Our Greatest Offense

 

 

Our Greatest Offense


What is our greatest, most tragic sin?

How do we offend God by this sin?

Preface

When you think about sin, what comes to your mind? What do you think of sin and how is it expressed? What sins do you struggle with yourself?

Do you generally think of thought sins that come from the mind, such as greed, lust, envy, hatred, or deceit? Or perhaps you think of sins of speech, such as slander, gossip, lying, and profanity. On the other hand, maybe you think of outward sins of behavior, such as adultery, fornication, homosexuality, laziness, waste, or theft.

All of these may be correct, but isn’t there a more fundamental sin that outweighs them all? Recently, we wrote a book entitled, What is the Greatest Sin? We need to follow this with a further study that deals with one of the basic sins that everyone has had to deal with. It relates directly to our view of God and how we relate to Him.

We hope that you read the following pages with the desire to give God the honor, love, worship, fear, and love that He rightfully deserves!

What is our greatest, most tragic sin?

In the middle of the night I was pondering. I had recently written an article in which I discussed the calamity of sin and our need to come to Christ Jesus for His free gift of salvation. But, as I contemplated this, I became increasingly aware that we need to think through the fundamental sin against God. After all, if dying in sin is the calamity of calamities (John 8:24), we need to know what sin really is.  What is it?

We know that some sins are in the thought life—hatred, envy, jealousy, greed, and lust. Others are sins of speech—gossip, slander, profanity, lying and blasphemy. Still other sins pertain to our behavior or actions—stealing, murder, violence, adultery, fornication, and homosexuality. But these are all individual sins. Is there nothing beyond this—a basic attitude that is sinful?

There is such a fundamental sin and it pertains to how we view God Himself and how we relate to Him. We all know that He is the chief consideration of life, the very ground of existence and the reason for living.  He created us and sustains us. His perfect attributes testify to His magnificence!  We are to proclaim the “excellencies” of God who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). When we fail to acknowledge God’s excellencies, greatness and goodness, we fail to give Him the due that our Creator rightly deserves!

This is where most people go wrong. Isn’t it true that most people you know just take God for granted? They just assume that God owes them life and daily blessings. They have come to receive all of God’s blessings without even thinking of the One who supplied them.  They don’t really have God in their mind or heart from day to day. Instead, they continue through life oblivious that every second they are living only by God’s grace and mercy. Any moment, God could crush them because of His justice, but in mercy He allows them to continue on and on as they ignore Him or even defy Him! God in patience waits for people who neglect Him to repent (2 Peter 3:9).

We know that in Scripture there are various motivations why we would want God to save us.  Only through being forgiven of our sins by our gracious God can we enter His wondrous eternal Kingdom forever (Galatians 5:19-21; 2 Peter 1:11).  It is only by coming to God through Christ that we can have eternal life (Romans 6:23) and escape death now and eternal death in the end (John 5:24; Revelation 21:8). And it is only through Christ that we can escape God’s wrath (Romans 5:9) and eternal hell (Matthew 25:46). We can only have a place in the heavenly home through Jesus (John 14:1-3). All of these and many other reasons should make us want to turn away from sin and escape sin’s grasp.

But there is more to it than this.  All of this pertains to what we can “get” from God when we escape the consequences of sin. Aren’t we even more so responsible to God Himself?  Don’t we owe Him something?  Since we don’t respond as we should, isn’t this an even more basic consideration? Yes, it is.  We are guilty before God and deserve God’s eternal wrath in hell because we haven’t related to God as we should.

In our self-centered focus, we somehow have omitted the rightful place of God in our life.  This makes us especially guilty. We may have tried to turn from lust, envy, slander, profanity, greed, hatred, and violence, and this is good and required. But what about God Himself? Have we failed to respond to God as He requires and as we know we should? No one has done this perfectly, and most have utterly failed to give God the glory that He deserves!

Let’s consider this more carefully. Remember, we need to apply this to ourselves! Otherwise, we won’t really receive the impact that these truths should make. So I urge you to apply these points to yourself. In your heart of heart, ask God if you have failed in some way to respond to Him as He requires. Only in this way can we relate to God as He desires and deserves!

