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Choose Ye’ This Day: Alienation or Grace

Choose Ye’ This Day: Alienation or Grace

Sin is a tricky little something. My conception of sin is defined as further alienation from God, which I picked up from reading the work of the 4th Century African Bishop Athanasius of Alexandria. In other words, any act or way of being that alienates you or us as a collective from the love, will, and purpose of God, is sin. Now our confession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and belief in his resurrection (Romans 10:9-10) is our saving grace. All our sins are forgiven and we are saved.

Yes! This is true, but we are not perfect.

We must continue to answer the call to repentance, as detailed in Acts 3:19 –

“Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away” (NLT).

This is where the problem for many of us comes in. In the guilt that we have concerning the sin or sins that we have done, we deepen this alienation. Instead of confessing where we have fallen short, asking for that forgiveness, and seeking renewal, we won’t even go to God! We feel ashamed and do the opposite of what will bring us back into right relationship with God. When we run away like this, we cause even greater guilt, heartache, and feelings of isolation. God hasn’t gone anywhere, so to speak, but we have!

Before we realize it, we have now alienated ourselves to the point where it feels like we cannot even seek The Lord. The shame has evolved to such a point that we trick our own selves into believing that God’s grace is not sufficient for us. In this state, because we feel so isolated, to comfort ourselves we will begin to choose the very same sin that warped us into alienation in the first place. Now we’re stuck.

Rev. Dr. James H. Evans always says, “The problem with sin is that it takes you further than you want to go, and keeps you longer than you want to stay.”

Wise words.

Remember today that sin is only a temporary alienation from God. When we confess of our wrongs, we are restored to right relationship with God, which also initiates the process of being empowered by the Holy Spirit to grow in relationship. This is not just an individual mandate (although our practice of faith has become increasingly so), as we are all intricately connected. Much of our Old Testament scripture bears witness to the sins of the collective group not turning away from and seeking forgiveness for their sins. This is applicable for our churches, communities, nations, and world today. The question we have to ask ourselves is how long will we choose to be in the hell of alienation before we recognize what Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 12:9, quoting The Lord,

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (NIV).

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