Thursday, March 15, 2012

"Sins" in Good Standing...With God

I’m being somewhat facetious, of course, but I can see at least four activities listed in the Bible as being negative that if applied another way, are a definite positive in the life of a believer. See if you agree with me.

“But covet earnestly the best gifts…” (1Cor.12:31)

         The first sin, covetousness, is a breach of the last entry in God’s Decalogue of “don’ts” found in Exodus twenty. It is the precursor of many other sins and the basis for discontent that has ruined the lives of so many. Still, Paul, in the twelfth chapter of his first epistle to the Corinthians, where he lays out the operations of spiritual gifts in the Body of Christ, suggests that wanting the best of these would not be out of place at all. And, frankly, I would be glad indeed to posses the spiritual gift of being able to speak a word of wisdom or knowledge (12:8); or to be a woman of faith; or to posses the gift of spiritual healing (12:9), as well as others found in the next verse. I’m glad though that after giving us permission to “covet” any of these gifts, Paul tells us that when all is said and done, however, there is one spiritual grace that outshines them all. Then, as you know, he launches into his great treatise on love. And, yes, I covet that, too.  

“[T]hey have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints” (16:15).

         Let’s move on now to the second permissible sin, which comes from the pen of the same man, and in the same book. There are some people, Paul says, who just can’t get enough of ministering to others. I understand that like any addiction there are pitfalls even here; but frankly, although I question driving one’s body to the limit in any activity, I would rather see it done in ministry to others. Evidently, Paul thought so, too, since he spoke lovingly of the family he accused of this “addiction.” (As an aside, I’ll tell you that I’ve written the name of our daughter, Leah, next to this verse in my own Bible. She’s the worst “offender” I know when it comes to this addiction!)

“Mortify [kill] therefore your members which are upon the earth…” (Col. 3:5)

         Thirdly, I would submit to you that God does not always forbid murder. In fact, he commands it in Colossians. He goes on then to give us a list of gross sins of which the members of our bodies are capable. James says there is a virtual war going on in our members (James 4:1). If we took literally the admonition of Matthew 5:29-30 about offending a “member,” we’d end up “member-less!” Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:31, “…I die daily.” That’s the result of murder, right? He didn’t actually die, of course, but as far as sin’s claim of authority in his life, he was “dead to the world.” But this is one murder we have to commit ourselves; we can’t hire a hit man. We have to mortify (put to death) continually those inclinations in our members that lust against the Spirit of God.

“He that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster” (Prov. 18:9)

         Finally, although the Bible uses the word “waste” in most cases as the act of destruction, or allowing something to diminish, I would refer you to this verse in Proverbs and submit that “waste,” in the sense of squandering, is not something God is in favor of. Yet the woman in Mark fourteen, who was accused of wasting expensive ointment on Jesus, was praised—even memorialized—by the Son of God. There is, you see, no way on this earth to waste anything on Him. Waste implies using up something valuable for a lesser purpose. Spirit-initiated service or sacrifice to Jesus Christ is never wasted. It’s the least that we can do. It may bring criticism, as the woman in Mark found out, but it will gain us commendation from its worthy Recipient.

         There you have it; my little discourse on “sins” that God is highly in favor of. Would you agree they’re worthy of any good Christian? Well then, when you feel an urge to sin, choose one of these, and then go right ahead…have at it!

         “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might…” (Eccl. 9:10)

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