 

   1. We have denied God’s existence.

I know that this doesn’t apply to most of the readers, but vast numbers of people do deny God’s very existence.  This is true in America and especially in certain other parts of the world.  Recently a friend who had believed in God and the Scriptures all of her life suffered a personal tragedy. In reaction, this young woman has become an informed, committed, satisfied, and closed unbeliever—a self-avowed atheist.  (“Atheist” is from a, meaning “not,” and theist, meaning God; hence one who doesn’t believe in God.)  How tragic—and her story is not an isolated one.

Even though Paul seems to say that people instinctively know that there is a God, especially through His creative work, they sometimes openly reject Him (Romans 1:21). When they do this, God says that “they became fools” (v. 22). Only a fool would deny God’s reality. Atheism is utter foolishness since the evidence for God’s existence is overwhelming! “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1).

Someone remarked that he doesn’t have enough faith to be an atheist!  It takes great faith (or incredulity) to believe that all things—visible and invisible—simply appeared out of nothing. However, in fact, this is what some unbelieving scientists believe, along with the young woman I mentioned above. This is not just highly unlikely; it is impossible.

This sin is utterly serioius. Those who “do not know God” will receive God’s retribution and “pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). To deny God’s existence is a horrendous sin that deserves His eternal wrath!

The only way to be eternally saved is to accept the fact that God exists and lives. As the Hebrew writer puts it, “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that he is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (11:6).  It does take more than acknowledging that God exists, but this is the foundation of all blessing!

 

2.   We have denied God’s creative work.

Related directly to the previous expression of rebellion against God is that some people have rejected His creation of heaven and earth. Sadly, there are tens of millions of people who deny that God has created the world and the entire universe, as described in the Bible. Scripture says, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). God Himself said, “In six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them” (Exodus 20:11). Throughout Scripture, we read again and again of God’s creation of the earth and everything in it as well as the heavens and everything in them (Psalm 102:25; Isaiah 40:21; 44:24; 45:18; Hebrews 11:3). This He did through the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:1-3, 10; Colossians 1:16-17; Hebrews 1:2).

Vast numbers of people in the United States now have accepted the God-denying theory of evolution. Sadly, it is the only teaching of origins acceptable in the worldly public schools. This belief teaches that all things came into existence through a so-called “Big Bang” and from that original explosion, the entire universe with its one hundred billion galaxies contained about one hundred billion stars each came into existence! Further, evolutionists go on to say that life on earth arose spontaneously from slime in the sea and from this single original cell all life forms—animal, birds, fish—evolved. In this way, evolutionists dishonor the God of creation who made all things in six days only thousands of years ago.

In Athens, the learning center of the ancient world, Paul confronted the philosophers at the Areopagus (Acts 17:22-31). The apostle began to speak to them of the “Unknown God” and declared, “The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things. . . .” (vv. 24-25). Paul knew that they were not prepared to learn of Christ Jesus and His saving love on the cross until they could accept the truth of God’s creation (cf. vv. 30-31). The same is true today. Unless one is willing to acknowledge that God is creator and that evolution is a lie, he is not prepared to be saved from His sins through Jesus.

The classic passage on this is Romans 1:16-32.  Here Paul speaks of the pagan world’s rejection of God. This would describe many people in the United States today—and even more in more other countries of the world.  In this very explicit passage, Paul writes: “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrigheousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them, for God made it evident to them” (vv. 18-19). God’s anger is aroused with those in sin, and in this context Paul is referring at first to sin of rejecting His person and creative work, then going after false gods or idols.

The apostle continues: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20). Those who can see God’s creation can know that there must be a Creator! If one fails to acknowledge this, he or she is without excuse before God now—and in the great day of Judgment. Paul then says, “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools” (vv. 21-22).

We see that people instinctively know that there is a God but they force themselves to deny Him. They devise futile speculations “to account for creation without a Creator”—but God says that they are fools, without excuse.  All of this is a chief sin against God by many in contemporary America and in other countries!

3.   We have denied God’s Nature

 

Not only have some people rejected God’s existence and also His creative work, some also have denied or perverted the nature of God. We may think that as long as someone affirms that he believes in God, this is sufficient. But who or what is God?  Paul said that “there is no God but one” (1 Corinthians 8:4). He goes on to say that this one God must be distinguished from false gods: “Even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords” (v. 5). So in the first century, there were a large number of gods who had no existence at all. This is true today as well. The apostle then says, “. . . yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him” (v. 6).

