I find it very sad that so many have tried to change the definition of Biblical sin. According to God’s Word – the Bible – sin is a transgression of God’s law. Sin is failure to measure up to God’s glory; His requirements of the law. Nowadays, we hear things like, “Sin is whatever keeps me from achieving my personal goals”; or “Sin is when somebody else does me wrong”. So there is a wrong? Who determines what is wrong or right? You? There is one absolute gauge for what is right and wrong; and that is God and His Word.
If God says it was a sin in the Old Testament; it is still a sin in the New Testament; and today. When I say that I am not speaking of Old Testament rituals, sacrifices, and offerings; but the moral issues having to do with the way we live our lives.
The reading this morning is finishing the prophet Isaiah chapters 64 – 66 and Jeremiah 1 – 10.
Isaiah ends the messages of his prophetic writings with wonderful words of a great and glorious future for Israel, and the world; for those who will trust and believe in the LORD.
Jeremiah begins his prophecy telling about his calling as a young man, his short debate with God about his inability to speak, and God’s promise to hasten to perform His word (1:12). Jeremiah is told by God,
“Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them.” Jeremiah 1:17 (KJB)
The prophet of God, or the preacher of God cannot afford to preach to appease the people, for fear of retribution from them. He must preach what God declares unto him. The prophecy of Jeremiah, like Isaiah is not all “doom and gloom”; there is also much promise and hope. The first hope is that God is giving the people a chance to repent and change their ways; but they will not. They are in love with their sins, and thus Jeremiah tells them,
“Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that My fear is not in thee,’ saith the Lord GOD of Hosts.” 2:19
The children of Israel/Judah have chosen their own way and will go into captivity because of it. They have forsaken the LORD God and turned to the idols of foreign nations. They have even gone so far as to think that because the Temple is in Jerusalem then they are safe from destruction and captivity, but the prophet says to them –
“The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, ‘Stand in the gate of the LORD’S house, and proclaim there this word, and say, ‘Hear the word of the LORD, all ye of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the LORD. ‘Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place. Trust ye not in lying words, saying, ‘The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, are these.’” 7:1-4
It could justly and rightly be said that what the children of Israel were practicing was plain ole hypocrisy. Sure to “worship” the LORD on the sabbath day, but practicing the behaviors of foreign gods the other six days. God created the heavens and the earth. He does not need a defiled place or people to worship Him.
Our hearts today should be like that of Jeremiah weeping for the people; why he is often called “The weeping prophet” –
“Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!” 9:1
We must be sure that our own sins are gone, cleansed, forgiven, and that we are walking with GOD daily. Every moment of each day we need to be dependent upon the LORD God. He is our Creator, our Strength, our Hope, and without Him we are nothing. Weep for our own sins, and for the sins of those who perish; and pray for their redemption through the cross and blood of Jesus Christ our Lord.