new found wealth. It may be that in your anger or hatred you struck someone and you are now sitting quietly in jail to repent at his majesty’s leisure.
You entered a situation where emotions run high or run deep. They struck a raw nerve in someone or you were just fooling yourself. Get out! Do not be tempted to sin. Get out when you find yourself in such situations because you are overtaken by emotions and you will only be reacting. The ‘flight or fight’ system takes over as the adrenaline kicks in. You will not be thinking, you will only be reacting which means you have lost control of yourself and the situation. In either case you lose.
When you find yourself in such situations take a hike and get out of the situation as fast as possible. Take a walk. Walking either in a shopping complex or in a park can settle your emotions. Walking can release a lot of the pent up stresses. Alternatively, go home and listen to some slow oldies or some classics. Music brings about a healing calm and soothes the soul.
What is sin?
It is interesting, you know, this thing called Sin. If we look back at Genesis 4:1-7,
Adam made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, “With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man.” Later she gave birth to his brother Abel.
Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favour on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favour. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
Did you notice that the Lord God does not look with favour at half-hearted offerings? Cain brought ‘some of the fruits of the soil’ where as Abel brought ‘fat portions from some of his firstborn flock’. The Lord God always wanted us to give him the best of our produce, of our work. When we do so he blesses us abundantly. Notice that this is in the very beginning of mankind, at the very beginning of the Old Testament.
If you do read the very last chapter of the Old Testament you will find this requirement there too. In Malachi 3:6-18,
“I the LORD do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD Almighty.
“But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’
“Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me.
“But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’
“In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the LORD Almighty. “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the LORD Almighty.
The Lord God wants us to tithe. If we do not tithe then we will be under a curse because of our sin. Sin is disobedience to Lord God words. There are several reasons for tithing; firstly, there will be food in His house. You may ask, “Food for whom?” as what can we give to the Lord God that the Lord God needs – nothing. The tithe is to feed and help those who serve the Lord God and for the poor and the needy. The second reason is given in Malachi 1:6,
“A son honours his father and a servant his master. If I am a father, where is the honour due to me? If I am a master, where is the respect due to me? Says the Lord Almighty.
When we bring Him our tithes we are paying a tribute to Him, we are acknowledge him as our father, our king, our Lord and Master. And for this he blesses us abundantly, beyond measure and protects us and looks after us. Can you see that when we tithe we are in the Kingdom of Heaven and the Lord God is our Father, our King, our Lord and Master.
It is very interesting that the Lord God hints to us that we can rule over sin. For he says to Cain “But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” How do we rule over sin? Do we rule over our desire to be disobedient? Do we proclaim a word over our sin? Is sin addictive? Does it take control of us so that we keep sinning some more? Is sin like a drug addiction that we keep taking to give us a high? Does that mean once we are in sin it is very difficult to escape the addiction to sin, the pull of sin?
This is the only place in the Bible where I found a reference to the fact that it may be possible to overcome or control sin. The rest of the Bible gives up on us trying to redeem ourselves from the sins we have committed and focus on prevention of further sin. In the Old Testament we are allowed to make a sacrifice to pay for our sins but that is for lesser sins. The severe sins are punished by death. When you are dead how can you make more sacrifices to pay for the other sins you have committed?
In the New Testament , Jesus says in 8:31-32,
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Sin and suffering begins with disobedience to and dishonouring of the Lord God.
The Lord God gave us the Ten Commandments (see the ten commandments ) so that we will not do what is wrong in his eyes, we will do what is just, do what is righteous, do what is merciful in his eyes. When we disobey him or dishonour him, we sin. When we sin we are not covered by his blessings and other force come in and influence us and take us astray. Then we sin some more until we cannot do enough sacrifices in one lifetime to redeem ourselves from all our sin. It appears to be and never ending impossible situation.
That is why Jesus says we cannot save ourselves, not by our works or our deeds. He says “Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free”. We cannot set ourselves free from sin, only the truth can set us free. It is the truth that sets us free and not, we by ourselves, by our works or by our deeds set ourselves free.
This is the reason the Lord God made our Lord Jesus the blood sacrifice, our blood sacrifice, to take away our sins, to wipe us free of sin. Then we will not suffer the consequences of sin. We are given a new life, a different path into the future, a different future. Not on the old path where we face a future of judgement and of the law and of punishment. Our Lord Jesus changes our future just by accepting him as our saviour, just by saying “Jesus, I accept you and believe you.” Jesus will do the rest. It is truly that simple and easy to handle sin, suffering, sacrifice and judgement.
This article “Sin Suffering Sacrifice and Judgement” was researched and written by Peter Achutha