Tag Archives: sin
Those who drink, sleep;
whoever sleeps, doesn’t sin;
those who don’t sin, are holy;
therefore… those who drink are holy!
Mark 1 verses 40-45
One evening, the eight-year-old daughter of a single mum was very ill in bed with the flu. She was running a fever, and her mother was naturally very worried.
Her mother, realising that she was out of paracetamol, decided that she would take a chance on leaving the little girl for five minutes, to drive to the chemist before it closed.
She didn’t like leaving her youngster, but there seemed to be no alternative.
She managed to get to the chemist minutes before it shut, and bought the medication.
When she got outside the shop, she realised, to her horror, that she’d locked herself out of her car. And – worse – not only were the car keys inside, so were her house keys!
Panic! What could she do?
She could not get into the car. If she walked, she could not get into the house.
Time was getting on. Her daughter was in bed, and would soon wake and miss her mum.
Standing on the pavement, she prayed fervently to God to help her.
With that, round the corner ambled the most disreputable, shifty looking youth. She stopped him. “Can you help me, please?” she implored him. “Could you open that car door for me?”
“Nae bother, missus” she said, and within twenty seconds had magically released the lock and opened the door.
“Open sesame!” and with a flourish, gestured her toward the now open door.
“You’re an angel of mercy!” she said to him.
“No really, missus” he replied, I was just released from the jail this morning after six months for breaking into motor cars”
With that, the woman closed her eyes in prayer and said “Lord, thank you for sending me an expert!”
Jesus was the expert sent by God to release folk from all that shut them off from the whole and full life God wants for his children.
Jesus is the expert liberator who sets us free.
Many years ago, in the 1930s, there was a man who lived in London, who built up a thriving engineerimg business.
But his main interest was a Christian mission to the deprived areas of the East End. He was heavily involved in this outreach, and quickly developed into an expert preacher.
One day, his engineering job took him to one of the large railway works at Swindon where the
great locomotives were built.
After the manager had shown him around, and business had been concluded, he was escorted to the factory exit. There they shook hands.
Immediately, abruptedly, the visiting engineer pulled his hand away; the manager’s hand was unpleasantly cold and a bit slimy.
Quickly, he realised what a dreadful faux pas he had committed, and became embarrassed and flustered.
The manager looked at him and said, “Don’t worry. It happens often. You see, when I was an apprentice, I had an accident: a nail was driven through my right hand and I’ve never been able to close it since then.”
The visiting engineer stretched out his hand and gently laid it on the other man’s shoulder, and said……
……”many, many centuries ago, there was a young carpenter in a far off place called Nazareth. HE had a nail driven through HIS hand – and he too has never been able to close it since.”
Christ’s calloused hands, the hands of carpenter, were stretched out on the wood of the Cross, stretched out – almost in blessing……
And these rough, chapped hands of the expert – paradoxically gently and tenderly – have blessed, have comforted, have healed.
These broken hands have brought wholeness and freedom to so many.
Today’s Gospel story is about his healing a leper – a man with a dreaded skin disease, as our translation puts it. He freed that man from a life of misery. He liberated that man from being shut in on himself, and shut off from the rest of society.
Jesus is the expert who sets us free. Who unlocks the door to a better life.
And as has been said by many commentators on this passage, leprosy as compared to sin.
Sin is a kind of moral leprosy.
Sin, like leprosy, separates – it shuts us off from each other.
Like Leprosy, it is divisive – it breaks up families, friendships, community living.
Sin, like leprosy, breaks up satisfying living conditions, it catches on, it spreads.
But, think again of that story of the leper that we listened to. Jesus made him alive again, whole again. Jesus returned him to normality.
Healing or wholeness came through contact with Jesus Christ. If disease is contagious, so is Christ’s redeeming power. This is the Gospel!
Jesus is the expert healer, redeemer, and liberator. By grace, He frees us from our sins.
His are the hands of the Master
There is an old poem about the touch of the Master’s hand
It was battered and scarred,
And the auctioneer thought it
Hardly worth his while
To waste his time on the old violin,
But he held it up with a smile.
“What am I bid, good people”, he cried,
“Who starts the bidding for me?”
“One dollar, one dollar, Do I hear two?”
“Two dollars, who makes it three?”
“Three dollars once, three dollars twice, going for three”,
From the room far back a grey haired man
Came forward and picked up the bow,
Then wiping the dust from the old violin
And tightening up the strings,
He played a melody, pure and sweet,
As sweet as the angel sings.
The music ceased and the auctioneer
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said “What now am I bid for this old violin?”
As he held it aloft with its’ bow.
“One thousand, one thousand, Do I hear two?”
“Two thousand, Who makes it three?”
“Three thousand once, three thousand twice,
Going and gone”, said he.
The audience cheered,
But some of them cried,
“We just don’t understand.”
“What changed its’ worth?”
Swift came the reply.
“The Touch of the Masters Hand.”
“The Master’s Hand” was written by Myra Brooks Welch, a lady who was a gifted musician – until severe arthritis affected her
There she was confined to her wheelchair, battered and scarred from her illness, which had taken away her ability to make music. Instead, her musical soul spoke through her poetry.
She took one pencil in each of her badly deformed hands. Using the rubber tip, she would slowly type the words, the joy of them outweighing the pain of her efforts.
Her words, a joyous expression of the wonders of life, as seen by a singing soul that was touched by the Master’s Hand
We may not be experts, but if we allow the hands of Christ to metaphorically touch us, we as a result can be HIS hands – comforting, encouraging, guiding, soothing, becalming…… not necessarily bringing about actual healing…… but perhaps restoring something of the brokenness of others, and bringing about wholeness and peace.
