Perhaps the greatest injustices are the ones that cause harm but are somehow still legal. As someone who has a knack for sales, I immediately think of pyramid schemes as a prime example. "Did you know you could be your own boss and make over twenty-five dollars an hour?" and, "Do you want to retire twenty years earlier for half the work?" are typically the trumpets that announce these particular schemes. What you don't realize is that you are signing up to be a paying customer yourself and saving the company the cost of advertising, merchandising, and even the cost of staffing (since you are your own boss)! By the time you realize that no one wants to buy a $300 frying pan it's too late. You signed the paperwork and you are stuck with the whole set yourself.
Sin is like that. It entices us with promises of great riches and easy hours. It intoxicates us with cheap perfume and flaunts the lifestyle that seems to only be available to the privileged. Like love-sick puppies we go to the altar with sin and thoughtlessly commit our lives, until death do us part. We are stuck. We are without love, money, or anything that was promised to us and cannot escape. The marriage is legal, but we are condemned.
The Law was never meant to be the solution to our sin. The Law is good and so is following it, but what we need is something greater than the Law. We need something deeper. Paul writes in Romans 7:6, "but now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code." There is something deeper than the law that is able to protect us from injustice. Jesus leads us to it, exemplifies it, upholds it. The promises that are made through this new way sound a thousand times better than what was promised to us by sin and, the best part about them is: when we sign on the dotted line we don't feel stuck. We are finally feel free!
Sermon Clip from Pastor Joel on what is the end game for Christians.
Who is your worst enemy? Is it someone at work? Maybe someone from an estranged relationship? Or is it someone more serious like the devil? Those who stand in the way of our happiness and freedom tend to earn their role as, at the very least, an unwanted obstacle in our lives.
What if I told you that the worst enemy you will ever face is also one of your closest relationships? No, I don't have some special insight into your inner circle, but I do believe that the greatest enemy we will face in our lifetime is not in our workplace. It isn't even the devil. Instead, the greatest enemy to our happiness and freedom is ourselves (Jer. 17:9). When it comes down to it, no matter our lot in life, when we look down at the hole we are in we will find that we are alone and holding the shovel. Because we have all sinned (Rom. 3:20), we all have sabotaged our freedom and become our own worst enemy (Mark 7:21).
I can understand that you may be skeptical. After all, if you cannot trust yourself, then who can you trust? However, I implore you to, with your Bible open and your most honest self-reflection, consider the possibility that your heart may not be the best keeper of your needs. You see, even our hearts face the same decaying effects of sin as the world around us. There is still hope though, even though we have found another enemy. Despite the enemies that surround us outside and in, Jesus has already won the war (Ezekiel 36:26, 1 Cor 15:26)!
Have you ever had to deliver bad news to someone? It's hard isn't it? Especially if a tragedy has occurred (like when someone has died) it is almost impossible to convey the bad news and be comforting at the same time. We try using euphemisms like he passed away or he has gone to a better place instead of the more succinct language. No one likes to think about tragedy, and this is especially truth in our faith. Yet, in our faith the tragedy that occurred was not only crucial to the victory we have in Jesus, but is crucial in our daily lives.
It was not only Jesus' life and resurrection that has saved mankind, it was also his death. God laid mankind's sin on Jesus and Jesus paid the consequences so that we could finally rejoin God's family. However, Jesus also charged us, he charged you and me, to pick up our cross daily to follow him. What are crosses used for? They are for putting things to death. Our faith is about life, and life eternal. However, to live that life we must not forget that we have parts of our lives that are not like God. Like Jesus did for us as an example, we are to put those parts of our lives to death. And as they pass away, we will know that the parts of our lives that remain, will last forever because they have been perfected by the one who has defeated even death.
Ref: 2 Cor. 5:21, Rom. 4:25, Luke 9:23, Gal. 5:25, 2 Cor. 4:16