Righteousness Revealed Part 5

I want to complete this series by looking more at how we see ourselves. Recently I was reminded of a song that came out of the counter cultural hippie movement of the 1960’s. While there was a popular expression, “peace, love and Woodstock” and the “summer of love” in San Francisco, the fruit of the movement was primarily debauchery and rebellion. There were some things to challenge but by and large the fruit of this movement was not good and what saved our culture at the time was a revival known as the Jesus Movement that swept through the hippie movement. It touched North America and Europe and whether or not you are aware of it, greatly influenced the instruments you see and music you sing in the evangelical church today.

Joni Mitchell wrote a very popular song in November 1969 about the Woodstock music festival that immortalized and sanitized the event. The garden reference is to the Garden of Eden.

Woodstock

I came upon a child of God
He was walking along the road
When I asked him where are you going
This he told me.

I’m going down to Yasgurs farm
Think I’ll join a rock and roll band
I’ll camp out on the land
I’ll try and set my soul free.

We are stardust, we are golden
And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.
Then can I walk beside you
I have come here to lose the smog

And I feel just like a cog in something turning.
Well maybe its the time of year
Or maybe its the time of man
And I don’t know who I am

But life’s for learning.
We are stardust, we are golden
And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.
By the time I got to Woodstock

They were half a million strong
Everywhere there were songs and celebration
And I dreamed I saw the bombers
Riding shotgun in the sky

Turning into butterflies
Above our nation.
We are stardust, we are golden
And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.

We are stardust, we are golden
And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.
We are stardust, we are golden
And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.

Songwriters: JONI MITCHELL
© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Crazy Crow Music / Siquomb Music Publishing
For non-commercial use only.

I think many of us in the church are like the sentiment expressed in this song, trying to ‘get back to the garden.’ That is only one of the many wrong concepts here. The song expresses a longing for something lost and a belief that we need to recognize that we are ‘stardust and golden.’ Yet humanity without Jesus is lost, not stardust and golden. There is a longing in this song to ‘become who we are’ but it is really a longing to become who we were created to be while missing the only thing that will enable us to achieve that, the new birth.

The sentiment in the song is about identity. The issue in the church is identity. Once we have encountered Jesus and been born again our goal should never be to ‘get back to the garden.’ Adam and Eve never had what we have. Prior to the Fall they had innocence but lacked Jesus; Yahweh’s nature, in their spirits. We have that and to ‘become who we are’ we need to reflect that in our beliefs and speech. Do we think of ourselves as sinners? Is that our identity? That may reflect popular church culture but it is just as aberrant as Joni Mitchell’s song.

The scriptures teach what we are;

12  But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: John 1:12 (NKJV)

6  knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. Romans 6:6 (NKJV)

5  having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, Ephesians 1:5 (NKJV)

10  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 (NKJV)

9  For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10  and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. Colossians 2:9-10 (NKJV)

17  But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him. 1 Corinthians 6:17 (NKJV)

17  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)

21  For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NKJV)

9  But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 1 Peter 2:9 (NKJV)

1  Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2  Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 1 John 3:1-2 (NKJV)

This is by no means an exhaustive list, search the NT for other references and meditate in and on this reality and cooperate with the Spirit of Life and Truth. Turn these truths into prayers and declarations to truly become who you are. Here is truth about us.

20  I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Galatians 2:20 (NKJV, emphasis mine)

 

Righteousness Revealed Part 4

Look at the verse below.

19  My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you, Galatians 4:19 (NKJV)

The context is Paul writing to believers, new creations, and speaking to them of the need for Christ to be formed in them. How does that make sense? It requires understanding the need to become who we are. We are new creations in that we have a new spirit at conversion. What we don’t receive is a new soul (our mind, will and emotions). What is in our recreated spirit (Jesus nature) needs to be formed and manifest in our soul. That is Paul’s point in Galatians 4:19. He reinforces this in other places.

