March 11, Saturday

The AMI QT Devotionals from March 6-12 are provided by Pastor Mark Chun of Radiance Christian Church in S. F.  Mark, a graduate of University of California, San Diego, and Talbot School of Theology (M.Div.), has been married to Mira for 20 years; they have two children, Jeremiah and Carissa.


Genesis 3:14-19

14 The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. 15  I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”  16 To the woman he said,  “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.”  17 And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;  18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field.  19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

In our day and age, it has become increasingly unpopular to talk about sin and its consequences.  But because we tend not to identify sin, it festers and grows unchecked and ignored.  In the early 70’s, the influential American psychiatrist Karl Menninger wrote a book entitled Whatever Became of Sin?  From his vantage point in the field of mental health (he began as a professor at Harvard Medical school in the 1920’s to the writing of this book in the 70s), he witnessed a dramatic change in the average American’s attitude towards sin.   In the opening of his book, he makes this observation:

“In all of the laments and reproaches made by our seers and prophets, one misses any mention of ‘sin,’ a word which used to be a veritable watchword of prophets. It was a word once in everyone’s mind but now rarely if ever heard. Does that mean that no sin is involved in all our troubles—sin with an ‘I’ in the middle? Is no one any longer guilty of anything? Guilty perhaps of a sin that could be repented of or atoned for?… Anxiety and depression we all acknowledge, and even vague guilt feelings; but has no one committed any sins? Where, indeed, did sin go? What became of it?”

What the author is referring to is the fact that we have gone from one extreme, where we blamed everything on sin, and have swung to the other side of the pendulum, where nothing is a result of sin.  We are simply victims of circumstances, chemical imbalance, and bad parenting.  The truth most likely is found somewhere in the middle.

Like many things in life, harmful actions tend to lead to over-reactions that often times are equally damaging, if not even more so.  The over-reaction against religious judgment, feelings of condemnation, and the legalistic culture of many churches has been the wholesale rejection of the idea of sin.  However, from the outset of the Scriptures, God has a clear plan of redemption for the problem of sin.  That is the good news of Christ, who would be born of a woman, born to bruise the head of our enemy, and to set us free from the bitter consequence of sin.

Prayer:  Father, we often underestimate the power of sin in our lives.  You tell us that we are slaves to sin, that our sin has separated us from You, and that it is the reason for death.  Clearly, this is a bigger problem than we recognize, and it is for this problem that you gave Your only beloved Son.  And for that great sacrifice of love, we thank You and praise You.  In His precious name, Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Revelation 22

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