One Benefit of Being a Sinner

Over the weekend, a teacher at my church blew my mind. Allow me to plagiarize him so your mind can be blown too. (It’s okay, he probably read this idea in a book he didn’t write.)

He said when Christ comes back and establishes the new earth, it will not be a “return to Eden” type of situation. Yes, He will wipe out sin, there will be no more pain, etc., but it will be even better than the pre-Fall Eden was.

Why?

Because before the Fall, Adam and Eve were clueless about at least one characteristic of God (and I suspect many more). Without sin in their lives, they were unable to experience God as Redeemer. There was nothing from which He needed to rescue them. All was well.

Not so with us.

Because we’ve committed more sin and experienced more effects of sin than we can quantify, we are perfectly positioned to experience God as Redeemer. And, if we make it to Heaven, we definitely will have experienced God as Redeemer in at least one way: His saving us from the death our sin deserves.

So, when we’re standing there in Heaven, enjoying the complete absence of all things bad and the complete fulfillment of our souls, our memories of our lives on Earth will stand in stark contrast to our experiences in our eternal home. No doubt, our hearts will swell with thankfulness and appreciation of our God, our Redeemer.

I’m taking this idea a step further and saying we don’t have to wait until Heaven to appreciate this aspect of God.

Psalm 130:5 (NIV) reads, “I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.”

Read a couple different translations for different nuances.

“I am counting on the LORD; yes, I am counting on him. I have put my hope in his word,” (NLT).

“I hoped [for] Jehovah — hoped hath my soul, And for His word I have waited,” (YLT).

The psalmist isn’t hanging out in a hard circumstance, playing Solitaire, flipping through a magazine, waiting for God to do something. No, the writer is hopefully expectant of God, confident God will come through, according to His Word.

In other words, the psalmist believes God is the Redeemer. The writer has read about God acting as Israel’s Redeemer in the past. He’s read about God’s promise to be Israel’s Redeemer in the future. He’s choosing to believe God will come through.

We need to do that, too.

God has redeemed us from hard, broken situations in the past. His Word says He is redeeming us from current painful circumstances right now (Romans 8:28). And He will redeem us in the grandest of fashions when Christ returns (Revelation 21).

Count on the Lord. Hopefully expect the redemption His Word promises you.

 

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Soul Sick

Some things about life suck.

This has nothing to do with my natural bent toward pessimism or my forgetting to take my depression medication.

It has everything to do with the Fall.  (The event, not the season.)

When sin entered the world, it ruined stuff.  And ever since then, stuff has had the propensity to suck.  Deep, no?  This sucking takes on two forms: 1) some stuff has bad components, and 2) some stuff is good, but it can never be as good as it was meant to be this side of Heaven.

The first kind of stuff is the clearly bad/evil stuff.  I don’t have a hometown, but if I did, it would be Collierville, TN.  And right now, there is a high school student there who was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.  That cancer is BAD.  There is nothing good about the cancer itself.  That component of Trey’s health is an evil, destructive result of the Fall.  And that sucks.

The second kind of stuff is the good stuff that can’t reach it’s fullest potential because we live post-Fall.  Relationships come to mind.  Relationships are generally good things – good things that can’t be best things because sin limits them.  Dysfunction taints them.  Conflict strains them.  And a myriad of complicated reasons can limit them, even though the two people care about each other.

When I think about these kinds of effects of the Fall, I get sad.  I am bummed that things can’t be as great as they were meant to be because of that crappy day in the Garden.  I used the phrase “soul sick” to describe my feelings about these kinds of things today.

It’s not depression – no pill or talk therapy will change the fact that we live in a fallen world, stained with sin.

It’s not a matter of being more optimistic, trying to look at things differently so I don’t see the bad.  The bad IS there – it’s not dependent on my outlook.

It’s soul sickness.  It’s a weariness that comes from understanding what the world was supposed to be like and grieving the fact that it can no longer be that phenomenal, no matter how hard I try.

Some days it is hard for me to get past the reality of soul sickness.  It is comforting to know that this reality is only for a limited time.  Heaven gets closer every passing minute.  And that will be the perfection I long for.

But the waiting isn’t easy.