23  and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24  and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:23-24 (NKJV)

Here Paul is saying that deep within our thought processes we need to align with what we are in our spirit, a new creation created in righteousness and holiness (imparted righteousness). This will be reflected in our behaviour.

1  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:1-2 (NKJV)

Paul here exhorts us to wholly surrender to Jesus nature in our recreated spirit and reflect in our lifestyle what is good and acceptable in our behaviour.

16  I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. Galatians 5:16 (NKJV)

22  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23  gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24  And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-25 (NKJV)

In these passages from Galatians Paul provides more of the how. Walking in the Spirit requires a daily submission and surrender of our desire and will to the Holy Spirit. We can know we are doing that when what is reflected in our behaviour and attitude is the fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, etc. When this is what is consistently reflected in our lives we have become who we are. While I don’t believe any of us will ever complete this in our lifetime that certainly needs to be our goal, reflected more fully over time. Paul put it thus.

12  Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13  Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14  I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14 (NKJV)

Jesus laid hold of us to conform us to His image and be bearers of His glory in broken vessels. Let us press on that others may encounter Jesus shining through us.

NOTE – For further teaching on understanding spirit and soul search my blog for my post “Restoring Repentance Part 5.”

Righteousness Revealed Part 3

I looked at imputed righteousness in my last post, Jesus righteousness being credited or ‘imputed’ to us which leads to the Father treating us as He would Jesus. I also referenced imparted righteousness. If imputed righteousness treats us as having something we don’t actually possess what is the effect of imparted righteousness?

Before answering my question let me ask another question. If we have been born again what happened? What have we become? Understanding this tells us how we both can and should live. Our calling as believers is something the Holy Spirit spoke to me over two decades ago, ‘Become who you are.’ I have continued to understand that at deeper levels over time. Then in recent years I was at a work event and a speaker was sharing about a change they had gone through and said, “To become who we are we have to let go of who we were.” I thought about that. That thought further captures the working out of imparted righteousness. While 2 Corinthians 5:21 talks about imputed righteousness, earlier in the chapter Paul captures imparted righteousness.

17  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)

Paul here refers to conversion and what happened in our spirits. While he does not use the exact same language as Jesus, he is referring to what Jesus spoke of in John 3, the need to be born again, or more literally, born from above. Our spirit is literally reborn at conversion. Being born again or becoming a new creation is the same thing. Having a new spirit means that we have had something imparted to us. Our calling then is to learn how to live out of this new nature, to become who we truly are.

The answer to my earlier question around the effect of imparted righteousness is that we need to learn to understand who we truly are and live out of that identity.

I will expand further on this in my next post as this is the answer to the question so many of us have about how to live the Christian life.

Righteousness Revealed Part 2

What did Jesus tells us about righteousness and salvation?

20  For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:20 (NKJV)

Given that we can’t get in to heaven without a great deal of righteousness how do we acquire it? Where do we go to receive it? The obvious answer if we have been a believer for any length of time is that we get it from Jesus. I once said in a message, “Only one person is going to heaven.” That got people’s attention, to which I added, “Jesus, and those who are in Him.” Why is that? Jesus is the only one who met His Father’s standard of righteousness. We learn from 2 Corinthians 5:21 how this standard is met.

21  For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NKJV)

As a result of Jesus death and resurrection all those who repent and receive His free gift of salvation experience this divine exchange that Paul described – He gets our sin, we receive His righteousness. Now righteousness has two forms – imputed and imparted. Imputed righteousness is Jesus deeds being credited to our account. Many years ago my wife and I received our statement from the bank and it wasn’t good. When I went in to the branch to sort things out I discovered what had happened. Two branches had merged and a couple at the other branch had the same account number as us. In the merger they gave the other couple our funds and we acquired their debts. Thankfully they quickly reversed things once they discovered what they had done. This is what Jesus did. He received our debts and we had His funds (righteousness from His righteous acts) credited to our account. This is the ‘imputed’ part.

