- - Endorsed
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|The Nashville Statement
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
My complete profile...
Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
- Marc Heinrich
His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
- Rose Cole
[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
This post contains nothing that is of any use to me. What were you thinking? Anyway, it's probably the best I've read all day.
- David Kjos
Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
- Jonathan Moorhead
There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
- Carla Rolfe
| What Is The Greater Sin? Murder? Rape?
|Every now and again the question comes up: which sin is the most sinful sin of all sins? Is it murder? Is it rape? It's not a pleasant meditation. Men like Hitler and Stalin, and the men who carried out their orders certainly stand at the top of the list for crimes against humanity. But most of us aren't going to be responsible for the death of thousands or millions of otherwise innocent people.
Although this post isn't about abortion, I can't help but to mention that the Law of Moses isn't as indifferent to the death of unborn children as our current society is:
“If men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she gives birth prematurely, yet there is no injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman’s husband may demand of him, and he shall pay as the judges decide. But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise."
Pro-abortion interpreters (unsurprisingly) argue that the further injury mentioned in this text refers to further injury to the mother. I think you'd have to really want to see that (and they do), in order to believe it. But Exodus 21 includes clarifications for a variety of exceptional situations - this being one of them. What makes an assault against a pregnant woman exceptional - or rather what makes interpreting the consequences difficult - is not, "was the mom injured" - it is "what do we do if the baby is injured when the mom is assaulted".
- Exodus 21:22-25 [NASB]
Anyone who doesn't see that is willfully blind.
There is no difference in God's eyes - if you intentionally kill an unborn child, you are a murderer. For (bible believing) Christians, it doesn't matter what our culture thinks about abortion - it matters what God thinks about the murdering of children.
So while you may not be a mass murderer like Hitler and Stalin or any of their cronies, if you support abortion, you're supporting an industry that has murdered more innocent people than Hitler and Stalin combined, many times over.
Comparisons to Hitler and Stalin abound these days, but I do not bring them up to be trendy. When I ponder what most of us think of as the greatest evils in the world, those names come up. And if I ask what can compare to the magnitude of these atrocities? The only contender is death by abortions. Though it isn't really a contest since abortions (in the US alone) outnumber all the murders committed under Stalin, Hitler.... and even all the lives (civilian and military) lost in World War I .. combined.
It's easy to condemn the Hitlers and Stalins of this world, but if abortion is murder, then the seven supreme court justices who awarded Roe the victory, are even worse.
I personally can't imagine any worse sin that opening the floodgates to the murdering of unborn children. Maybe you disagree - maybe you think it was Stalin, or Hitler, or maybe you think it's the people in "the other political party" or their leader, or old leaders, or next leader.
The bible however doesn't gauge the greatest evil in terms of damage done to one another. It gauges it in terms of the greatest commandment. The greatest evil under heaven is to disobey the greatest commandment given by God.
The greatest commandment is not thou shalt not murder, or thou shalt not rape. The greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.
Elihu (in the book of Job) says:
“If you have sinned, what do you accomplish against Him? And if your transgressions are many, what do you do to Him? If you are righteous, what do you give to Him, Or what does He receive from your hand? Your wickedness is for a man like yourself, And your righteousness is for a son of man."
Neither our disobedience, nor our obedience affects God. God is not diminished by our disobedience, nor increased by our obedience. He gains nothing and loses nothing. So why is He concerned about us? The psalmist asks:
- Job 35:6-8 [NASB]
O Lord, what is man, that You take knowledge of him? Or the son of man, that You think of him? Man is like a mere breath; His days are like a passing shadow.
Why does God require obedience from us if our obedience provides nothing for Him? If our obedience and disobedience have no effect on God, then why does God demand obedience?
- Psalm 144:3-4 [NASB]
Consider what God requires us to do: First and foremost we are to love Him. Don't confuse "love" for an emotion or an affection. Love certainly provokes worldly affections and emotions - but these are not love. I'm tempted to say that love is "selflessness" - but rather it is selfless service.
