Friday, January 21, 2011

Sin Costs More Than Parking

I was dropping Titus and Joe off at preschool this morning and I started talking with my friend Jon. We were talking about snow blowers, 4 wheel drives and eventually the high cost of parking at Cornell. Like us, most people don’t invest in parking permits because they cost around $800! Talking about the exorbitant price of parking on campus triggered a thought in my little man Josiah’s brain and he looked at me and said:

“Dad. Remember that kid who paid for his own sin?”

I said, “Yes Joe, I do remember him. And we are praying for him that he would love Jesus and accept his payment for our sin.”

Recently we’ve been praying for a guy I met in Boston a couple of weeks ago. He was raised a Jainist, and with solid conceptions of personal responsibility and Karma factoring into his worldview he can not believe that Jesus would take the punishment that we deserve. In his religion, every person gets exactly what they deserve, and there is no such thing as amazing grace. When you sin, you suffer your own consequences, and to be “liberated” you would need to live a perfect life in order to earn your own way to heaven –which he would call simply ‘enlightenment’. You are your own savior.

My boys and I were praying for him, because we don’t want him to pay for his own sin! That is an option…. And in fact it is the option that we all deserve! Paul says very clearly in his letter to the Romans that we have all sinned and that “the wages of sin is death. That had already been made clear in the Old Testament starting in the beginning of Genesis. The price that must be paid for sin, the wage for sin is death. If you sin, you deserve to be paid with death. Because God is Holy, our sin earns one thing; separation from him for eternity. And it is more than just our physical death, it is spiritual death. It is Spiritual exile, spiritual annihilation that goes on forever in Hell. If you want to pay for your own sin, you can. But the price is very high and very painful. Jesus knows exactly how high, because he paid the price, becoming sin and dying on the cross. He paid that death penalty, and when we put our faith in him, his payment is credited to us. He died the death we deserved.

This was the stumbling block for our friend in Boston. And so, presently, he is rejecting Christ as savior, and choosing to try and save himself. To him, it makes more sense to pay for his own sin. It’s a terrible option, and so we pray that The Holy Spirit will open his eyes to glory of the Gospel. We pray that what he presently finds disturbing about God’s grace would turn to amazement and gratitude. Because Jesus died for us, we don’t have to pay our own way.

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