What is the benefit of imputed righteousness? The best summary is in Hebrews.

16  Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16 (NKJV)

We can come boldly to the throne of grace because Jesus righteousness, that which far exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, is ours as a believer. This is our access pass. So make use of it, come boldly and often and before this throne present not only requests, pursue intimacy with the Father, Son and Spirit.

14  The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen. 2 Corinthians 13:14 (NKJV)

Next post I will begin explicating how imputed and imparted righteousness relate and what it means for our walk with and identity in Jesus.

Righteousness Revealed Part 1

Paul was the preeminent theologian in the New Testament. A man driven even harder by passion for Jesus than his opposition to Jesus when he was Saul of Tarsus the zealously religious Pharisee. He knew the heights and depths of Jesus amazing love. Does that mean he always lived on the mountaintop? No, read his letters, he clearly did not. Yet he had these experiences and prayed that we would as well (see Col. 1:9-11, Phil. 1:9-11 and Eph. 1:17-21, 3:14-21). The prime drive for Paul was his awareness of the heart of the gospel.

16  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17  For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17 (NKJV)

There is a little phrase in these two verses we would do well to understand and embrace, “in it the righteousness of God is revealed.” Most of us likely understand the scriptural truth that salvation is by faith through grace (Eph. 2:8-9). Yet how does salvation by faith through grace reveal the righteousness of God? Righteousness is a word connected to covenantal commitment.

“The concept of righteousness in the Old Testament is wholly a religiously determined idea. It does not express any abstract ethical norm or concept. Neither is it any ideal moral system or set of universal laws. Righteousness describes the relationship which Israel had with Yahweh. Essential for the basis of righteousness is the covenant relationship. This alliance presupposes a mutual righteousness between the two parties which is expressed most fully in faithfulness to the covenant relationship. The righteous or just one fulfills to the other party the obligations that are dictated by the covenant.

This is not to say that the covenantal parties of the Old Testament were equal; on the contrary, God was the Master, and Israel was the servant. The covenant relationship was created in the first place because of God’s merciful initiative to choose a sinful people.”

Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary

In the OT the ‘righteous or just one’ was Yahweh. Fulfilling the covenant depended on His fulfilling His commitment. While this is framed as a legal transaction we see the true outworking of covenant when we read Psalm 23. Here David describes the outworking of this covenant in terms of friendship and intimacy. No legal language here!

1  The LORD is my shepherd;

I shall not want. 2  He makes me to lie down in green pastures;

He leads me beside the still waters. 3  He restores my soul;

He leads me in the paths of righteousness

For His name’s sake. 4  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil;

For You are with me;

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 5  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;

You anoint my head with oil;

My cup runs over. 6  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me

All the days of my life;

And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.

Psalm 23:1-6 (NKJV)

When you read and meditate on this Psalm recognize that this is the covenant of righteousness that Paul experienced after conversion. He knew covenant as a Pharisee, he lived covenant as a believer. Let us go and do likewise.

More to come…

He Died for You Part 4

In the previous three posts I sought to include examples and illustrations of why Jesus wants to draw close to us as a friend and looked at how His love moved Him to die on our behalf, in spite of us being His enemies at the time. My point is that the opportunity for intimacy with Jesus isn’t dependent on our skills or abilities in any area. It only depends on our desire and willingness to draw near (see Jas. 4:8 below). Jesus loved and wanted to draw near to us in spite of where we were prior to our conversion. How much more does He want to draw close once we have been born again?

8  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8 (NKJV)

3  The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” Jeremiah 31:3 (NKJV)

Have you wondered about how to draw close to someone living inside your skin? Sound strange? Viewed from the outside our faith can seem a little odd – we have someone intimately part of us who wants to get to know us! Not only does the Living One live within us, He wants us to draw close to the Father’s throne to experience intimacy. One way the scriptures describe Jesus sacrificial death is in Hebrews.

