But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood,
a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show
forth the praises of him who hath called you out of
darkness into his marvellous light. (1 Peter 2:9)
We know that God is pure and holy, and that He tells us, "Be ye holy, for I am holy". Why then, when we know that holiness is His plan for us, do we fall so short?
What is it that keeps us from being the holy people God has called us to be?
The simple, one word answer is: SIN. Nobody wants to hear about sin anymore. Yet sin is what keeps us from pursuing holiness. Sin is what separates us from God.
The Hebrew word most commonly translated as "sin" is chata, which means "to miss the mark".
Jesus set the standard for us, the mark we should be striving for.
Far too often, however, we measure our own sin by a far lower mark than the mark God sets for us. We tend to measure ourselves against other people, instead of Jesus.
Other people who are sinful creatures just like we are.
We miss the high expectation God desires for us
when we commit any act that is contrary to His will. Sin is a prideful, selfish act of disobedience against a loving Father who created us in His very image.
Why do we desire sin more than holiness? Do we somehow feel like sin offers us more that God? Don't we know that truly, God's way is always what is best for us, and
that sin only leads to misery for us - and for those around us? Our sin affects more than just ourselves: it affects our loved ones and others who are watching us.
Sin is like a pebble dropped in a pond: the ripples go on and on and on, and spread out to the farthest edges of the pond.
There is never a point at which sin stops, and says "Okay, this is far enough, I won't go any farther." It just continues to spread and multiply.
The thing about sin is this: it's a liar. First, it disappoints us.
It promises so much, but it does not (and cannot) deliver. Then,
it deceives us. It tricks our minds into thinking it's okay, it's not so bad, it doesn't really matter,
and we can handle it. Then it begins to dominate us. We find ourselves coming back to it time after time, wanting more and more,
until we are totally enslaved by it. Finally, it destroys us. James put it so well when he said:
Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil,
neither does God tempt any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust,
and enticed. Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished,
brings forth death.
Yes sin promises a lot, but it deceives, disappoints, and eventually destroys. It leaves us with a load of guilt, shame, and regret - things God never wanted for His children to bear.
The good news is, God provided a way for us to overcome sin. Jesus made a way for us to overcome sin and bore the consequences of our sin so that we don't have to!
In Him we have forgiveness of our sin, and freedom from our guilt and shame. Not freedom to sin again, but freedom to become holy, as God created us to be!