After church on Sundays, our family relaxes and watches football on TV. This has been the tradition in our home since my husband and I got married 18 years ago, so I have learned a lot about football. One of the first things I learned so many years ago was the importance of getting a first down so the offensive team could continue to move the ball down the field. The ball is watched carefully by the referee to see if it made it past 10 yards for a first down, and when the team gets a first down they are able to start over again for their next first down. Sometimes the ball falls very close to the 10 yard mark; however, it falls short of making the mark. Close isn't good enough, the ball must go 10 yards or further. The Bible tells us the same with our relationship with God - the sin in our lives separates us from God and we can never be good enough. Please turn to Ephesians 2:1-3.
Verse one tells us that we were dead because of our "transgressions and sins." That had me curious because I had always looked at transgressions as the same as sins. When I looked up the word for trespass it is paraptōma which means to fall beside something or a lapse from truth. The word for sin is hamartia which means to miss the mark, to sin, to do something wrong, a violation of the divine law in thought or act, and an offence. Paraptōma almost seems like it isn't always an intentional choice, especially when I picture the idea of falling beside something. It is as if it shows the idea that we just can't seem to be good enough - we can get close, but there is always something that is going to be a deviation of God's truth and righteousness. Hamartia almost seems to be showing the line that is drawn about sin because it is based on God's law. I'm going to come back to this thought tomorrow; however, sin is defined by a disobedience to God's law.
Romans 6:23 tells us that the wages of sin is death and Ephesians 2:1 reminds us that when we were living in sin we were dead spiritually. The other thing I want to point out that it is clear in verse two that we were obeying the devil rather than God when we were living in sin. In John 8:34, Jesus tells us, "Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin." Romans 6:16 and 2 Peter 2:19 reminds us that we are slaves to sin when we sin. This is our lives without Christ. So we can sin and become a slave to a horrible master or we can try to hit the mark on our own strength and never quite become righteous enough. I cannot leave this thought with you that we are doomed to God's anger because there is a hope that is beyond all that. Romans 6:6 says, "We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin." When we believe in Christ and make Him the Lord of our life, our sins were crucified with Him and death has lost its grip on us. Praise God!
So my question to you today is this - who do you obey?