To move towards loving one another…we must move away from false definitions of love and let love be defined by the death of Christ. Human love is selfish…it desires something in return and has strings attached. But if we look at this verse, we see that we had nothing to do with the unconditional love God showed to us by sending Jesus to die for our sins. In fact, it says that God loved us before we even knew anything about Him…while we were still rebelling against anything Godly, it says, He still loved us. So to love one another as Christ loved us, our love must be as limitless and absolute as His…as selfless and merciful as the Cross.
In this passage God is doing away with this well-known proverb and giving His people a new one. For in the next verse He exclaims, “As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, you will no longer quote this proverb in Israel. For every living soul belongs to Me, the father as well as the son – both alike belong to Me. The soul who sins is the one who will die.” Here God gives us a declaration of individual responsibility for our sins…for only us are accountable for our sins…and some day, we will be the only person that will answer for them.
It tells us here, if you love God – you hate sin. There’s no middle ground or compromise for this statement either. If Jesus is living inside of you, sin and wickedness should evoke within you a strong aversion and loathing. If sin of any type is still enticing, tempting, and luring you…even if you don’t act on it…I pray that you confess this captivation and ask for forgiveness. For our God is not only able to rescue you from the hand of the oppressor, but give you peace.
I find it fascinating how people rationalize and marginalize their sins away. We’ll blame everyone else in order not to place the guilt where it belongs…on ourselves. “The devil made me do it!” doesn’t stand up well in light of such scriptures as Hebrews 4:15 which states that Jesus was tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin. Taking ownership of our sins is the first step to getting right with God…as is conceding that a sin is a sin – there is no scale from 1-10 of severity of sins…so there’s no difference between a “little white lie” and a serious sin…both are missing the mark.
From the beginning of time, man has attempted to remove the shame and guilt of sin. The Priests would offer the same sacrifices day after day, over and over again…but the humiliation would remain. No matter how many times an animal sacrifice was laid at the altar…it was never good enough. That’s because it’s only the blood of Jesus Christ that can take away, once for all, your sins and the guilt and shame that harass you. When Jesus died on the Cross for you, He took upon Himself your sins, and made a way to our Heavenly Father…that you might experience peace. If there’s no happiness or peace in your inner self today…maybe you should consider asking Jesus into your life.
The concept in this Scripture is very clear…forgive so that you may be forgiven. So why yet do we find so much pleasure in holding onto grudges? What starts out as a simple miscommunication or disagreement, morphs into something with a life all its own. Anger simmers, and shifts into resentment…frustration stews over how we’ve been wronged, and slowly changes into spite and hard feelings. Holding grudges only harm ourselves…they allow the root of bitterness to take hold and flourish within…and they prevent God from working fully in our lives.
When you’re taken down by sin, you have two choices before you. One is to succumb and give in, beating yourself up and telling yourself how bad you are and that you’ll never amount to anything. The other is to get up and ask the Lord what you can learn from that mistake. Don’t wallow in the guilt and shame any longer, lean on God…for He will sustain and strengthen you and raise you up out of the mud and mire. For it says in Psalm 145:14, “The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.”