I Didn’t Know It Was Wrong… until now

FOXNews.com ran a quick snippet of a UK marriage which was annulled after two (obviously fraternal) twins which had been separated at birth managed to meet, fall in love and get married. Not only does this qualify for the “eww! ick!” category, it raises some interesting questions. If God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16) what about this? After all it’s an abomination to have sexual relations with a close relative (Leviticus 18:6-9, 24-28). As soon as this unhappy couple discovered (no news on how that revelation came about) that they were bro and sis they separated.

I’m not laboring under the presupposition that these folks have committed some unpardonable sin. In fact I would say they have acted righteously by taking corrective action as soon as they became aware of their blood relationship.

This of course leads to a personal question: what happens when you suddenly become aware that you’ve been sinning? When you see your right hand offends, do you cut it off? Leviticus 4:13-14 indicates that God expects corrective action as soon as we become aware of sin. In that context it’s the whole community but the principle remains and is alluded to elsewhere in Leviticus. Holiness matters to God. When we discover that we’ve broken that expectation it is time to take corrective action.

God expects two responses from us when we discover we’ve broken his law. Repentance and confession.

Repentance requires changing. In the above example it means separating from a sinful relationship. I’ve never had to talk to anyone in this particular situation but it’s no stretch in today’s world to have to talk to people who aren’t married but who are involved sexually. Repentance means moving out, and stopping the sexual relationship. A thief must stop stealing and start contributing (Eph 4:28). Repentance. Without repentance there is no forgiveness.

Second God expects confession. Confession in the strictest sense means agreeing with God. Now honestly I find it a little hard to draw a line between repentance and confession, in my eyes they are two sides of the same coin. I don’t see how you can have one without the other. Agreeing with God that stealing (even office supplies) is a sin against him and stopping the stealing leads to God’s forgiveness.

Old testament saints expected to make a blood offering for forgiveness when they discovered their guilt. God in his grace has provided the final and most complete offering in Jesus Christ. The death of Jesus Christ fulfills one of the most fundamental “rules” of holiness. ALL sin caries the death penalty. Someone has to die for sin. By rights that means I am supposed to die for my own sin. But God also permits a substitution to take place.

In the Levitical sacrifice system when someone brought a sin offering of a lamb (or any other animal) they would lay their hands on it as a means of symbolically saying, “I deserve to die and I am transfering my guilt to this animal.” Whereupon the animal was slain and atonement or a covering over of the sin was made.

But the multiple millions of animal sacrifices over the years was incapable of completely removing sin. What it did however was to foreshadow what God was planning to do, and ultimately did in Jesus Christ. When God’s son Jesus died on a Roman cross he was innocent of any sin at all. But God made it so that the death of innocent Jesus could become a substitute for guilty me and you.

This is what is meant by “coming to Jesus’ It means turning away from your own sin, confessing them to God and accepting from God the sacrifice of Jesus in place of your own death for sin. It is the miracle of what Theologians call the “substitutionary atonement”.

Let today be the day of new beginning. If there is sin in your life, cut it out. Confess it and by simply believing – accept the sacrifice of Christ in the place of your own death.