If you love God, you will serve God. But God is a God of unending, selfless service. He is holding the universe together right now, that we might live. He is the provider of saints and sinners both - the sun falls on the just and the unjust, even as the rain in it's season. He does not do this to make Himself feel better. He does this because it is His nature to serve others. The only way to serve God is to do what God does - to serve others. We serve God in serving others - depending upon God to look after our needs, even as we look after the needs of others.
The greatest sin then is to fail to love God with all your being. Failing to love God, always comes hand in hand with failing to serve others. We are so busy serving our self - trying to get ourselves together, trying to fix our spiritual peccadilloes. We "repent" of lesser sins, but who repents of failing to love God with all their heart, mind, soul, and strength? We are careful to only cross the street on the light, and keep ourselves from cussing (most of the time). But this is like tithing mint and rue, and setting aside the greater things - like justice.
The justice I'm talking about is the just service each on of us should be offering to God - in the service of one another. To stop fixating on our own needs and wants, and to serve others even to our own detriment.
Listen: God's concern is that we serve (love) one another (as opposed to serving (loving) ourselves). If we serve (love) God, we will do what God does. A servant is like his Master, he sets his heart on the work his master is doing. Eve was given to Adam, as a helper, to help Adam. The bride of Christ - the church - has been called to do the work of God - which summarized in serving God and His interests. God selflessly serves others, and calls us to do the same first in serving Him, and then through that service - in serving those whom God serves (loves) daily - the people in this world.
The greatest evil is to set aside the greatest command. Murder and rape are horrible atrocities, but they only happen when you failure to obey the greatest commandment. Those who draw near to God, do so by way of entering into God's work - the work of selfless service to others. It is through this humility that we come to know God, through putting our hands to that plow, and no other.
Murder and rape are bad. I don't suggest that they are trifling or trivial. No one in this world is far from some violence or other. We all will experience it to one degree or another, and these two sins in particular always produce a devastating effect where they find purchase. I do not make light of this in describing the greatest sin. These horrible things are the end result of not loving (serving) God. It is impossible to intentionally hurt another person while serving God with all your heart. It is impossible to selflessly Murder or Rape someone. It is impossible to selflessly be greedy or jealous. It is impossible to love God and love the things in this world at the same time. In any moment, you are either loving (serving) your own pleasure, or you are loving (serving) God.
So to obey that first and greatest commandment is to obey all the commandments.
The mistake a lot of people make when they become Christians, is to attack their sins piecemeal. They quit swearing, they quit jaywalking, they stop watching sleaze on television (mostly). But they do all these things in a vacuum They do these to placate their guilt - they want to feel accepted by God, and so they find things in their lives that God says not to do, and they do their best to suppress themselves in order to please God. it can take years, or even decades (if at all) for them to realize that they've missed the point. They want to make sure they are real Christians by doing all the things that real Christians ought to do. But Jesus served God by serving others instead of himself. That is the simple thing we are called to do - simple, but not easy.
It begins with accepting God's rule in our life (ie. repentance), and continues as a daily pursuit to serve one another faithfully - a pursuit that cannot succeed without the mortifying of our own selfish pursuits. Paul said it this way:
For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death works in us, but life in you.
It just means that being a Christian is about not living your life for yourself, but for others. This is contrary to our default behavior, so we must be intentional in doing it. We must actively deny ourselves (stop living selfishly) and serve others (start living selfishly) - because that is the work that God is doing in the world. God does not serve Himself - He has no needs that need to be filled. He serves others - and those who truly serve God, will learn to serve others also - and to stop serving their own sinful desires.
- 2 Corinthians 4:11-12 [NASB]
posted by Daniel @
Excellent post!! And I love that you include the scriptural references as well as the the text of the reference too. I've been lacking inspiration lately, with one exception. I really love writing but can't unless I have inspiration. And my writer's block was like a brick wall. I prayed that The Lord would give me the words to write, and He gave me a poem. My mum's an author and God also has been giving her a book to write. This is her first book, it's fully written now but she's finding the publication process through an agent more complicated than expected initially. But she's working on that.