Sin and Judgment

The last few podcasts brought a wealth of listener comment and questions about God's love and dealing with sin in our lives. Wayne and Brad sort through the comments to help clarify how we regard sin and what are our choices in the face of dealing with God and our brokenness. Do we really have control over our sin and what choices do we have to find freedom? How do we experience love if we've never known it in any human relationship? Has God's judgment been fully resolved in the cross? And, is our relationship with him even supposed to be so sin-centered to begin with?

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  1. “There is no satisfaction in feeling something is wrong all the time.”

    How true that comment is. And boy, religion does make you feel like something is wrong all the time. When I first started my religion detox period a year ago, I had a good buddy who just kept telling me, “You’re okay. Everything’s okay. God’s not mad. You can take it easy. You’re right where you’re supposed to be, doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing and God, who loves you very much, is with you.”

    That was so hard for me to believe. To me, everything and everyone was broken and my job was to constantly fix. Sin obsession produced in me a very self centered world view riddled with anxiety and a complete lack of peace or joy. I talked about the sovereignty of God and grace a lot, but truly had no trust whatsoever that God was sovereign over my life and the world or capable of taking care of things without my help. Having theology with no life application, in my opinion, is worse than no theology at all. If theology is not applicable to our day to day existence, I think it’s pointless. I had all the answers but it wasn’t until I crashed and burned that I saw my heart for what it really was. There was so much pain and darkness inside of me and all of my religion, with it’s focus on behavior, could no longer cover it. I needed real healing. And thank God, He’s meeting me where I need Him most. His “loving judgement” is restoring me.

    I loved your comment about the Scripture “being holy like He is holy”, not meaning that I need to get up and “fight my sin” every day, but instead learning to think like He does. What a great paradigm shift!

    And awesome comments on judgement! What a terribly distorted subject. We need more healthy dialog about this. God’s wrath and judgement are good, and come from a heart love, with a motive to restore, not condemn. And though people have the freedom to reject His judgement, the rejection of the truth is the condemnation. The wrath they’re experience is the darkness they’re choosing, and the blessing that God will not give over that darkness.

    What a wonderful freedom God really is.

    Great stuff, guys. Thank you and please keep it coming!

  2. Hi Erkki – awesome to observe your detox from religion (from the latin re = again, and ligare = to bind). When I was a kid (a very long time ago), many parents were always afraid that some drug dealer would slip us kids some free drugs in order to get us hooked (for life). Looking back, this was such a naive idea since no drug dealer was going to blow that kind of money on a free sample and especially with the risk of getting caught by the authorities. Religion on the other hand has always been giving out free bongs of legalism and snorts of guilt in order to hook converts for life. Glad to witness the evolution of your freedom.

  3. Thanks Erkki for your eloquent words. I agree w/ you that there is such synchronicity in some of the podcasts b/c Wayne and Brad end up talking about things that fit us uniquely. Then we come full circle to the reality that there are others who go through similar things. I’m coming out of a very legalistic upbringing, and learning like the person mentioned in their letter “coming out of Dutch Calvanism and never having been given love…every extended hand looks threatening”. I appreciate that your friend was able to express to you “You are where you need to be and He is with you.” That is a very powerful reality. The sovereignty of God is not diminished by His love but actually is seen in a much more vibrant light. “Having theology with no life application is worse than having no theology at all”. Well said.

  4. I think its interesting how “theology” is so important in church circles, and yet, if you read the New Testament, you don’t see that same emphasis. The apostles were concerned with truth in their teaching, but that truth was very basic and mostly dealt with Jesus’ work on the cross, that He brought life into darkness, that He truly rose from the dead, etc. Beyond these basics, they didn’t get too carried away. When others began to attach more to the simple gospel, then Paul would address the situation and try to bring them back to the simplicity of love and devotion to Christ.

    Today, many are just like the Pharisees, having constructed an elaborate system of rules and regulations that one must follow if you want to be a faithful follower of Christ. It shows just how far we can fall into religion if we stray from living loved and loving others. It really is that simple.

  5. Another great podcast! I had a thought run through my mind when you were talking about the Old testament and the sacrificial system. I think I have read or heard that the cross is not what God needed to love us but what we needed so we could love Him. I have had problems reading the O.T. because it seems to set up a system in which something must be killed in order for sin to be dealt with. Here is the thought, what if God set up the system of sacrifice not because he needed it, but it was the only way people would feel able to come to him and interact with him however limited that was. Their shame was somewhat subdued because of the sacrifice they made, and for the moment felt safer around God. This was just in place until Jesus came and God dealt with sin, guilt and shame at the cross and cured it! This would sure make all of those O.T. passages easier to take and understand. What do you think?

