(July 19, 1989)
Every time our family discusses the possibility of trading in a vehicle or buying another one, the word OPTIONS comes up. Most cars come with basic features and offer luxury options. A few come with basic luxuries and about the only options left to choose are colors. Personally, I like a variety of choices. Decision-making may take longer but it is fun putting together the possible combinations, trying to get the most and the best and still be under-budget.
Actually, car buying and life are alike. We want the most and the best without going’ bankrupt in the process! Life’s basics include death, and some humorists add taxes. Another is our incredibly tendency to violate the laws of God.
A few years ago, I looked up every verse in Scripture with the word “sin” in it. I’d had the idea that sin consisted of breaking the Ten Commandments, specifically murder, adultery, lying, and stealing.
Even these were graded, so I thought. At some point, they passed over the line from “sin” to “excusable.” I also thought that since some people didn’t do anything too horribly bad, they would not be considered sinners. And even those who were could do enough good deeds to somehow balance out the bad. I wasn’t worried about my sins. I thought I wasn’t as bad as some people I knew.
Out of that word study, I learned a lot about sin. I learned God has high standards and anything that falls short is called “unrighteousness.”
This short verse, “All unrighteousness is sin,” dashed my ideas about it being graded. No excusable “little white lies” at one end and sinful “big whoppers” at the other. All get one label.
I also discovered this one, “Whoever keeps the whole law, and yet stumbles in one point, he is guilty of all.” One sin makes a person a sinner, even if the rest of his life seems okay. It’s like an omelet. One rotten egg ruins the whole thing, no matter how fresh the rest! Gone was my idea that little transgressions would be overlooked.
By this time, I was beginning to get the picture. Innocence doesn’t exist. Sin is basic to the human condition. I couldn’t opt out on that one. Romans 3 confirms it, “All have sinned...” and then chapter 6 condemns it, “The wages of sin is death.” I also discovered death means eternal separation from God.
Since the Bible is about heaven and how to get there, all this bad news could make a person wonder if there is any point in trying to make at least a few good choices. Why Proverbs 24:9 says, “Even the thought of foolishness is sin.”
It would appear no matter the level of goodness reached, one bad thought overrules. Not much hope given for all us sinners in these verses about sin. But there was one more. Jesus told His disciples that He would go away but the Holy Spirit would come. One of the Spirit’s functions would be to convict (convince) the world of sin. Then He defined it, “... sin, because they do not believe in Me.”
Eureka! With every other sin there was too much water under the bridge and too many unwise choices already made, but here is the one sin I could do something about! There is an option that changes human destiny.
Instead of choosing to believe in my own resources to deal with sin, I was offered the option of trusting in the death and resurrection of Christ. He took all those choices I’d already made, every sinful thought, word, and deed, to their just end on the cross, leaving me with just one option upon which my eternal destiny hinges: “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
I may never own a fully loaded, 4-wheeled anything, but because of Jesus Christ, I can pick eternity with Him. It isn’t a basic, but thank God, that option is available.