God and Sin

The empire of evangelicalism is built on the idea of a holy God who cannot allow sin in his presence. It then uses fear and control as mechanisms to convince people that only they have the solution to this dilemma.

But… as we read about Jesus in the pages of Scripture, we see Jesus, who was God, do exactly that: allow sin in his presence. Furthermore, he not only allowed sin in his presence, he went out of his way to welcome sin into his presence.

Therefore, one of two things must be true: either Jesus is not God, or God can and does indeed allow sin in his presence.

We are so focused on the the holiness of God that we forget the very essence of God: that he is sacrificial love. God’s holiness does not demand that sin be cast out of his presence because his love demands a relationship with the sinner.

Sin is not the main problem or the ultimate enemy; death is. We are not fighting to overturn and end sin, we fight to overturn and end death. Even if there were miraculously no sin in the world tomorrow, death would still exist. And so we aim not to convince with fear and control, but to set free with life and love.

Because that is what we see Jesus doing on page after page of our story, and what we, as his disciples, are to imitate.

Practical Holiness

At the church where I have the privilege of serving as the Teaching Pastor, I lead a teaching team of incredible people who sharpen one another through our deep friendships and shared wisdom. This team just got done teaching a series that we entitled “Practical Holiness” — and these teachings continue to blow me away with their poignancy, their truth, and their grace. So much so I wanted to make sure I share them with you.

For this series, we took some of the main themes from the 22 New Testament letters and taught through them in six weeks. Together with a lead-in sermon on language and a night cap from Revelation, I challenge you to find eight weeks of more powerful, life-giving teaching than this! In these eight weeks, four of our seven teachers taught from the stage – but make no mistake, every member was integrally involved in crafting the messages and none of them would have been as good as they were without everyone’s perspective and wisdom.

I could not be more proud of our team, so I am shamelessly plugging our teachings here. If you’re looking for a good way to spend several hours, may I recommend the following:

Words – The Power of Life and Death
Matt Coulter, 9/29/13

Practical Holiness
Matt Coulter, 10/6/13

Spiritual Gifts
Matt Coulter, 10/13/13

Prayer
Adam Coop, 10/20/13

Baptism
Matt Coulter, 10/27/13

Holy Spirit
Matt Coulter, 11/3/13

Submission
Tanya Engel, 11/10/13

Once and Future Hope: Revelation
Heath Underwood, 11/17/13