If we were discussing the Lord Jesus Christ, the second part of the last quoted verse would be vital, but right now we are focusing on God the Father.  In reality, there is only one God and He is the Father. All others are false. All others don’t even exist!  Paul wrote to new believers, “. . . you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God” (1 Thessalonians 1:9). In America, we need to turn to the true and living God away from all of the “idols” that human ingenuity has formulated.

When someone denies the very nature of the “true and living God,” he has violated the most basic of all truths in Scripture. This offends God greatly!  Yet this is what most of the world’s population have done. Think about it. Buddhism, with its 376 million adherents, denies the existence of a personal God!  Hinduism, with its 900 million adherents, says that there are three chief gods and over 300 million lesser gods! Islam, with 1.5 billion adherents, repudiates the idea that God has a Son, the Lord Jesus Christ! Judaism, with 14 million adherents, also rejects Jesus as God’s only Son! Baha’i, with 7 million devotees, says that Jesus is only one of many great teachers. (adherents.com/Religions_By _Adherents.html). Catholicism has nearly 1.2 billion members, and this religious system compromises the nature of God by elevating Mary to a position of “Queen of Heaven” and they suppose that they can pray to and adore her along with God.  Orthodoxy, with 270 million members, is a system that does the same in compromising God. (britannica.com /EBchecked/topic/1731588/Religion-Year-In-Review- 2010/298437/ Worldwide-Adherents-of-All-Religions).

Think of other groups loosely categorized under Christendom. The Mormons claim that there are three “gods” and each faithful Mormon expects to become a god himself! The Watchtower Witnesses reject the truth that God has a divine Son, Jesus Christ. The Oneness Pentecostals (sometimes called “Jesus Only”) claim that Jesus is God the Father instead of the Son of God the Father. 

We can’t expand our discussion here, but the point is that vast numbers of people worldwide do reject the nature and character of the one true and living God. They deny God’s true identity as revealed in Scripture.  In His prayer to God the Father, Jesus said, “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3). Eternal life depends on our knowledge of both God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son (who Himself is also deity). While this is speaking of a personal and intimate knowledge, surely the basis of this would be knowledge of who God is.

4.   We have denied God’s way of Worship.

 

God doesn’t just allow people to devise their own form of worship. He has clearly revealed what He wants and what is acceptable.  Since God is creator, sustainer, and redeemer, we must worship God alone—apart from any false gods.  This would include the false “gods” of America—sports, education, entertainment, sex, and materialism. The Lord Jesus said, “The true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:23-24). We must come to God with the right frame of mind and spirit as well as according to His truth. No other worship is acceptable.

Worship in heaven is directed to God the Father with these words: “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things and because of Your will they existed and were created” (Revelation 4:11). Both God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son are worshiped in heaven. We read: “Every created thins which is in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, ‘To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever’” (5:13-14). Do we worship like this?  Do we honor and thank God with the kind of worship that He deserves and expects? If we don’t, we neglect a fundamental aspect of our relationship to God Almighty! When we fail to “honor Him as God or give thanks” (Romans 1:21), we commit a monumental sin!

5.   We have denied God’s inexpressible loveliness.

 

Do we ever really ponder how lovely and desirable our God is? Do we live day to day without as much as thinking of this altogether desirable One? When we neglect God in this way, we do inexcusable dishonor to the greatest Being in the entire universe! In fact, He is beyond the universe!  He is incomparable. He is unimaginable in moral and spiritual attractiveness.  He is One we should think about, filled with wonder and awe and worship.  His loveliness comes especially through His love! And His love draws forth our own love. “We love, because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

The Lord Jesus said that the “foremost” command is to love God: “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mark 12:20-30; cf. Deuteronomy 6:5; Matthew 22:37-38; Luke 10:25-28). Do we love like this? Do we even aspire to have such an all-consuming and dominating love? If God loved us so much that He gave His only Son (John 3:16; Romans 5:8), and loves us so much that He calls us His children (1 John 3:1-2), our hearts should reach out with a deep, grateful, and overwhelming love for this God of love!

