Pastor Choi continues his series on basic beliefs of Christian faith: Christ paid the penalty of our sins–this proves God’s love for us all!
Also, following is the sermon script in its entirety.
Title: What We Believe (2)
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
8 But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.
Imagine this: you want to hang a nice picture on the wall. You need a tool to do that. So, you bring in a hammer and a nail. You choose a spot that seems perfect for the picture. You put the nail in and hang the picture frame. When you are done, you step back to see if it looks alright. Then, you realize that you made a mistake. It was hung too low and too far to the right. You need to move the picture up a little bit and about a foot to the left. Well, what you do? You need to pull the nail out, right? When you do, there’s a hole on the wall now. You made the hole on the wall. You realize that next time, you want to measure twice before you start hammering.
If the hammering of the nail on the wall is the act of sin, then the hole, the nail mark on the wall, is the consequences of our sin. We regret what we’ve done and later pull the nail out, yet there is still the mark on the wall. We live with the consequences of our sin. We reap what we sow. We cannot harvest corn from soy beans. We harvest soy beans only if we planted soy beans. We harvest corn only when we planted corn. We reap what we sow. That’s a spiritual law.
Wages of sin:
Same with the sin: When we commit a sin either against God or against people, we always harvest the consequences of our iniquities.
Recap of sin: anything that violates any of God’s commandments either against God or against people.
There are always consequences of our sin. The Bible calls the consequences of sin the wages of sin (Romans 6:23). And, the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). In fact, the same Bible explains that’s how the physical death came into our lives after our forefathers have sinned against God. E.g. Adam and Eve’s disobedience—eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge, not apple.
Some of us wonder how and when we pay the wages of our sin. The Bible says that we pay the wages of sin when we die (Heb. 9:27) Hebrews 9:27 “And just as it is appointed for mortals to die once, and after that the judgment”(NRSV)
God of Justice and God of Mercy:
Let’s face it. It is we who made a bad choice to sin, and therefore, it is we who should pay the wages of sin through our own death. However, our God, the God of love, loves us so much that He wanted to spare us from the judgment. So, He came up with a solution for our sin problems. Particularly, the end result, the consequences of sin, and the wages of sin: who’s going to pay for the wages of sin.
His plan: let someone else take care of that so that we may go free. And, who was that individual of God’s choice? It was Jesus known as the Christ or the Messiah. E.g. story of a king and his son who had a bad habit of stealing. Even though everyone else in the palace knew about it, none dared to tell the king. One day, the prince was caught again red-handed by one of the king’s servants. This time it was different, though. The servant was a new hire but a man of integrity and he wanted to stop this problem. So, he reported to the king. Soon the prince was summoned. The king asked his son if it was true that he stole someone’s property. The prince said yes. The dilemma king faced was: to uphold the law and to spare the prince. Then, the king ordered the executioner to bring in the sword to cut the hand of the perpetrator (it was the law of the kingdom)….. In the end, to make the long story short, the king both kept the law and saved the perpetrator.
Same way, it was God’s solution for the wages of our sin: let the sinless pay the wages of sin for the sinful once and for all. That’s why Christ went to the cross. To pay the wages of our sins. Then, the God of justice kept His law and the God of love also saved us from eternal punishment.
Shadows in the Old Testament:
In fact, the Old Testament already gives away plenty hints of how God was going to save the humanity from their sins. For instance, Isaiah 53, the chapter known as suffering servant chapter, which prophesied on what the Messiah was going to do. Also, Leviticus shows the shadow of what Christ Jesus would do for us. E.g. In the Old Testament times, when people sinned against God and against people, they would bring a sin offering to the priest– animal without blemish for their sins committed. Then, the priest declares the forgiveness of sins by the death of the innocent lamb.
Jesus the Lamb of God:
Did you know that Jesus was the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world? (John the Baptist—John 1:29)
By sending His own son Jesus to the cross to pay the wages of sin on our behalf, God demonstrated His love for us. Christ’s death on the cross paid the wages of our sin once and for all, forever and ever, and we go free of punishment.
I would call such act of God, that is, to let His son die on the cross on our behalf the greatest mystery of all. God’s love saves us despite all we have done. On the cross, in Christ, God’s justice and God’s mercy were fully fulfilled. We are spared from the wages of sin. I would call such love: Amazing. Marvelous. Awesome.
I will continue next Sunday.
Let us pray.