Serious About God’s Words 3 – Appalled By Sin
Updated: Mar 30, 2020
Chan Gin Kai
Ezra 9 & 10
When I heard this, I tore my tunic and cloak, pulled hair from my head and beard and sat down appalled. Then everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel gathered around me because of this unfaithfulness of the exiles. And I sat there appalled until the evening sacrifice. (Ezra 9:3-4)
While Ezra was praying and confessing, weeping and throwing himself down before the house of God, a large crowd of Israelites – men, women and children – gathered around him. They too wept bitterly. (Ezra 10:1)
While he was there, he ate no food and drank no water, because he continued to mourn over the unfaithfulness of the exiles. (Ezra 10:6b)
OK, let me be the first to confess; the first time I read the above passages I thought Ezra overreacted. Or perhaps he was emotionally unstable. Why did he tear his clothes? And rip out his hair and beard? Ouch! And after that gather a whole bunch of people just to sit around and mope till evening? And then throw himself down on the ground, praying, crying and fasting?
Was Ezra overreacting? Or maybe, it’s me who’s too lackadaisical?
We do of course know the Jews had committed a terrible sin. You can read more here, if you’re wondering what it was. But why did Ezra react the way he reacted?
That’s because what means a lot to God means a lot to Ezra. What’s detestable in God’s eyes is detestable in his eyes. What appals God appals him. If only we are all as attuned to God as Ezra was.
Being godly is not about the pious observance of God’s rules or the legalistic ticking of boxes. It is about feeling what God feels – loving people like He does, and detesting sins like the way He hates them. To be godly is to be ‘God-like’.
If we are godly, we will be appalled by how ungodly influences can corrupt God’s people. Our reaction reflects how serious we are about keeping His words. Does ungodly behaviour continue to shock us, or are we numb to it already? Do we close an eye and compromise?
How do we feel about sin in the world?
We live in a sinful world, but we must never get accustomed to sin. We live, work and walk amongst people who have different beliefs and hold different values. Most will not share our conviction about sin and many will freely indulge in the pleasures of it. As Christians, we are called to love the sinner and hate the sin. But aren’t we often tempted to do the reverse? Let’s not get self-righteous on our behaviour to others, but let’s not get desensitised to sin either.
How do we feel about sin in church?
The church is made up of a bunch of sinners who want to get right with God. We will fall into sin, but we are different by our strong desire to get out of it. As the body of Christ, the church must always desire purity and view sin seriously. This is admittedly a difficult path, and that’s why we need each other’s help. Let us never be afraid to confront each other, grow weary of encouraging each other, or become forgetful of praying for one other.
How do we feel about sin in ourselves?
We must never forget the price that was paid for our redemption and how Jesus suffered for all the temptations we succumbed to. How can we accept or even entertain what hurts the person who loves us most? Sin is indeed pleasurable and unless we constantly remind ourselves of the pain it caused Jesus, we will find sin hard to resist. We need to constantly go back to the cross and let the love of Christ compel us to change.
We will fall into sins, but we must always get up. We may feel weak and powerless against the “flaming arrows of the evil one”, but we know the shield of faith can extinguish the devil’s assault (Ephesians 6:16). We are powerful because God is powerful. We may be defeated in numerous battles, but we know the war is already won.
But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:57 NLT)
We can be victorious over sin. We just need to be appalled by it and desire to overcome it. Let’s get serious about God’s word and learn God’s disgust towards sin.
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Chan Gin Kai
Gin Kai is a film producer who believes in the power of media to inspire positive changes. He has spearheaded disaster relief and capacity building projects in impoverished communities across Asia. He serves as a mentor to young professionals in the EDGE Ministry of the Central Christian Church. He describes himself as “just a sinner who wants to get right with God”.