Sadly, most people fail to love God like this. Many are not interested in God at all. Others go through certain religious duties sometimes and occasionally pray, especially if they come to an insurmountable need in life. But few—very few—have the overwhelming love that dominates and controls their life and transforms their affections and thought life. How can we fail to have such a love for the God of love! In failing to love this altogether Lovely One, we commit an inexcusable sin!

6.   We have denied God’s revelation.

 

God has revealed Himself in a general way through creation and this we call “general revelation” (cf. Psalm 19:1-2; Romans 1:20; Acts 14:15-17). He has also revealed Himself in a special way through the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:18). But in this point we particularly refer to God’s revelation in Scripture, the Bible. This is how we know most of what we know about God and it is very precise and full, compared to God’s revelation in nature.

God has given us His written revelation out of His great love and concern for our needs to know Jesus and His salvation. Paul said that Timothy had “known the sacred writings [the Scriptures] which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). But does the Bible actually come from God? Is there something beyond the human authors? Is there a divine Author?

We continue reading: “All Scripture is inspired of God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (vv. 16-17). Scripture, inspired of God through the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20-21), is used by God to look into our heart and expose our conscience (Hebrews 4:12-13).

While many millions do accept the Bible as God’s revealed Word, there are millions of others who just look on His Word as merely a human document, filled with mistakes, with fallible teachings, and unworthy of revealing truth or guiding our lives. They think that it is on par with other ancient writings that display all of the fallacies of their human authors. Thus, they refuse to believe God’s Word and may even ridicule it. Many others, who claim to believe that the Bible is God’s Book, fail to really believe it or follow its teachings.  Sadly, many people who profess to be Christians allow days and even weeks to pass by without reading and especially studying the sacred pages of Scripture (Acts 17:11).  In all of these ways, we dishonor the God of Scripture!

If you had to take a trip to a distant country and began to write of your love and longing for your husband or wife, would you expect him or her to read your letters of devotion? What if you discovered that your spouse just placed the letters on the shelf and neglected to read your words of tender affection?  Would you doubt your partner’s real love for you? Likewise, what should God think when He has communicated sixty-six “Love” documents to you and made it quite convenient for you to access these in a Bible—even an accurate, readable, and understandable translation and edition?

If we love God, let’s be willing to love His Word, His divine communication from His heart to ours! Let’s have the attitude of the psalmist: “O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. . . . How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:97, 103).

7.   We have denied God’s authority.

 

For some decades now, especially since the 1960s, the “decade of rebellion,” many people have reacted to authority of all kinds. This may take different forms. It may be a rebellion against parents (Ephesians 6:1), against the government (Romans 13:1-2), against employers (Ephesians 6:5-8), against one’s husband (Ephesians 5:22-24), against elders or overseers (Hebrews 13:17). But the chief rebellion is against the authority of God Himself!

We know that God is “over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:6) “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:36).  All authority is God’s which He has shared with His Son, Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18). We also read in Daniel, “The Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind” (4:32).  Even Nebuchadnezzar acknowledged, “His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom endures from generation to generation” (4:32).  We are absolutely subservient to the Lord God Almighty, our God and Father!

All of the world religions have rejected God’s absolute authority. Buddhism even rejects the idea of a personal God. Hinduism worships three chief gods and over 300 million lesser false gods. Judaism rejects God’s beloved Son. Islam also rejects the authority of the God of the Bible and of the Lord Jesus. Much of Christendom has rejected God’s authority that is exercised through His authoritative Word. Vast numbers of Catholics and Protestants have rebelled against God’s authority expressed in His infallible Word, as witnessed by their reluctance to believe portions of Scripture and take them seriously.

Virtually all people of the world have set themselves against God and refuse to submit to His rulership in their life. They would rather direct the course of their own life instead of submitting to what God has revealed through Christ and His Word. Puny man has elevated himself to such a high level that he is unwilling to take orders from the very God who created him!

We manifest a denial of God’s authority when we dare to disobey His will. When we violate His commands, we defy His awesome authority. When we fail to comply with His will, we defy His authority. When we neglect doing what He wants, we are defying His authority.  When we fail to keep our thoughts clean, or control our eyes, or bridle our speech, or be careful of our actions, we are failing to submit ourselves to the authority of God over us. How can we escape from this failure? How can we be forgiven of this appalling sin!

