Grace Greater Than Sin

Grace Greater Than Sin

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Tower Chimes – April 2024

Recently, considerable effort was put into making sure the church website continues to be safe and secure for making financial donations. Because online threats have only increased over time, safety standards have also evolved. This being the case, we had to ensure that our website is Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) compliant. There were many hoops we had to jump through to verify our compliance. Multiple tests were run, and with each application of the suggested solution to an identified vulnerability, the vulnerabilities decreased to the point that none remained.  And just to be clear, our website continues to be safe and secure!

gavel with the word "compliance"

Compliance isn’t something we human beings naturally embrace. It means ‘willing to comply,’ and if there’s anything we know about the human condition it’s that we tend to resist compliance. Why? Because it’s our human nature to want to do things our own way, and whenever someone tells us we have to (or should) do otherwise, our inclination is to resist it. Laws and regulations are put into place to keep life safe, fair, and just. They’re intended to be to our benefit. We’re expected to comply with them, but it’s not uncommon for us to look for ways and opportunities to not comply. And if we’re caught in our incompliance, we’re good at having excuses and reasons for why our incompliance is OK.

The Law [of Moses] given to God’s Covenant people was a good thing. Its purpose was to ensure that his people lived according to the standards set forth by the Creator of all life. Complying to these standards would result in joy, freedom, and true life. The problem was it came with certain restrictions (which we don’t like). Eight of the 10 Commandments—the original version of the Law—begin with “you shall not.”

In its infancy, the church had to figure out who they were and what being a part of it entailed on the part of its constituents. They knew the Law [of Moses] didn’t fully apply to them, though the spirit of it was certainly applicable. They also knew that being a Christian meant foregoing certain behaviors which were acceptable in the popular culture. So, to help their expanding membership understand what was minimally expected of them, church leaders got together and decided on their own “you shall not” list. A letter was composed and mailed out to all the churches which stated, “You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality” (Acts 15:29).

sign which reads "Thou Shalt Not Park Here"
But now this is where I WANT to park!

These “you shall not” lists are all well and good, but the problem is that when we’re told not to do something, it often becomes the very thing want to do…even though we know we shouldn’t do it! Thus, our daily if not hourly struggle with temptation. Ugh!

ENTER GOD’S AMAZING GRACE. One of my favorite hymn lyrics is “Marvelous grace of our loving Lord, grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt! Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured, there where the blood of the Lamb was spilt. Grace, grace, God’s grace, grace that will pardon and cleanse within. Grace, grace, God’s grace, grace that is greater than all our sin!” (view entire lyrics online).

I’m no better than anyone else and have my own struggles with temptation. But through the years, this lyric has done a tremendous job in helping me keep things in proper perspective. While I have no excuse to keep on sinning, this hymn keeps reminding me that God’s grace is greater than my sin. In this way, Romans 5:20 has been a game-changer for me: “The Law stepped in to amplify the failure, but where sin increased, grace multiplied even more.” The truth is the Holy Spirit is my power to resist temptation and sin, and sometimes I’m victorious in doing this. Praise God! But often I’m not; often, we’re all not. But it’s then that the Holy Spirit whispers into my ear, “Confess and be forgiven and freed. Remember, my grace is greater than your sin.” The fact is the blood of Jesus has cleansed me of ALL of the sins I will commit over the course of my entire lifetime. And so it is with you. Praise God!

"Where sin abounded, grace abounded much more" printed on a brown background

As we move into the season of Easter, let us approach our day-to-day life with the proper understanding that God’s grace is far greater than our worst sins. When we fail to comply with the law of the Spirt of life (Romans 8:2), remember that we’ve been set free from guilt and shame through the blood of Christ and our personal confession. Thanks be to God!

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