1  Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2  looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2 (NKJV)

Jesus saw joy on the other side of the cross. The joy of being reunited with his Father certainly, but His primary purpose for taking on flesh was to redeem and restore all who would come to Him. His future joy lay in His nature being birthed in all who received Him.   

17  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)

21  For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NKJV)

We have a new nature and are clothed in His righteousness. If we recognize that the throne of judgment is also the throne of grace we will respond by coming boldly into His presence and drawing near to His heart. After all, the invitation and door are both always open.

16  Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16 (NKJV)

 

He Died for You Part 3

There is another part to Jesus being our friend that may require some repentance (a change of mind and heart) on our part. Jesus wants to be our friend because He loves us. Yet do we believe He loves us because there is something attractive about us? If so there are two problems we need to address (this is where the repentance comes in). First, if we believe Jesus love is based on our attractiveness what happens if we sin or believe we aren’t attractive to Him? Can we ever be His friend? We all know sin is not attractive to Jesus. After all it required His agonizing death. Secondly, what does scripture teach us about sin and ourselves?

Look at what Paul said.

18  For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. Romans 7:18 (NKJV)

When he refers to our ‘flesh’ Paul is referring to what he possessed in his natural or pre-conversion self and what stayed around in spite of his new birth and new nature. He describes the same thing in an expanded way in Ephesians 2.

1  And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2  in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3  among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. Ephesians 2:1-3 (NKJV)

Paul informs us that prior to conversion we were under God’s judgment and wrath. He further reinforces this in Romans 5.

6  For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7  For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8  But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9  Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10  For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. Romans 5:6-10 (NKJV) NOTE – Paul refers to our pre-conversion not our present state as being sinners.

So why does Jesus want to be our friend? Is it something in us? Clearly not, it is something in Him. Let us go back to one of the most famous passages in the scriptures.

16  For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16 (NKJV)

Jesus wants to be our friend not because of something inherently loveable in us but because it is His nature to love. After all John described Him as love.

7  Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8  He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9  In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10  In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:7-10 (NKJV)

At first glance we may find this discouraging. It shouldn’t be. If Jesus was so passionate about how He could transform His enemies (all of us at one point) that He loved them  enough to die for them what do you think He desires in terms of relationship now that His nature is in us through the new birth?

Paul said, 3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4  just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5  having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6  to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:3-6 (NKJV) emphasis mine

This awareness of us being made accepted in Jesus is what led to Paul’s prayers in Ephesians 1:17-21 and 3:14-21. Jesus died for us because He loved, and loves, us and nothing we do can separate us from that incredible love. We can rest in His eternal commitment to work things out for our good and present us in His splendor to His, and our, Father. So let us rest in His love for us that He may reveal more of Himself through us.

He Died for You Part 2

In His final teaching on the way to Gethsemane and then the cross Jesus said something very significant in John 15:15 (see the verse in context at the end of this post). Jesus said, “I no longer call you servants but friends.” While we earn trust, do we earn friendship or is it something that grows over time through the sharing of hearts? I don’t know how often we think about friendship and how it develops but Jesus called these men His friends after He had spent around three years with them, eating together, sleeping outdoors together and sharing ministry. All this time Jesus was modeling His Father’s heart and hearing their hearts.

Over time they had become friends of Jesus now pointed that out to them in John 15. Given that our friends are the people we enjoy spending time with can Jesus be our Friend without enjoying our company? It is easy to say in Christian circles that Jesus died for us because He loved us and intellectually believe it. Yet what if we shift it a bit to say, “Jesus died for us because He cares about us.” We can also make it more personal, “Jesus, I know You died for me, You laid down Your life and suffered incredible torment because You really care about me and want to spend eternity with me.” Does that evoke a different heart response? After all, Paul wrote, “10  For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10:10 (NKJV) While the context of this verse is salvation is the principle not true in the other areas of our walk with Jesus?

