“Why does God allow sin?” “Why does sin separate us from God?”
These are two common questions that people struggle with as they try to reconcile a loving God with a fallen world, filled with sin and selfishness and evil. We could explore this topic in several ways. One approach would be to conduct a detailed Bible study and try to explain verse by verse. That is actually an excellent exercise for these topics and I have done that before. I encourage each of you to do the same. As a starting foundation, we should explain that sin refers to “missing the mark”, or falling short of doing things God’s way. We sin when we do things our way instead of God’s way.
For today, let us approach it in parable format as Jesus did many times throughout His ministry to help people more plainly understand key principles on terms they are familiar with.
There was a man who wanted a dog. To begin with, he thought about how easy it would be if only he could find one that would obey perfectly and not create any trouble for him. He found a robotic dog. At first the robotic dog seemed interesting but his interest soon fell. It was not satisfying. It did everything just as it was directed. It had perfect obedience but no free will. It did not obey because it loved the master, it simply obeyed because it could do nothing else. The master soon tired of the toy, it could not love him. There was no satisfaction in it, no real relationship.
Next the man purchased two puppies. Both puppies inherently did not understand the rules of the house at first. In fact, left to their own devices they were quite destructive… constantly chewing things that should not be chewed and “pottying” where they should not. Neither obeyed their master. He quickly found that their disobedient behavior necessarily created a need for separation from Him, even though He loved them so he placed them outside in his yard. He knew that left on their own, they would never learn correct behavior…they were unable to teach themselves. He loved them so he worked tirelessly to train them daily. He yearned to find a way to remove the separation between the dogs outside and himself in the house. Over time, one puppy learned to obey. It followed the rules and did what the master asked. The master rejoiced and brought that puppy inside the house where it was constantly with him and their relationship thrived. The puppy had learned to obey and to show love for the master and thus was brought into closer relationship with the master. The second puppy refused to obey. It rebelled against the master, even growling at him or trying to bite him. He still loved the second dog, but the dog’s behavior continued to create a need for separation from the master. The master tried tirelessly and yearned for the second dog to submit and obey so they could be closer, but it refused.
Whose fault is it that the second dog remained separated from the master? Was it the master because he set rules forth to determine what is good and bad? or the dog’s because it continued to refuse the master and instead chose to do what is bad?
The master is God. The robot dog represents why He gave us a free will… so their could be love… so we could choose Him. Which of us would choose to love a computer that does all we ask because it must? Which of us love others even when they choose to disobey or do harm to us at times? The first real dog is the wise person that hears the master’s voice, listens and obeys… doing things the master’s way. The second real dog represents those who remain in rebellion to God…creating by their actions a need for separation from Him. The master yearned for the second dog to “repent” and had made a way for it to be in relationship with him, but the dog refused. How foolish to blame the master for the separation caused by sin.
To think of it another way… let us consider our wonderful dessert, pick your favorite, but for this story we will call it a piece of chocolate cake. We know exactly what we want in this cake, and may even have a strong desire to enjoy it. What now, if I told you that the cake has small amount of poop in it? Do you still want the cake? It is only a small amount of contaminant. Of course we don’t want it! So it is with God when we sin. He wants to be near to us, but even a little sin is ugly and can contaminate the whole such that we can not choose to enjoy it and be close. It makes no more sense for us to insist that God should be close to those who reject Him and His commands than to insist that we would want to eat the contaminated dessert.
I know that these are perhaps simple examples, but we should not put the emphasis on blaming God that we can not be close to Him when we live in sin, rejecting His commands. Instead, we should put the emphasis on ourselves and our behavior and attitudes as the cause of separation from God. Come humbly before Jesus Christ, ask forgiveness, change our behaviors to be more like His commands as best we can. He will help! Submit our lives to be more like Jesus and He will cleanse us of our sins by way of His death on the cross. We are a new creation in Christ and can be reconciled to the Master and dwell closely with Him in this life and again in Heaven after we die. Praise God that He made a way to make us clean!
17Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 18Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
In what areas is God speaking to you that you need to make changes in your life to obey His commands rather than rebelling against them? What steps can you take even this week to start moving closer to God in obedience to His word?
Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? If you die today, do you know for sure that you would be with God in heaven? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.