  6. After listening to the podcast, I would like to recommend a book. One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. Her writing style might be a challenge at first for some….but the profound,raw truths she shares throughout the book can be life changing. This in no way is an how to book….but a broken journey to wholeness.
    A quote: “Do I really smother my own joy because I believe that anger, achieves more than love? That Satan’s way is more powerful, more practical, more fulfilling in my daily life than Jesus’ way? Why else get angry? Isn’t it because I think complaining, exasperation,resentment will pound me up into the full life I really want? When I choose and it is a choose-to crush joy with bitterness, am I not purposefully choosing to take the way of the Prince of Darkness? Choosing anger because I think it is more effective-more expedient- than giving thanks?

    p178.entilement..expectations…And what do I really deserve? Thankfully,God never gives what is deserved, but instead, God graciously, passionately offers gifts, our time, our very lives. God does not give rights, but imparts responsibilities …response-abilites- inviting us to respond to His love-gifts……..

    I could go on and on… is the link

    To live fully loved is a transforming power….

  7. LOL, at least my comment spurred some great conversation! After today’s podcast I’d say we are on much the same page.

    Just for clarification here is what Brad said that led to my comments.

    Brad says when the conversation switched to addiction or sin. “I sort of feel like, again I don’t have the definitive answer for anything, but for the double minded man stuck in an addiction that really is desiring something different, I think there needs to be a place of for real honesty with the double mindedness that says “hey God guess what, as opposed to pretending I’m a victim stuck in my addiction, I like it! and I haven’t seen something better that gives me an option that I think is worth choosing other than what I do get out of this. I mean if an addict had that kind of honest conversation about what it is that there’s there, and there is the real heart’s cry for forgiveness, I totally believe in the inability of the human soul to free it’s self, i do. K so yes valid, stuck, can’t be rescued on it’s own. But God can. And God will not ignore the true hearts cry for deliverence. I just think there’s a lot of people that want to see a lot of others free, that they want that freedom more than the person that’s stuck in their stuff does. I mean I’m not unaware of addiction, I got a whole bunch of ah experience with family and everything else that has a whole bunch of “Oh my Gosh”. I look at that and it’s like, do I have patience loss? Ya, I’m talking 30 – 40 yrs of stuff. and do I think people will change? Well gosh after 6, at times I dare say precious little. But I do know that in that moment that someone really comes to that place of broken honesty before God, I just think that requires a lot of courage and a lot of people have just been shaped in a way that they just go “well I don’t think God will meet me there”. and that’s their fears. That’s the Leroy place where it’s like “No, I’m not going to go and have that conversation”.
    Wayne says “that that’s what people need is a better Gospel, that you can have that conversation with God, that God isn’t going to turn His back on you because you are lost in sin and that’s what religion has taught for 2000 years, you can’t, God can’t, God won’t, you’ve got to make your self better, clean yourself up, then God will bless you.”
    Then Brad says “and it’s also, let’s pretend like we don’t like our sin. Excuse me?? I mean at the end of the day I think one of the laws of gravity and truth is that you know what? EVERY PERSON ON THIS PLANET IS DOING EXACTLY WHAT THEY WANT TO DO. They may have a thousand reasons for why that’s not the case, but at the end of it it is NO, you may be afraid of something else so you feel stuck in this but you’re still choosing that. And that’s where I kind of feel like I don’t think God’s gonna be an unjustified judge of every act word and deed. You know, every thought and tint of our heart. I’m going like you know I think we are on the hook for all of that stuff. That doesn’t make me frightened and it doesn’t like ooow Judgment gospel, it’s more like you know what? I just think that’s the empowered place of human beings and the incredible human will He’s given us. God will not violate my choosing. Even to the point that if I say “God I don’t want anything to do with you, and your kingdom for ever” and it’s like there’s only one option for you to go then at the end of eternity.and God isn’t like “No, I’m not going to let that happen” I think He doesn’t want that but He doesn’t impose His will like we would if we were God..

    Here was my response.
    So when Paul said he did what he didn’t want to and didn’t do what he wanted to do in Romans 7 Brad’s answer to him would be “no, you are doing exactly what you want to do”. Interesting. I’m guessing he doesn’t buy the whole ‘it’s no longer I who sins but sin which dwells in me” thing either. Kind of steals the thunder of hope in the rest of the chapter on into chapter 8.

    Today’s podcast was great and much was clarified. However Brad’s statement (quoted in caps above because I can’t underline in this format) was pretty definitive and I don’t think, based on what he originally said, that my statement was quite the “flight of fancy” it was made to be in this podcast. I personally think the statement, when discussing sin and addiction, that “everyone is doing exactly what they want to” is not true and flies in the face of what Paul was saying in Roman’s 7. In fact it flies in the face of the discussion on the subject in this podcast. Does God deliver? Absolutely! Does it sometimes take years? Sometimes it does. Like my response I think that one statement was poorly worded and a bit unclear. But I’m glad my comments were brought up because the resulting conversation was great!