We need to see Jesus high and lifted up, the King and Creator of the universe. Yet we also need to see Jesus stepping off His throne and walking into our lives and hearts, concerned about every aspect and detail of our lives because He is also our friend. We can sing ‘Jesus Friend of sinners’ but what about Jesus friend of Christians? What are the implications of thinking and believing that way?

12  This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13  Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. 14  You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15  No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. John 15:12-15 (NKJV)

He Died for You Part 1

Anyone who knows me well knows that I love the outdoors, particularly being in the mountains. When I am outdoors I generally find it easier to connect with Jesus and easier for my heart to come to a place of rest. Yet with all their beauty and the many natural resources on and hidden within them, what are mountains really worth? While we may try to calculate this from a monetary perspective, how do we compare all the natural resources in the world with the value of one eternal being created to be conformed to the image of Jesus? (See Rom. 8:28-30)

This is a question that seems to not occupy most of us but is a very significant and real question. We live in a world generally dominated by economic concerns in western civilization. Yet, while economics needs to be part of our life we need to view finances and economies as a means to an end, not the end in and of themselves. After all, what did Jesus say?

36  For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Mark 8:36 (NKJV) 

It is very important that Jesus in essence said there is nothing we should be willing to trade for an eternity with Him. This statement is the true value proposition and is the real measuring stick for how we are to weigh things both temporal and eternal. How do we view our lives and the lives of others in light of this truth? How is it reflected in our lifestyles?

More to come…

Sin is Sin?

We no longer reference sin very much in our culture and even when we do, in some church circles it has become popular to say that ‘sin is sin’ and one sin is no worse than another. I don’t know who started the expression but the intent seems to be the justification or minimizing of sin. However, does ‘sin is sin’ square with scripture?

Squaring something is an interesting term. It can be used to refer to fighting with two opponents ‘squaring off’ with one another. However, I think the better reference comes from carpentry where things need to be squared if they are to function properly. A few years ago I installed some laminate in my basement and discovered that whoever had finished that part of my basement had not squared the walls and my runs of laminate were off when I reached the wall. Squaring something up in building may not seem that important but it is like the idea of heading off on a long journey and being slightly off. It may not affect things much at the start but 1,000 km into the journey you are far from your destination even if you were only off a couple of degrees at the start. In building the larger the structure the more important it is to square things when you begin to build on the foundation.

In a similar manner with the choices we make in our lives we are building something of far more significance than an earthly structure, as Paul noted.

1  For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 Corinthians 5:1 (NKJV)

19  Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20  having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone, 21  in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22  in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. Ephesians 2:19-22 (NKJV)

9  For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. 10  According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 1 Corinthians 3:9-10 (NKJV)

There are more NT references. My point is that we in the church have both an individual and corporate responsibility regarding how we build on the foundation of Jesus in our lives. Jesus is not the carpenter, we are. The foundation is set and squared. Sins have consequences and contrary to some current thinking some sins are worse than others. While our goal should be to never sin, we need to recognize that if we do the effects of some are worse than others and they affect not only us individually but the church corporately because we are all part of the same building. Look at the reference below.

18  Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. 1 Corinthians 6:18 (NKJV)

This is one verse on the matter that is very clear, not all sins have the same consequences. Every judicial system I am aware of uses the same approach and does not respond to a parking infraction in the same manner as it does to murder. We would all recognize the inherent injustice in that approach and Yahweh is the same. Exodus to Deuteronomy makes hundreds of distinctions regarding various sins.

The qualifier is that if we don’t know Jesus we end up eternally in the wrong place. If we do know Jesus our degree of reward or loss is determined by how we build on the foundation in our lives, which includes helping others. So rather than saying ‘sin is sin’ why not better serve ourselves and the rest of the body by promoting the idea that sin is wrong, plain and simple? We can then focus on building an eternal structure that we can look forward to and help to shape the rest of the building material in this corporate structure to which we belong.