8.   We have denied God’s gracious gift of our body.

 

We earlier noticed that God is our creator (Genesis 1:1). Scripture says, “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (v. 27). We have been made in God’s likeness to reflect His personality and moral character.  God also created our body (2:7, 21-22; cf. Acts 17:25). This is why David could sing, “I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well” (Psalm 139:14). We must recognize that God’s creation of our bodies are works of His creative power, wisdom, and love!

We know that sin entered into the world through Adam, the first man (Romans 5:12), and through this act of rebellion, all of God’s creation has been affected, including the imperfections in our body, physical illness, bodily injury, and eventually death (Genesis 3:19; Romans 5:12; 8:20-23; 1 Corinthians 15:22). But even in these earthly, fallible, fragile, and weak bodies, we belong to God and are required to be good stewards of what He has given.  A steward is a caretaker of another’s property. My body doesn’t belong to me. It belongs to God, my Maker!  Your body also belongs to the Lord—not to you! Additionally, if you are a true follower of Christ and have been born of the Holy Spirit, in a special way you belong to God. Christ suffered and died for you and now owns you because He paid for you with His precious blood!

If we do belong to God and to Christ, our “bodies are members of Christ” (1 Corinthians 6:15). Your body is “a temple of the Holy Spirit” for He dwells in you (v. 19).  Paul explains, “you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body” (v. 20). In another place, the apostle says, “Present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship” (Romans 12:1). The body is important to the extent that “each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).

Because of this, we must not abuse, misuse, harm, or sin against our physical body with sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:12-20). “The body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body” (v. 13). Neither must we abuse our body with harmful foods, “junk foods,” or non-nutritious foods. Abusing our body in this way may shorten your life by 5, 10, or 20 years! Rather, as God’s stewards over the body He has given, we must treat our body with respect, wisdom, prudence, and self-control. As Paul puts it, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Additionally, we must not abuse our body with drunkenness, tobacco, drugs, and  other forms of reckless, foolish living (cf. Galatians 5:21). We can see that we are responsible to take care of the body God has given to us. Otherwise, we are abusing the gift that God has graciously given! And in this, we sin against God our Maker and Owner!

9.   We have denied God’s presence.

 

Do we really have an understanding of God’s attributes and character? We tend to be oblivious of God and His inconceivable qualities, such as eternality, omniscience (all-knowing), and omnipotence (all-powerful). One such quality that only God has is omnipresence (everywhere present). Since we are localized, in a physical body, we may have trouble believing or understanding how God can be present everywhere in the universe at the same time.  In one sense, He is in heaven (Matthew 6:9). As Solomon put it, “God is in heaven and you are on the earth” (Ecclesiastes 5:2).

But in another sense, David could extol Yahweh God’s greatness with these words: “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there” (Psalm 139:7-8). As Spirit, God is everywhere present.

However, we act as though we don’t believe this basic truth of God’s nature. Many people freely sin and somehow think that God is unaware of it. At least, they give no thought and express no fear of His knowledge of the sin and His wrath against it. But God does see!  “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, watching the evil and the good” (Proverbs 15:3; cf. 5:21; Job 34:21; Zechariah 4:10). God says, “My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from My face, nor is their iniquity concealed from My eyes” (Jeremiah 16:17).

Sometimes God’s presence is for our good: “The eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His” (2 Chronicles 16:9). God’s omnipresence is closely linked to His omniscience: “There is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:13). This fact that God knows all and is everywhere present should terrify one in sin and comfort one who is living faithfully and righteously.

 

When we overlook or even deliberately refuse to believe that God is watching every move we make and knows every thought in our mind, we sin against our awesome God.  When we close our eyes to the fact that God’s eyes are seeing everything throughout the earth, we minimize God’s power and even His deity! When we go ahead and sin by violating God’s commands and by failing to do what we know we should do, we make light of or even deny God’s omnipresence and omniscience. Let us repent of this and renounce it as sin against God.

