As human beings we faced with a terrible problem. We have a sin problem. All of the other problems we possess are minor by comparison. You may differ on this point. And you would be right to, saying we have much greater issues to deal with, like war, poverty, hunger, lack of basic health-care, income inequality and so forth. Those are real problems as well, but at their roots lay sin.
What causes war? Injustice, land grabs, disagreements that cannot be resolved because of pride. You name it, there is a sin cause.
What causes poverty? Indolence, laziness sure, but also greed, avarice, the desire to take from others what is not rightly yours. Sounds like sin again.
What causes hunger? Because the fact that people become hungry, you might as well couple this to the same causes for poverty.
What causes the lack of basic health care? Let’s talk about the needs for basic health care. Why do people need health care? Because we live in a broken world. It has been broken by man’s sin. Because Adam sinned in the garden, the world now faces horrific natural phenomena and disease. And then there is people’s own indifference to their own health needs, by eating too much, drinking too much, abusing drugs, exercising too little, etc. Where does the fault lie with “lack of basic health care”? Certainly there are areas that are underserved, but even in Applachia where I work, folks are only 30 minutes away from the nearest Emergency Room. No one is turned away.
Are there other problems? Certainly. Can they be traced in one way or another back to sin, man’s inhumanity to man, to something similar? Almost certainly. Because what we consider evil in this world always leads back to sin. So is sin the worst problem that we face? Yes.
So how do we solve the sin problem? Before I proceed, you need to know that sin and its effects did not become what they are today overnight. While sin is almost always at the root of the evil we see in this world, even pulling out the sin by the root will take some time to take effect in the larger scheme. Sin has caused very complex problems. Simply removing one man’s sin from the equation will not solve the problem.
Let me give you a case in point: When the four men brought their friend to Jesus to be healed, they let him down through the roof of Peter’s house, because there were too many people present. When they finally got the man in front of Jesus, Jesus accounted that the man’s sin was forgiven. The man was not immediately healed. In fact, there was some argument (from the Pharisees and their pride) about whether Jesus had the power to forgive sin. After some discussion, the man’s illness was healed. My point is that even though the man’s sin problem was solved initially, it took time for the physical healing to take place. It was not immediate. Jesus can heal immediately, but I think this story is important by way of illustration. You can heal the sin problem today, but still have to deal with the consequences of the sin problem a little while longer.
The answer to the sin problem is Jesus of course. Saving faith in Jesus Christ, His death, burial and resurrection, being baptized for forgiveness of sin and receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, and then seeing that faith reflected in your daily activities is really the proof of that salvation. Seeing that kind of life transformation is what changes things. But the effects of a life lived in sin may take longer to work out. A father who didn’t raise his kids as Christians, who then comes to faith in Christ, will not see his kids suddenly become Christians too. Life has consequences. A man jailed for murder, who then becomes a Christian in prison, does not undo the murder that was committed. He must still pay the penalty for his act of evil.
So if salvation doesn’t fix the problem, why do we bother trying it? Because it is the only solution to the problem. Psychology does not transform the way salvation does. Social programs cannot change the heart of a man. Only God can do that. And the problem of sin lies in the human heart. As some have said, we have to “trust the process.” God will work out His will among men in His time. We can only do what only we can do, and that is put our faith in Jesus and trust Him for the outcome.
We know that in this world we will have trouble. The poor we will always have with us. But we aren’t really hoping to live forever in this world, are we? This is why we work on the sin problem, because there will come a time when we will stand before God and must give an account. If we have placed our faith in Jesus, there will be no condemnation for in Him, we are justified because of our faith. That’s how you solve the sin problem.
Lord help me today to walk by faith, to work out that sin problem in my own life by working on my faith, that it be not mere mental assent to the truth of Jesus, but it be lived out in my life. Help me show the world that I am a believer, a disciple, and faithful follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. In His Name I pray, Amen.