    Earlier in the “The God Who Whispers” podcast Brad said
    “When you find a Leroy, or you find someone that’s hurt and broken it’s like, you know, they could be inside. That isn’t what they want cause that isn’t what they are doing. I don’t know what it is that they really want. Something in them may want that, but it isn’t enough because they are choosing, in their pain to say “uhuh, i’d sooner have this.” Wayne then asked how agressive is that pain and how much of that is just reactive pain. “I cant choose otherwise”. Then Brad says they are choosing to be a victim.

    The following was my response to that;
    Also, I wonder, when Brad accidentally touches something hot like a lit burner, how much volition or choice does it take for him to pull his hand away? Does he just react to the pain or does he have to sit and make a conscious decision to move his hand away. Maybe he is wired differently than me but for me it’s a reaction, not a conscious decision. I think most people are the same way. I once was electrocuted and was it not for a miracle I most likely would have died. It took years for me to be comfortable enough around electrical wires to work with them without some real fear, no matter how man times i checked the switches and breakers to make sure they were off. Often I would get someone else to do it. I’m not sure reacting to and being afraid of pain is all that related to forgiveness, self protection sure, but that’s a whole other issue..

    All I will say here is that I believe our response to pain is generally reactive and it isn’t until God reaches through some of that pain to draw us to something better that we can really decide to even ask for help. You see Leroy has no way to know that those who are supposed to love him are even capable of a relationship that does not entail abusing him. He has never seen such a thing.

  8. I read Chris’ comment with a lot of interest because those were the same podcast comments that really stuck out in my mind. I want to first say that I listen to this podcast regularly, and secondly that I realize it is an unscripted conversation that I am just eavesdropping into as an outsider. But to my potato ears, occasionally some of the statements seem to be quite legalistic in origin, something that I didn’t detect in the podcasts of a year or two ago.

    Just being honest about how these occasional statements come across to some (possibly small minority) of us. Potential “one size fits all” statements may benefit from more clarification regarding the commentator’s intent (including disclaimers/warranties etc.) during the conversation. Sometimes what in theory may be correct is not so straightforward when one is stuck in the midst of difficult trials/addictions; i.e. where theory (although legally correct) just doesn’t cut it as the first step towards living loved. (That is why I really liked Chris’ insertion of Rom 7 into this conversation.)

    However, this is just an opinion from a double minded victim who extracts pleasure from being stuck in a pile of excrement.

  9. I just wanted to add that my comments were never meant to criticize. I love the podcasts and look forward to them every week. In retrospect I should have worded them differently. I typed them as I listened to the podcast and instead of considering what I was saying I just said part of what came to mind. There’s always Life in the conversations on the podcasts. Like Brad I know I don’t have definitive answers for this stuff, I just have a different view point occasionally.

    So I’ll end this by telling both of you Wayne and Brad how much I appreciate you both and your willingness to share your conversations with us.

  10. Jim and Chris, I don’t take either of your comments as offensive, just adding to the dialog. I think it has been clear on the podcast that Brad and I see this a bit differently. I don’t think we all live what we really want, but I’m pretty sure Brad is applying that to circumstances he’s involved in very different from the context in which you are in. The joy in reading or hearing anyone speak on things like this is that you’re free to eat the chicken and toss the bones. We’re not trying to make The God Journey the final theological exposition on anything. This is two brothers sharing a journey. We will disagree at times as others might also disagree with us. We see that as the “ever-expanding” conversation and that each one of us has an anointing from the Holy One to know truth and error, so that we can freely follow him as he leads us and not worry if someone else doesn’t quite see it the way I do. In most cases, we are usually talking about very different contexts anyway…

  11. Wayne – thanks for your comments. My intent was not to insert criticism and I’m confident that the way a comment may have come across to a small number of us listeners was not the intent of what was being said. I just thought that by pointing out the potentially sensitive statements when they occurred may add awareness for future conversations. Admittedly such sensitivities typically only apply to a small number of listeners on any one point, and I am not at all suggesting that you and Brad should tip toe through the podcast – that would totally take away of the fun of having a spontaneous conversation. On the other hand those that are whole do not need a physician, or something like that, and may not be aware of the sensitivity.

    In any case, I just wanted to patch up any last minute things with everyone because the world is ending this weekend ( Family Radio/Harold Camping/Latter Rain) and I won’t be able to email those that get raptured on such short notice.

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