KNOWING GOD IN HIS GLORY
It is not better to have sinned
Jerry A Collins
® Does God take sin seriously?
® How can I expect God to respond to sin in my life?
® Is it better to have sinned and been delivered or not sin?
One of the motivations for our sinning is birthed from the concept that if we disobey we think we will somehow be better off than if we obey. The decision to obey or disobey is often a factor of pain. If the perceived pain of obedience is higher than disobedience then you disobey and vice versa. Before beginning a flight you do not struggle with the attendant over wearing a seat belt. Itís benefit is apparent to you. Most laws seem reasonable and you have no problem obeying them. The true test of obedience however comes when you, like the Lord Jesus in Gethsemane, face one of Godís commands you do not want to obey. How do we decide whether you are going to obey or not? The answer usually pivots on your perception of the pain involved with the choice. You do not want to obey because in some form there is pain involved physical, mental, time, relational. Weighing the options, you live your life believing that within limits you can disobey authority, whether Gods or anothers, without suffering negative consequences. It may be because of the minimum risk of getting caught of that the potential price is not that high. Even though you may be smart enough to disobey earthly, temporal authority, and you are, you are not clever enough to avoid spiritual and eternal consequences. Actually, the price of disobedience is higher than the price of obedience! If not here in this world, for sure in the eternal and with an omniscient, omnipresent God who will call you to account in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ (Romans 2:16). It is never better to have sinned. When we use someone who has sinned as a testimony about avoiding the sin they have repented of, it usually means learning the lesson of avoiding the consequences they have had to deal with because of their sin. That is not the kind of testimony a person has who has not sinned that way!
Ezekiel becomes Godís drama lesson to His people about this very thing. Ezekiel is Gods watchman responsible to sound the alarm about his peoples disobedience. The only testimony they are going to have is a sinners testimony about the consequences of their sin! Chps 4-24 are the watchmanís cry to this nation. In 4-11 we will see the need for judgment because of disobedience. In 12-19 the watchman will attack the futility of the peoples false optimism about their sin. In 20-24 the watchman places their disobedience and future judgment in perspective by reviewing their 900 plus years of disobedience and corruption as Gods people! In 4-11 the need for judgment is divided between 4 signs of judgment 4-5:4, then 2 sermons of judgment chaps. 5-7, finally 4 visions of judgment chaps. 8-11. Since Ezekiel is confined to his house and mute (3:24-26) God uses Ezekiel as an object lesson for the people arouse interest by the use of objects and actions about the consequences coming because of disobedience!
1. SIN RAISES A BARRIER BETWEEN YOU AND GOD
Ezekiel built a model of the siege of Jerusalem with enemy siege works, an earth ramp, camps of soldiers around the city and battering rams much like a small boy uses toy soldiers and models of tanks and building to play war today. With the outline of Jerusalem recognizable on the model the people would comprehend his intent. The iron plate between himself and the model city was a sign to the people of what God would do to the real Jerusalem. This drama represents Gods determined hostility against Jerusalem, the barrier of sin that they had raised between themselves and God. He probably did this just outside of his house. God is perfect holiness separate from anything evil and when you sin against Him separation results. This the Bible calls spiritual death. Sin separates, it always has it always will. Two men are in a partnership where one steals from the other. The result is separation. When a friend has lied to you an environment of alienation results. Because of Adams sin you were born dead in your sin. In Christ, your converted made spiritually alive. The only death left for you is physical. Although death is separation not all separation is death. As a child of God when you sin you do not spiritually die but you are separated from the Lord. You cannot be knowingly disobedient to Jesus and experience fellowship with him. Your prayer for forgiveness, after salvation, is not to be saved again, but for restoring the relationship. Your sin has separated you from Him and you must repent for restoration. So this first sign is a simple† object lesson of what will be described in detail. The successful Xian life is to live a repentant lifestyle. It does not matter where you are in your walk with God you never grow out of the need to repent. No barrier Christianity.
2. THE FAILURE TO REPENT CARRIES WITH IT JUDGMENT.
By lying on his left side, probably not all day since activity of vss 9-17 requires other actions Ezekiel was to do in this time, illustrated the sin of the Northern kingdom, Israel, over 200 yrs, 19 kings and all bad. When lying on right side the sin of the Southern Kingdom, Judah, 19 kings 1 queen, some good, some bad over 300 yrs. These numbers may represent the days corresponding to the years of their sin and signify the length of the siege of Jerusalem by Nebachadnezzar and Babylon. God would restrain Ezekiels movements during the times of this drama as though ropes bound him in position there. Gods judgment is inevitable. John the Baptist when prophesying to Israel 500 yrs later said Ďrepent for the kingdom of God is at hand...even now the axe is laid to the root of the tree;; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire (MT 3:2, 10). Notice that John carefully articulates judgment. The Axe sits at the root of the tree perhaps having already been imbedded making judgment absolute. Mere acknowledgment of your sin is not enough. You must be willing to change. If you believe Gods wrath is directed at you and you want Gods grace, then the fruit of repentance forthcoming. As long as you sin you need to repent. Never deceive self into believing that because you are a child of God you no longer need to repent.
3. JUDGMENT COMES IN THE FORM OF THE CONSEQUENCES MY SIN PRODUCES
This third sign of unclean food, scarce food, rations and excrement show the pollution and defilement of the people in Gods eyes as well as the severity of the siege they will experience. This form of† judgment is what the Law taught would result from their neglect of their relationship with God (Deut 28 & 30:15-20). There is a law of the harvest be not deceived God is not mocked for whatever a man sows that shall he also reap (Gal 6:7). For example, if your obese you can expect to have heart and blood pressure problems. If unbelief you cannot please God. These are inevitable consequences consistent with what the Bible says we will sow when we reap. Men may reap in this life but there is no guarantee. But the law of the harvest guarantees there are eternal consequences for temporal behavior in our lives and that those consequences are both apparent and appreciable. You will carry into eternity the product of your investment in this life. Life is too short the stakes too high to live mediocre lives.
4. NO REPENTANCE NO FORGIVENESS
This fourth sign of burning, chopping, scattering hair indicate 2 of 3 will be killed & 1/3 scattered† and even remnant would be oppressed. Here are people facing no forgiveness since there is no repentance. Ever think about not being able to be forgiven? God does not forgive unrepentant sin. Sin in final analysis is opposition to God. You can only be forgiven if you acknowledge your guilt before God and God knows your heart. It is never better to have sinned!