On the bus route that I drive this summer, I pass a church that sometimes has interesting messages on their sign out front. The current message reads, "Son screen prevents sin burn." Really? Comparing the Son of God to junk that people put on their skin so they can spend time in the sun? Not only is the message degrading to our Savior, it's just plain cheesy.
The other problem with the message is that it seems to be denying the existence and effects of sin in the life of the believer. That evidently is a popular way of thinking and preaching these days. I have read and heard that because of God's grace in Jesus, we are no longer under the law, therefore there is no sin for those who are in God's grace. The reasoning goes that since sin is the breaking of law, and we are no longer under law, there is no law for us to break. No sin. The biggest problem I see is that this is contrary to the entire context of the New Testament. We are not under the Law of Moses and all that went along with it. That law can never make us right with God. No regulations or human effort can make God be pleased with us. That only comes through God's grace in Jesus' blood shed on the cross.
But, we are under law. *gasp* We are under the law of love. Jesus said that the greatest commandments were to love God with everything we are, and love our neighbor as ourselves. Those cover everything. I believe Jesus took the command to love our neighbor a step further when he told us to love each other as he loved us. That means laying down our lives for others. Now, we keep the commands to love because God has loved us and not to try and earn his favor, but because we are not perfect and there is still the presence of sin in us, we sometimes fail. Anything we do or say that does not show love to God or to those around us is a violation of the law of love, and is sin. This sin does not change our relationship to our Father, although it may cause us to feel distant for a time. The violations of the command to love others can and do burn. They burn those we are in close relationship with and they burn those who are looking at those of us who say we are following Jesus. They also burn our own consciences, at least they should. Jesus said that the world would know we are his by our love for one another. When we fail to love, the world has good reason to wonder if it's really worth it to give it all up to follow Christ. That burns the cause of the Kingdom.
We are all guilty of burning others with a lack of love. I know I am. Even though we belong to the Son, sin still rears it's ugly head from time-to-time. May we grow in our love for God and for those around us.