Question: Tattoos and Christians – Should Christians Have Tattoos?
What does the Bible say about tattoos? Is it a sin to get a tattoo?
Besides looking into what the Bible says about tattoos, together we’ll consider the concerns surrounding tattooing today and present a self quiz to help you decide if getting a tattoo is right or wrong.
Answer: The answer, I believe, is yes and no.
To Tattoo or Not To?
This is a question many Christians struggle with. I believe tattooing falls into the category of “disputable matters” where the Bible is not clear. But wait a minute, you might be thinking. The Bible says in Leviticus 19:28, “Do not cut your bodies for the dead, and do not mark your skin with tattoos. I am the Lord.” (NLT) How much clearer can that be?
It’s important, however, to look at the verse in context. This passage in Leviticus, including the surrounding text, is specifically dealing with the pagan religious rituals of the people living around the Israelites. God’s desire is to set his people apart from other cultures. The focus here is prohibiting worldly, heathen worship and witchcraft. God forbids his holy people to engage in idolatrous, pagan worship and sorcery which imitates the heathens. He does this out of protection, because he knows this will lead them away from the one true God.
It’s interesting to observe verse 26, “Do not eat meat that has not been drained of its blood,” and verse 27, “Do not trim off the hair on your temples or trim your beards.” Well, certainly many Christians today eat non-kosher meats and get haircuts without participating in the forbidden worship of pagans. Back then these customs were associated with pagan rites and rituals. Today they are not.
So, the important question remains, is getting a tattoo a form of pagan, worldly worship still forbidden by God today? My answer is, this matter is disputable, and should be treated as a Romans 14 issue.
If you are considering the question, “To tattoo or not to?” I think the more serious questions to ask yourself are: What are my motives for wanting a tattoo? Am I seeking to glorify God or draw attention to myself? Will my tattoo be a source of contention for my loved ones? Will getting a tattoo cause me to disobey my parents? Will my tattoo cause someone who is weak in the faith to stumble?
In my article, “What to Do When the Bible is Not Clear,” we discover that God has given us a means to judge our motives and weigh our decisions. Romans 14:23 states, “…everything that does not come from faith is sin.” Now that’s pretty clear!
Instead of asking, “Is it okay for a Christian to get a tattoo,” perhaps a better question might be, “Is it okay for me to get a tattoo?”
Since tattooing is such a controversial issue today, I think it’s important to examine your heart and your motives before you make the decision.
Self Exam – To Tattoo or Not To?
Here is a self-exam based on the ideas put forth in Romans 14. These questions will help you decide whether or not getting a tattoo is a sin for you:
How does my heart and my conscience convict me? Do I have freedom in Christ and a clear conscience before the Lord regarding the decision to get a tattoo?
Am I passing judgment on a brother or sister because I don’t have freedom in Christ to receive a tattoo?
Will I still want this tattoo years from now?
Will my parents and family approve, and/or will my future spouse want me to have this tattoo?
Will I cause a weaker brother to stumble if I receive a tattoo?
Is my decision based on faith and will the result be glorifying to God?
Ultimately, the decision is between you and God. Though it may not be a black and white issue, there is a right choice for each individual. Take some time to honestly answer these questions and the Lord will show you what to do.
• Consider the pros and cons of tattooing with Christian Teens Guide Kelly Mahoney.
• Take an in-depth look at Tattoos and the Bible by Pastor Chuck Gerwig.
• Examine a biblical view of the question, Is Getting a Tattoo a Sin? by Robin Schumacher.
• Consider a Jewish perspective on tattoos.
• See what some Christian music artists say about tattooing.
A Few More Things to Consider
There are serious health risks involved with getting a tattoo:
• Possible Tattoo Diseases & Reactions
• Tattoo Health Risks
Lastly, tattoos are permanent. Be sure to consider the possibility that you could regret your decision in the future. Although removal is possible, it is more expensive
John Shelby Spong, retired Episcopal bishop from Newark, N.J., talks about why Christianity must change its view of hell
“Religion is always in the control business .. our problem is not that we are born in sin. Our problem is that we do not yet know how to achieve being fully human” Bishop Jack Spong.
The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, has condemned the advance of marriage equality in the West, calling it a symptom of the apocalypse.
While giving a sermon in Red Square’s Kazan Cathedral today, Patriarch Kirill said of the growing number of countries accepting same-sex marriage around the globe: “This is a very dangerous and apocalyptic symptom… It means that people are on the path of self-destruction.”
While some countries debate extending marriage rights to same-sex couples, Russia has recently enacted a law banning “propaganda of non-traditional relations”. The law has caused concern among the LGBT community, and activists say it has already encouraged homophobia and will continue to do so while it stands.
The Russian Orthodox Church has been a key supporter of the law, and Patriarch Kirill has maintained the Church’s view that homosexuality is a sin – although he has cautioned against punishing people for their sexuality.
Although he reiterated that the majority of religions saw homosexuality as a sin and gay marriage could not be allowed, he added: “Those who commit a sin must not be punished… And we have repeatedly spoken out against discriminating people for their nontraditional sexual orientation.”
In January 2008, Kirill, who was then head of the Moscow Patriarchate department for external church relations, said that not viewing homosexuality as a sin would lead to a variety of other sexual perversions.
“Morality is either absolute or it does not exist. If you excuse homosexuality, why not excuse paedophilia?” he said in an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegal.