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June 23, 2010

The Sinner – Sin Dynamic

by Rev. A. J. Iovine

There is one major aspect about the life of our Lord Jesus Christ that modern society has tended to forget — while Jesus was a friend of sinners, he wasn’t in favor of sin. He told the sinner to “go and sin no more,” a bold statement that many clergy people today are either afraid of saying because they fear they will alienate members of their church or too weak kneed to preach boldly.

At the heart of this understanding of sin and the sinner is the true understanding of Law and Gospel.

Modern day theologians who stand in pulpits tend to blend the two together, not fully distinguishing the two. Gospel can easily become Law while at the same time, the Law can override the true understanding of the Gospel. In no place else is this seen as clearly than in the sin-sinner dynamic.

Jesus was not a friend of sin. He abhorred it. Within every fiber of His holy, innocent body, the God-man knew that is was sin and sin alone that kept the Creation made through Him from being close to Him, the Father, and the Holy Spirit. Sin that sang a loud song whenever one of God’s creation rejected Him for something of the world was never a friend of God. This sin filled the creation and the sinner rejected God.

So God came to rescue the sinner from sin and to crush the head of Satan, the father of sin and destruction.

And when Jesus preached this rescue, this salvation, this love of God beyond any human understanding, Jesus would never mince words. He boldly spoke of the need for God’s healed Creation to live lives according to God, not by the sinfulness engulfing the world. And when He condemned the sin, He did so without fear for that is what a good preacher does — He lays out the Law to God’s children.

In my opinion, Jesus wouldn’t have made it so well in our day because society has evolved (or is de-volved?) into a politically correct mass of fear and sin. The culture preaches that we should let the sinner do what their sinful bodies want and no one can say anything different. More and more, even within the Church, this disgraceful fear takes hold of preachers and laity, letting the sinful feel good as they spit in the eye of Christ.

But Jesus wouldn’t remain silent. He opened his mouth and vigorously pounced on the sinful world.

The courage of our Lord Jesus Christ needs to be on display by God’s undershepherds, those whom He called into the harvest field to serve. If we can’t stand and call a sin a sin, then what good are we?

Yet, in this sinful condemnation, our Lord Jesus Christ showed the blessedness of the Gospel, in His life and His actions at the cross of Calvary where He gave up His life for us as His body was broken and His blood shed to pay our sin debt to the Father. He did all the good on our behalf, and we realize the glorious fruits of this work as our Father through His Holy Spirit builds faith in this Lord Jesus and grants us forgiveness of sins, peace, and salvation solely by this faith.

The Good News is only Good News when we understand why it is Good News. It is about God saving His people. It is about God’s love, pure and simple.

And that is the balance of the Law and Gospel in the life of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.


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