My church is towards the end of a series we’ve titled “Under Construction.” One morning in my time with Jesus, I was reflecting on how He is still a carpenter! Jesus was born into a carpenter family so naturally, He learned these skills. It hit me that Jesus is still in the builders’ trade. He is preparing a place for us in heaven and He is preparing us for heaven. So, in this series, we’ve looked at a handful of passages about how Christ is still doing work in us through the Holy Spirit. The result? Live a holy life that looks just like the life of Jesus!
Great. So why have I felt like this is for other people and not for me? Sin. Pride. Stupidity.
It is because I feel like my sin is “respectable sin.” Know a phrase Jesus NEVER EVER EVER SAID? I searched it on blueletterbible.org, I got nothing back. He NEVER said “respectable sin!” Not only do those two words not appear in Scripture as a phrase, but they also don’t even appear in the same verse together! There is no such thing as respectable sin.
We are gaining an understanding that the Holy Spirit is doing a work in us to make us into the image of Christ. We are trying to grow into Daddy’s perfect robe of righteousness. We’ve all got work to do in this area. If I simply skim a little of my tithe, well that’s just a respectable sin, no big deal. Ananias thought the same way (Acts 5). I’m just really angry to the point of hatred, but it’s not like I’ve murdered someone. Yo, she’s a hottie, I’ll just look and imagine what it would be like without actually doing anything about it. It’s not like it’s an actual affair. Yup, the people of Jesus’ day thought the same thing (Matthew 5-7).
Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
There is NO adjective before the word “sin.” He didn’t die for financial sin alone. He didn’t die for sexual sin alone. He didn’t die for hateful sin alone. He didn’t die for the sin of our mouths alone. He died for ALL sin. There are NO categories. When I gossip, that sin was on the cross. When I pretend to give, while being stingy, that sin is on the cross. When I look at a woman with lust, that sin is on the cross. When I speak with undue anger to my kids, that sin is on the cross.
All sin. All sin is DEATH. God does not put sin into a box, rather He brings it all to the cross.
Here is where grace meets me in a low feeling. God should have ended the process in me by now. He should have given up. I would have. But here is a reminder, THE PROCESS IS NOT OVER! Time is a gift. Jesus is a gift. The Holy Spirit is a GIFT. Despite how I fumble this process, I’m still with Jesus forever. I still have now, I still have today to grow into Daddy’s perfect robe of righteousness.
So the next time we are tempted to think “respectable sin” or my sin is “not a big deal,” remember, it was ALL put to death on the cross. May you and I put the same amount of effort into killing our sin as an addict puts into beating their habit. The extremes the addict takes, let the gossip take.
Why? Being like Jesus is AWESOME. These are the reminders, to be awesome like Jesus. Do the work because He’s done the work. That sentence doesn’t make any sense, but to the Christian, it makes all the sense.
Let me close with this. A bunch of Pharisees, religiously proud, saw their sin as “respectable.” So they brought a woman caught in the despicable sin of adultery before Jesus. They are loud, they are angry, they want justice. Jesus, cool as the day is long, is unbothered by their antics. Eventually, He does come to the point of speaking, but it’s quick. Pointed. He actually agrees with them that her sin deserves death. So He says to them, “Sure, kill her, those without any sin, throw the first stone.” (My version, not word for word how Jesus said it). No one. Not a single one of them threw a stone. They dropped their rocks and left. Why? Their “respectable sin” was still “sin.” At that moment, Jesus put the sin of the Pharisees, the woman, the onlookers, EVERYONE, on an even playing field. Oh, I would love to have heard the sound of those rocks hitting the ground.
Does Jesus ignore sin? No. When the crowd leaves, He says one last thing. He looks to the woman and says, “Neither do I condemn you, now go and leave your life of sin.”
She must have walked away with joy, conviction, and worship. We’ve got work to do. Let’s leave sin behind us and walk forward in grace!
Keep Praying for One,
Pastor Jason Coache,
Lead Pastor of Wellspring Church