10.                  We have denied God’s saving work in Christ.

This is a leading sin against God’s grace, mercy, and love.  We know that because of our sins, Christ came to this earth with a purpose—“to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15). He did this by dying on the cross for those sins (1 Corinthians 15:3) and dying for us (Romans 5:8).  Because He was willing to die a redemptive, saving death, we can escape the consequences of our own sin, which would be death (Romans 6:23), alienation from God (Colossians 1:23), God’s wrath (Romans 1:18), and hell (Revelation 21:8).

All of this gracious deliverance is called the “gospel” which means the “good news” of God for our salvation!  This indeed is good news!  It is a blessed message to learn that God so loved us that He gave His Son to die for us (Romans 5:8). It is a blessed message to know that God is a God of mercy (Titus 3:5) and that he has mercifully withheld His just judgment from a condemned sinner, all because of Jesus (Ephesians 2:4).  It is a blessed message to learn that God’s grace has been given to us instead of the justice and hell that we deserve because of our sins (Ephesians 2:7-8).

But we all must admit that vast numbers of people in this world have learned of Christ Jesus and His saving death on the cross, but they depart with a careless attitude and continue their indifferent, selfish, and sinful lives. They just seemingly don’t care. To them, Christ might as well have not even come to this earth, lived a sinless life, died on the cross, and was resurrected from the death. They are totally apathetic. 

Along with these indifferent ones, others have heard of the message of Christ and have even made some response to Him, but then they go their way and think and act as though it really didn’t matter. They may feel secure in their sins. They may have “more important” things to do. They may allow the spiritual part of their lives to be crowded out by the immediate circumstances of life. Or they may assume that a simple life of church-going and contributing money will suffice. No, all of this demeans the God whose awesome love gave His dear Son as an atonement for sin! The Bible calls such an attitude lukewarmness. Jesus said, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth” (Revelation 3:15-17). Christ is nauseated by a cold, indifferent, apathetic attitude!

How can we escape if we fail to consider the death and resurrection of Christ the greatest message in all history!  “How will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” (Hebrews 2:3). How can we escape if we treat with such carelessness God’s wondrous love, mercy, and grace!  How can we escape if we don’t consider the Lord Jesus Christ our greatest joy, our greatest possession, our greatest earthly delight, and our greatest hope of heaven!

What about You?

It is an awesome responsibility to relate to God, for He is “Lord of heaven and earth” (Acts 17:24).  When we trifle with God, treat Him carelessly, violate His will, and fail to take Him seriously, we are daring to demean Him. Instead, He is your Creator, your Sustainer, your Lawgiver, your Judge.  In effect, we fail to honor Him as God!

This is why, in the beginning, we called this offence against God a tragic and serious sin. Indeed, it is. We are daring to lower God and treat Him carelessly.  We fail to recognize Him as the awesome Personality He is! As God said through Asaph, “You thought that I was just like you” (Psalm 50:21). No, we can’t treat God as some people treat other people, even their family members and friends. God will not be taken lightly. He requires us to look to Him as God, the creator of the ends of the earth, and our end-time Judge.

If God is God (and He is), then He deserves and has a right to expect our absolute loyalty and total submission. He deserves our unparalleled love, our implicit faith, our ultimate worship, and our unqualified obedience. Throughout the Scriptures, God is shown to be above all and worthy of our supreme loyalty and devotion. When asked to deny Jesus, Peter declared, “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). Jesus said, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only” (Matthew 4:10).  In another place, the Lord said, “Have faith in God” (Mark 11:22), and, as we earlier saw, the first and great commandment is to love God with all of our being (Mark 12:29-30). In all ways, we must give God the worship, faith, love, devotion, and submission that are His rightful due!

If you have found yourself falling short of responding to God as you now know you should, the Bible says that you must repent, totally repent of this neglect and wrong-doing. Yes, you need to repent of those personal sins against God’s will—such as lying, profanity, lust, greed, and stealing. We must repent of these individual acts of disobedience (cf. Revelation 9:20-21; 16:11). But we must also repent of the basic sins we have discussed today—a fundamental failure to acknowledge God as God, the sovereign Ruler, Sustainer, and Law-giver of heaven and earth.  Will you thoughtfully ponder this plea and come to this loving, merciful, and gracious God through His beloved Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ!

 

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