June 24, 2018: 4th Sunday after Trinity

Let us pray: Dear Savior, all of life is a study in contrasts and comparisons. We contrast and compare ourselves every single day to others, to the ideals we were taught and raised on, and most of all to You. Likewise, You draw numerous comparisons as to what You expect from us contrasted against our sin. So, today, motivate us to be totally honest when this takes place. Move us to see ourselves as we really are; as You see us. Yes teach us all about our sins and even more importantly all about the power of Your forgiveness. Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, OUR FORGIVING SAVIOR
TEXT: Romans 5: 12-15
Dearly Beloved By Christ:
Catherine Austin Fitts is a very savvy financial advisor and former government official. I like to read her thoughts on the status of world events as she is very well connected and very insightful. She’s good at putting extraneous events into “big picture” focus. Many of you have heard that our President is promoting a “space force” for the military. Most people question: why? Very few see any relevance considering all our problems here on earth. Ms. Fitts recently addressed this issue. Her take on it is insightful and goes like this: Economic power translates itself into military might. A historic key to such power has been control of the sea lanes for shipping and commerce. Think Great Britain during its hay-day. England ruled the waves and was also # 1 economically in the world as a result. Well, in the coming century the country that controls space will also be pre-eminent economically. They are the new “sea lanes.” Hence, the proposed space force.
Personally, I find the human mind as a much more interesting frontier which has countless unlocked secrets. I’m not going into space, but I do have a brain, so this hits me closer to home! Recently, a former Surgeon General under Pres. Obama, who also happens to be a neuro-scientist, wrote an article and gave an interview on how we’re starting to discover amazing things about the human mind. He even said that up to 95% of all illnesses including cancer are a result of negative thought patterns in the human mind! In short, our emotional responses to stress bring on and cause diseases! So, without treating the emotions of a person, treating the physical is just a revolving act of futility.
Today St. Paul addresses this age-old problem which we call: original sin. Since we don’t often talk about it in-depth, today we will.
I
When God made human beings, He made us perfect. We were without sin. That meant that there was a conscious oneness with God. He could read our thoughts and we could comprehend His insofar as He revealed them to us. Adam and Eve knew all sorts of things that we are ignorant of today. Their minds were totally conscious of everything around them and aware of everything they experienced. They never forgot anything. Nothing “slipped their minds.” And thus their emotional state was one of total happiness and contentment. They were never alienated from each other or from God. They were never forlorn, depressed, or filled with second-guessing. They never felt shame.
But then they sinned. They exercised their free will against God and pride reared its ugly head. They were tricked by Satan into being envious of God, so they disobeyed Him and rebelled. Immediately their conscious oneness with God ceased. Suddenly they were filled with negative emotions which also corrupted their physical bodies. Suddenly they were forgetful, lonely, anxious, and worried about everything. Their minds pushed aside and buried much of what God had taught them. It corrupted their whole being. And death was born.
St. Paul picks up that thought in the opening verse of our text: “Therefore, just as sin entered the world though one man and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men because all sinned.” We call this “original sin” in the church. It originated with Adam and Eve and is passed down to each of us, their progeny. It totally corrupts all the goodness that God put into us at creation. It divorces from Him.
Then, Paul adds this: “for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.” Paul is stating a Biblical truism. Sin means breaking a command of God. Adam did just that in Eden. But all those living after him up until Moses didn’t have written commands of God. They had basic morality inscribed in their hearts, but it was often hidden from their conscious minds by sin. It got so bad that God had to give us the 10 commandments via Moses on Mt. Sinai, so that our corrupted minds would have an objective standard to be judged against and we could not plead ignorance anymore. But in all cases, death still reigned in all because ignorance of God’s Law is not a defense.
Let me explain how awful your and my condition currently is. Inside all of you is a conscience. Part of that conscience, which isn’t perfect, knows that you’ve got a problem when compared to God’s standard of perfection. Yes, you can dull your conscience and even harden it over, but you still know right from wrong. And yet, you also know that no matter how hard you try to fix the problem on your own, you cannot. You will always fail. The inner frustration that this fact fosters within is your original sin in action. Ugh!
II
Paul makes an interesting comparison at the end of this section between Adam “who was a pattern of the one to come” and Jesus Christ Who is the One to Come! That’s because God in pure love sent Christ to fix our disconnect from God. God’s Son bore the sin of the world. He shouldered every violation of the commands and also the resulting corruption of original sin and then took it to the cross and with Him, there it died. By rising to life, Christ freed us from this curse of sin, death, and by faith gives us the ability to walk in the “newness of life.” That’s the Gospel. You all know it and hear it every week and it’s sweet music to your ears and hearts. Now Paul concludes by rephrasing all this in the form of a comparison: “But the gift (Christ’s forgiveness) is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!”
Comparisons and contrasts, we have them right here, on a cosmic stage. And when you analyze them with God’s guidance, you discover that forgiveness from God is much more powerful than human-caused original sin. You discover that learning more about the inner workings of the mind is much more valuable and useful than concentrating on outer space. For, contrary to popular opinion, oneness with our Creator is the only thing that is truly infinite and eternal. Space isn’t, He is! I guess that’s why I’m happy to stay here on earth—for the moment, or until God decides to take me elsewhere…..Amen